It’s Time For A Paradigm Shift

It’s Time For A Paradigm Shift – 
by Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.

According to Merriam-Webster – A Paradigm Shift is an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way.  Paradigm Shifts are necessary for the survival of organizations, companies and industries, especially if the old way of thinking and doing things is not working.  The diving industry needs and is ready for a Paradigm Shift.

The Dive Industry Association will be celebrating its 20th Year Anniversary next year.  Our original goal was to Build a Better Industry, One Member at a Time.  Twenty years and 405 Members later, our goal remains the same.  We are building a better industry.  What has changed is the way we go about facilitating that change.  For the DIA Members that are still with us, the industry has gotten better and their businesses have grown.  It’s for these members that we continually work to improve their competitive standing in the industry.

In reviewing a book I read years ago, Successful Sales and Marketing, published by Entrepreneur Magazine, I was reminded that pleasing the customer is central to business success.  I see that many businesses in the recreational diving community have forgotten that primary golden nugget of information.  I began to review everything that our association has done in the past twenty years and I looked more closely at what other companies in the diving industry have done.  I now believe that we need to change the way we think about industry growth and individual company success.  It is time for an Industry Paradigm Shift.  

Our recommended new way of thinking is to put our customers first and act accordingly.  It’s called Target Marketing.  Who are our customers?  What do they need and want?  What is the best way to satiate their needs while improving our expertise and growing the industry?  We have to realize that if our customers get what they want, we will all have done our jobs.  The first step is to identify our customers.  The second step is to understand their wants and needs.  The third step, of course, is to deliver on their needs, not ours.  Of course, the word “customer” means different things to different groups of people.  For that reason, we need to segment (not fragment) the diving industry into industry segments.  The first one we need to define are members of the retail industry that specialize in diving and watersports.

Diving and Adventure Travel Stores:  Retail Dive Centers are the heartbeat of the diving industry.  Dive stores are our recreation’s front-line ambassadors.  They usually are the first point of contact for the general public when they decide to take up scuba diving and it’s related activities.  Retail stores are the majority sellers of diving equipment, training and travel.  They are basically the engine that produces and retains divers.

Dive Industry Association has a special Dive Retailers Association as part of our Organization.  We currently have 17 Retail Stores in 7 States in our membership.  We are in the process of looking to include our Travel Sector Retail Stores into this sub-group.  This stakeholder group needs to expand to at least 500 Members to make our paradigm shift work to change the industry.

The advantage of having an autonomous Association of Retail Stores within our Industry Association is so that we can develop the stakeholder group, determine their needs and integrate them into a workable game plan.  The whole purpose of working with our Retailers is to integrate them with other Buyers and Sellers of diving equipment, training and travel products.  Industry success comes from collectively working with Buyers and Sellers, not isolating them.  We recommend doing three things to start the Industry Paradigm Shift.

Step 1:  Read our DIA Member’s Guide.  Dive Industry Association is actively looking for new Retail Members.  We put our money where our mouth is and we published our goals and objectives to show the entire industry what we are doing about it.  Our Member’s Guide can be viewed on our web site at

Step 2:  Join the Dive Industry Association:  Our first year dues are only $125 and we are known for the relentless marketing of our Members.  Our organization is totally member-centric.  Request a Membership Application from us by going to our web site

Step 3:  Complete our Annual Retail Profile.  The Dive Industry Foundation conducts an annual Retail Audit.  There is no charge and respondents do not have to be a DIA Member.  Please help us define, understand and work with the Retail Stakeholder category.  Request a profile to be mailed to you are copy it online at 

Bringing the Dive Retailers into the center of focus is the first step in bringing about a much needed Industry Paradigm Shift.  Our ultimate desire is to have over 8,000 Dive Industry Professional Members in our Organization.  With those numbers and budget, we can change the industry for the better.  Our plans are being formulated in our white paper – The Dive Industry Manifesto.  It’s a white paper about the history of the recreational diving industry, the successes and setbacks the industry has faced in it’s 60 year history, and a plan for how things need to change in the next 60 years.  The Dive Industry Manifesto is being written now, and you have an opportunity to be a part of its creation.  The first step is to realize that the industry needs to change.

The recreational diving industry needs your help.  Please support the demand for a  Paradigm Shift.

For more information, contact:
Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
phone: 321-914-3778


About Gene Muchanski

Executive Director at Dive Industry Association. Board Member at Dive Industry Foundation. Marketing Consultant to the Diving Industry. I have been a certified Scuba Diver since I was 15 years old and have been a passionate waterman for as long as I can remember.
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