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'Tipping Point' is a term first used in Sociology by Morton Grodzins, a professor of political science, in the 1960s, when he took the phrase from Physics which refers to the 'adding of a small amount of weight to a balanced object until the additional weight led the object to suddenly and completely topple or tip'.
The Tipping Point is better defined as that critical point in a growing system that leads to a novel, exponential and irreversible transformation. This is often considered as the turning point of a development process. It now finds application in many fields. Journalists are making use of the term in different aspects ranging from social phenomenon to demographic changes.
Marketers treat it as the point which fetches them additional sales. At some point, it is simply an incremental change which may not be an extraordinary one, but an unexpected change that could have bought about a big effect.
Organizations need to make innovations and in the end, innovation is about the destination and there needs to be flexibility in the journey. Throughout this journey comes the tipping point. It is the moment at which the pressure from one side creates a change in the other. And this small change can be exponential.
It is said that innovation starts with an idea but the formation of an idea is not the tipping point – though the idea is only the beginning of the force that will drive the change. But mostly the results of arriving at a tipping point are immediately evident. It may simply happen because a critical point has been achieved. Some of the current aspects that are predicted to reach the Tipping point include RFID technology in the retail sector and the widespread adoption of Web services.
The 'Tipping Point', mentioned in the book of a Canadian journalist, Malcolm Gladwell, with the same title however discusses how little things can make a big difference. Gladwell has very famously defined it as 'The moment of critical mass, the threshold or the boiling point'.