Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sticky Dandelions

I have a dream (yes, middle aged white guys can have dreams too). My dream is that students in CSU's Global Social & Sustainable Enterprise program will become changemakers. People who change the world. All of 'em. Year after year. Around the globe.

The image for my dream is that we are blowing on a dandelion. Each year ~25 students will take off, starting new enterprises, or taking on important projects at leading organizations. Like dandelions, these will take root and spread. Their work will empower and inspire others, becoming seeds for other entrepreneurial ventures.

What does this have to do with stickiness? Well, as my regular bleeps know, I am a big fan of Made to Stick. I first wrote about this fascinating book in my February 2007 post "Stickiness, Serendipity and Dissonance." Since then I have referred to it often, and have now used it in several of my graduate courses. It is a student favorite. To quote from my "SSD" post:

"The premise is that there are some things you can do to make your ideas more likely to stick...think of the power! If only 1,000 people buy this book and make their ideas stick, instead of having said ideas slip into oblivion, it will have made a big impact. And if the cover fools a million people into buying this book…well, you get the idea! The world could be a very different place indeed."

Well, way more than a thousand people bought Made to Stick. Over 160,000 copies have been sold in the past year. It's on the Business Week best seller list. So their message is spreading and sticking. The reason it is popular with students is that it helps them design their ideas. Pretty much everyone has a great idea from time to time. But many of these ideas never go anywhere. They either get stuck inside (due to being busy, lacking confidence or lacking resources) or they get stuck in the network. Kind of like a dropped call. They just don't catch on. Designing an idea using the Made to Stick SUCCES approach can help you get your message out on the network, and help it become "sticky" or even "magnetic" (what it needs to become to start an enterprise).

To (finally) get to the point of this post, Dan Heath, one of the authors of the book, visited Fort Collins this past week. He started off the session talking about our GSSE program, which he had heard about from one of our students. Very cool. He did a nice job of summarizing the book, demonstrating "how to" give a compelling presentation (almost all pictures, few words/slide), and having the audience try a few exercises. How to make CFL bulbs stickier? "It's like a Prius for your house."

Anyway, after the talk, I spoke to Dan briefly, and asked him to sign my well thumbed copy of the book. I asked him to put in the message below. He asked what it meant, and I told him I'd blog about it. Thanks, Dan, and now I hope you understand.

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