How To Start A Movement

How To Start A Movement

Some ideas are a banquet. They go on and on, and invite us to consider what they really mean for hours or days – or sometimes much much longer. Then there are the flashes of insight. The quick sparks that we immediately react to and understand when we hear or see or touch them. These are the types of ideas I wish I could find and share more often. Ideas that inspire in a moment. Starting a movement, for most people, is much more complicated than just having an idea. If you happen to work in a place where this is part of your goal, your questions are often about stakeholders and messages and creating something "viral." We are all seeking the formula that turns that idea into a movement.

This weekend I saw a short 3 minute video presentation from Derek Sivers at TED that presented an irreverent conclusion – that leadership, your idea and even your "strategy" may be the most overrated elements of creating any kind of movement. Here's the video:

As a blogger, I often try to focus on coming up with new ideas. One of the biggest – Social Media Optimization – only turned into a movement because of this principle of the first few followers. There were five others who added an additional 11 rules to my original 5. They were equals, alternately being cited as creators of SMO as much as I was, and their voices brought context and attention to the original idea. But as this video points out, it's not just about creating new ideas.

If you want to make a change in the world, sometimes the real trick is recognizing a great idea or effort and being one of the first few followers. As Derek says in his presentation, "if you really care about starting a movement, have the courage to follow and show others how to follow."

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