Change Selection



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Gladwell believes that social change behaves in the same way as disease
epidemics. Thoughts, ideas and behaviours spread through communities just like
disease does. Drawing on the science of epidemiology Gladwell suggests that
social patterns are contagious and there comes a ‘tipping point’ when things
begin to spread at a tremendous rate.

When this happens it is because something has changed in one or more of the
following three areas:

People: The law of the few
It is a small percentage of people who have the social power to change social
patterns. They drive trends.

The infectious agent: The stickiness factor
The change agent changes the way it behaves and the message becomes ‘sticky’.
This means that it becomes memorable and difficult to shake off.

The environment: The power of context
In a busy loud world we have learnt to become very effective at switching off the
noise of the world. We have learnt indifference. This is ‘the bystander problem’.
Change that takes hold has to get through this mental block. It has to matter
enough for people to care enough to stop and listen and move.

Further Resources

Courtesy of OnePercentBetter, this short video provides a short summary of ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell.

The Tipping point

Connected themes

Connected theories


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