Unravelling transparency among the various disciplines of science in the context of their evolving processes is a methodological problem and the focus of a series of two papers presented here. This first paper presents the concept of the paradigm as a generic problem-solving tool for creating transparency by postulating that a paradigm, after its formation, shifts through proliferating, norming and performing stages. Each stage is associated with generic features. A common conception of the paradigm is synonymous with frameworks in science and technology; this concept is revisited in this paper and is presented as a generic problem-solving framework. The paper argues that science selects and intertwines many paradigms and a paradigm is a particular form of evolution in action. In its pre-paradigm period there is randomness among the rudimentary components with no sense of direction. In its forming and proliferating stages, a paradigm is composed of workable components with a one-way flow of information subject to the law of natural selection. In the norming and performing stages, a conscious process of consolidation takes place among the components with emerging hierarchies and with influences on the orientation of the paradigm but without full determination of the overall direction. In this way, a picture emerges where science has generic foresight, the formation of which can be influenced but not be fixed. This paper substantiates this postulate through the paradigm of science and institutionalisation and the following paper substantiates it through hydraulic systems.