Today let’s talk about movements. You must have seen Derek Sievers’ three minute TED talk, on how to create a movement. It’s an amusing video of a guy dancing shirtless in the park.
- The leader needs to be willing to take a risk?—?you need to nurture your first followers as equals, it’s really about the movement, not you.
- The first follower makes the leader a leader. Have the courage to show others have to follow. Leadership is over glorified.
- A movement must be public. Be easy to follow!
- Adding more people creates momentum?—?that’s the tipping point.
- As more people join in, it’s no longer risky. Those who were watching things unfold, stand up and join the movement, as they don’t want to be ridiculed.
- As so a movement is born :)
Of course, movements can be a bit more complicated than a dance in the park, but very similar principles apply. I did a quick search online and came up short. Fast Company came closest in the 4 Steps to Building a Successful Movement (Feb 2013).
To add more colour, I’ll draw examples from Techbikers, a non-profit bringing together the tech community around endurance cycling challenges, to bring education to children in the developing world, in partnership with Room to Read. We’re now over 500 strong, and have raised over $500,000 which were used to build 6 schools, 14 libraries and 300 scholarships for girls in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam and Tanzania.
- A community forms around a common goal
Great movements must have a broad human appeal. For your movement to really take off, you need to ask the question: “what mission could you pursue that society would care about?” note that this isn’t about making the best X in the world. It’s about social appeal. For us at Techbikers, we shared Room to Read’s belief that world change starts with educated children. All of us in tech are only there thanks to the education we received, and we hope to pay it forwards by helping kids in the places where help is needed most.
- The community has the power to mobilise resources
To get s**t done, it takes a lot of work. You need a website, you need content, there’s logistics to take care of, payments to make… it’s often impossible to pay people with money, so movements use a different currency; the opportunity to do good. And so on Techbikers, we were fortunate to have participants. I love this quote:
“There are all kinds of power, but the power of ‘good’ is the greatest and most growing source in the universe”
3. The community finds solutions
Problems are inevitably going to arise. Create a brain trust, a small group of collaborators that gets together regularly to discuss the problems and propose solutions. Here’s the question to ask:
How can you create the structure – a daily work-out session, a brainstorm team – to creatively tackle problems as they appear?
4. The movement is accepted by (or replaces) the establishment
In the best case scenario, your movement is going to succeed. But starting and scaling require different skills. Think about what changes need to take place to take the movement to the next level. At Techbikers, we’re still figuring this one out!
While movements can have great power, I’d like to point that the obvious that not all movements are good?—?think about ISIS, Nazism, etc. Please use your power to change the world for good. Whether you’re a social entrepreneur, politician, or just a citizen making a difference, do good – it’s contagious!
Help us build more schools and libraries in the developing world by donating any amount, big or small. All proceeds go to Room to Read.
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