Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On Green Teams

Thinking about Green Teams and the work we have been doing at my head office lately (rooftop garden, green building video, lunch and learns, print reduction presentation and strategy, newsletter, research, making friends, sharing stories and information, electronic phone books and the e-Leader Post, telework pilot, etc etc)

I recognize that we won't solve all the world's or even our own problems.
I recognize these are difficult problems to solve (reducing our environmental footprint).

I believe and have experienced using a grassroots team to work on seemingly small things can be a beautiful experience!!!

I believe Henry David Thorough wrote "small is beautiful" however Wikipedia will not confirm those, nor will Google, it could easily have been someone else.  I leave you with that, small is beautiful!!  Love Learn Live or something like that!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Malcolm Gladwell

This man is absolutely genius at summarizing psychological studies on what it means to be human, why we do the things we do and the book I most recently read, why do social epidemics tip (go viral).  Gladwell teaches us 3 main lessons in the book based on both the psychology studies surrounding the issues and many real life examples.  For a Social epidemic to occur you need one of three things to happen and they are based on these Laws.

The Law of the Few - there are a handful of people out there who have the ability to make or break your product.  With Air-walk it was the first cool skateboarder kids who wanted a really good shoe.  The Boston Tea Party was tipped off by a horseback ride by a man named Paul Revere who was a connector and seemed to know everyone as he spread the message in the night that the British were going to invade the next day and that they should come and support.  Basically Gladwell argues there are Connectors (people who know people) and make it their ambition/goal to meet people and build social capital and relationships.  There are Mavins, these are the people intricately focused on details of a product they are guru's on restaurants, cars, soap or any number of things.  They test and study and compare prices, products, quality, etc and then they will tell people about it, if you are making a poor product or charging too much these people will expose it, but they can also play in your favour if you can get them on board and service their needs in a product/social epidemic.  Salesman - these are the charismatic people in our lives who are able to have a conversation and share there thoughts, feelings and emotions without saying a word sometimes, you trust these people and believe what they are selling.

The Stickiness Factor - the message is critical.  Sesame Street studied what makes sense to kids and what confuses them and what they enjoyed and what lost their attention.  They then based their wildly popular show on this principal, making it sticky for viewers (kids).  Blues Clues went one step further recognizing that kids feel self worth and happy if they can answer questions as the show moves along, telling simple stories and connecting the pieces of the puzzle through clues in the show.  To make it even more sticky they repeated their show 5 days in a row for kids to get better and better at solving the puzzle as the week progressed.

The Law of Context - finally the importance of context cannot be overlooked.  New York was able to substantially 80% reduce crime in their city in the late 1990's and early 2000's.   How?  By paying attention to the little things.  The concept is called Broken Windows and is based on the fact that your surroundings influence your decisions and actions.  Basically they got tough on graffiti, petty crime, fare beating at the subway and started cleaning up the perception of the city, this amazingly led to a dramatic decrease in all levels of crime.

Well its a fascinating read, very well written, I know that I have not done it justice in these three short paragraphs.  I encourage you to give it a read, especially if you are interested in starting a social or environmental movement  or marketing in any way.