What Makes An Idea Stick?
Date: March 20, 2012
My thanks for ACDA Northwest Division President-elect Dr. Gary Weidenaar for pointing me to the thinking of Chip and Dan Heath in their 2008 book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. For anyone interested in creativity and innovation, this book gives thought-provoking stories to back up the authors' thesis that "stickiness" may have a formula.
Their formula itself has a bit of "stickiness" to it in the tag SUCCESs: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Stories. In other words, good ideas can be stated simply, have an unexpected quality, are concrete, are built on credible material, stir the emotions, and have a story to tell. Don't be too quick to label this as too cute, because as you read through the stories and reflect on good ideas observed that indeed stick, these elements are most-likely part of the building blocks.
Some of these same themes run through the February 26, 2012, Sunday Review article ofThe New York Times entitled "True Innovation". This article is based on the forthcoming book by Jon Gertner The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation. What Gertner describes as a "preference for usefulness", I find a parallel in the brothers Heath "concrete" and "credible" characteristics of "sticky" ideas.
It might be a good idea to read the first chapter of Made to Stick HERE for free.