Mar 192011
 

Anyone can initiate small positive changes by creating beautiful things and enterprises that foster abundance, and by focusing on fairness in their daily affairs.

To create major change, however, we need ideas that are contagious.

In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell demonstrates that, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.”[i] Gladwell compares HIV and a recent fashion craze for Hush Puppies shoes. When a virus–or a shoe–catches on it can spread across the globe almost instantaneously.

Footwear might seem like a frivolous example but fashion provides us with an excellent model for the creation of contagious ideas. Fashion is an ideal technical example of how one develops a collective human vision. From year to year, human beings around the world collectively alter their vision of beauty. Millions of individuals suddenly subscribe to a new idea and implement it in their own lives, sometimes at great expense. The mavens of haute couture are global experts in the art of forming–and reforming–collective vision.

Our ideas, if they are to be effective, should be epidemically contagious like a new style of blue jeans or a new way of wearing classic products like Hush Puppies or Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars.

If our concepts are beautiful and fair, if they create abundance, then they have an excellent chance of achieving contagiousness, especially if we work at making them contagious.

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