Little ideas that can.
Shine Communications, a business I must first admit I’m not personally that familiar with yet, published a book called ‘Embrace the Chaos’. It is a fantastic little collection of observations that marked the 10th anniversary of an organisation that uses it’s creativity and connections to help people shine.
The premise of the book is that ‘social change and trends are no longer measurable phenomena that develop along predictable lines… that can be boiled down to a bullet-point and buried in ten-year business plans’. They assert that ‘we now live in an age in which the speed and power of communications means revolutions are small, constant and multifarious.
The book is not just a piece of clever writing. It is a page-by-page account of 100 reflections of it’s premise. They range from the emergence of ‘filesgivers’ who are growing in stature in today’s world of highly mobile content to the imminent arrival of ‘superfast food’ that is ordered and paid-for via your mobile device and ready when you arrive.
One topic that I thought was relevant and interesting was the growth and power of small ideas. Clearly in an age of constant revolution, there is naturally more space for ideas in general. Add the hyper-connectedness that we are all experiencing and suddenly there is space for smaller successes. And those small successes are affecting people in big ways.
Small businesses with great ideas can be successful because theycan get in touch with potential customers more easily, leading to success for them and their networks. Great expressions of creativity are very quickly seen by hundreds of thousands of people, well beyond their target audience (if they had one) and well beyond their product’s sell by date. This is because, like shine’s book they have taken the time to tell the story creatively, with attention to detail that master craftsmen can appreciate but without taking themselves seriously that they lose people. Honest, authentic, straightforward creativity.
These are the types of ideas that are lost on the masses, but can become shining beacons to groups as little as 1000 that exist all over the world. Individual people are getting it and finding ways to link themselves up better than ever before. We are realizing that, actually there are far more people from High School that we’d like to keep in touch with than we had thought. People’s home movies can actually be funny or interesting. Not everyone at our last employer was an ___hole. A few of us are even harnessing it in really creative ways to tell bigger brand stories. Entire industries are being born out of it. And, ofmcourse there are a million different explanations for why it’s happening.
For me it’s connectedness. Being connected to people more than ever has made us question why there were so few categories for people in the past. Books like freakonomics, blink, and embrace the chaos (forgive me for not using quotationmarks. I’m typing this on my phone) are showing us that there are new categories. Personally, I think there is only one category. It is called people and we are all so different, and yet similar that there can only be one strategy.
Like my Adidas example in my last post. There are lots of small groups for whom someone like Nike or Adidas is so much more relevant than the club they sponsor or the £60 professional jersey they sell and that in a way a small idea like putting your brand forward to them in a more relevant and meaningful way will last you much longer in the long run (and ironically sell more kit too).
Here are some of my little ideas:
Why don’t the record labels do more with sites like last.fm? Here is a piece of technology that helps you find of shot music based on what you listen to. There are a million ways to play with that.
Why doesn’t someone create a little league application that showcases kids sports in every little town or village in the world? With videos uploaded by millions of moms and dads with video phones and printable cards and stats sheets. Maybe someone on a Google 20% time project can hook us up? Maybe the Major League Baseball or Fifa can grab it? Maybe someone already has.
The point is that there are so many channels out there to create dialogue and so much data to analyse that we need to start showing one another that we understand and get better at relating our ideas to one another.