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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."

6 thoughts on “How To Start A Movement”

  1. I love how this talk is making the rounds on the net. So many people want to be part of a movement, but few indeed are looking to stick their neck out and be the first follower of a new nut. The video shows an example of success and how valuable it can be to lead by following.

    Thanks for writing!

    My original response to Derek’s post.

  2. Great Post & Video…

    You actually touched on one of my “Keyâ€￾ concepts related to Marketing success – What is the difference between a “Movementâ€￾ and a “Revolutionâ€￾? (forget any negative connotations)

    A “Movementâ€￾ is great and usually very valuable – but as the term suggests, it usually starts somewhere – goes for a period of time – and then comes to an end or reaches a goal. A “Revolutionâ€￾ on the other hand is usually associated with a drastic and far-reaching change in our way of thinking and/or actions; but more importantly, it keeps moving – around and around – over and over again – growing and growing – i.e., The Industrial Revolution, The Cultural Revolution, and The Computer Revolution.

    Most Effective Marketing Strategies contain some elements of a “Movementâ€￾ – – however, come up with the next concept, idea or business strategy which initiates a new “Revolutionâ€￾ and you can write your own ticket!

    Thanks again…Keeps us all thinking…

  3. This video has been around for a while. It’s real power is how much there is to learn from watching it over and over. Bloggers keep blogging about it, people keep commenting, it keeps being spread from one website to another. That’s the real power of a movement – the lessons are far reaching and timeless.

  4. Great approach and advices Rohit. I appreciate and share your thoughts at all. In order to create a movement, first you must firmly believe, share and teach others how to do it the same way as you do.

    Join Q&A!


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Rohit is the author of 10 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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