Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

How to make an idea spread like an epidemic - and stick

5:08:00 AM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments
This vacation, I finally decided to read the best-seller from the by Malcolm Gladwell; "The Tipping Point" (I have previously read "Blink" by the same author). Here are a few quotes that I wrote down in my notebook as I read the book:

"The Stickyness Factor says there are specific ways of making a contagious message; there are relatively simple changes in the presentation and structuring of information that can make a big difference in how much of an impact it does."

"When people are asked to consider evidence or make decisions in a group, they come to very different conclutions than when they are asked the same question by themselves. Once we're part of a group, we're all susceptible to peer pressure and social norms and any number of other kinds of influence..."

"Humans socialize in the largest groups of all primates because we are the only animals with brains large enough to handle the complexities of that social arragement...//...The figure of 150 seems to represent the maximum number of individuals with whom we can have a genuinely social relationship, the kind of relationship that goes beyond knowing who they are and how they relate to us...//...At this size (of group), orders can be implemented and unruly behavior controlled on the basis of personal loyalties and direct man-to-contacts. With larger groups, this becomes impossible."

"An awful lot of what we remember is actually stored outside our brains. But we need to memorize where to find them....//...We store information with other people. When people know each other well, they create an implicit joint memory system - a transactive memory system - which is based on an understanding about who is best suited to remember what kind of things...//...When new information arises, individual members (of a group) are automatically assigned to remember it. Expertise leads to more expertise. Since mental energy is limited, we concentrate on what we do best."

"For a company...//...that relies for its ability to innovate and react quickly to demanding and sophisticated customers, this kind of global memory system is critical. It makes the company incredible efficient. It means that cooperation is easier. It means that you move much faster to get things done or create teams of workers or find out an answer to a problem. It means that people in one part of the company can get access to the impressions and expertise of people in a completely different part of the company...//...an organized mechanism that makes it easier for new ideas and information moving around the organization to tip - to go from one person or one part of the group to the entire group all at once. That's the advantage of adhering to the Rule of 150. You can exploit the bonds of memory and peer pressure."

"Merely by manipulating the size of a group, we can dramatically improve its receptivity to new ideas. By tinkering with the presentation of information, we can significantly improve its stickyness. Simply by finding and reaching those few people who hold so much social power, we can shape the course of social epidemics."

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