There are a number of paths to success (hard work, having rich parents, plain dumb luck etc) but two that interest me are "Success though change" and "Success through creation". And they interest me in the context of successful chess activities.
To give some examples I would regard the ACF* Grand Prix series as "Success through creation". While there had been weekend tournaments in Australia before 1988, it was the creation of series that linked them together that resulted in a 5 fold increase in there number. On the other hand one contributing factor to the increase in junior numbers in Australia was adding the best U/18, U/16 etc lists to the ACF* Rating Booklet, which created a competitive environment, not for individual players, but for state associations and junior organisations.
Of course both methods have the advantages and disadvantages. Based on my own experience, new ideas have a greater chance of failure, but also suffer less resistance (don't like it, don't play). Modifying existing formats normally have a built in safety net (in that you can always return to a previous format), but change runs into resistance from people who feel they may be disadvantaged.
So when you are planning to change how things are done, the question is "Do I still wish to appeal to the lowest common denominator?"
A contemporary example is this years Doeberl Cup. For the first time limits have been placed on the size of the field, and all players (with the exception of the Under 1200's) have to enter in advance. Based on feedback already received there is a belief that "you'll miss out on a number of entries", and while this remains to be seen, those who do enter will no doubt be getting a better "product" through a better organised event.
So I guess what it comes do to is is it worth leaving a few by the wayside on the road to improvement for everyone else? Or as Bud Tingwell said in The Castle, "the greatest good for the greatest number".
*I'd planned to write this post before reading the comments in the "Channels of Communication" entry,so mentions of the Australian Chess Federation come with an automatic apology to ACF Vice President Dennis Jessop.