In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell describes the process by which ideas become epidemics, or viral. There are three agents of change I call the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context.
In Malcolm’s Law of the Few, he describes how a small number of people, connectors, mavens, and salesmen, take a trend from a small number of people and cause the kind of social viral effect that tips an idea.
In his Stickiness Factor, Malcolm describes how something becomes sticky or meaningful in our lives. When that thing becomes meaningful it sticks. Meaningfulness can something simple, like knowing what to do next.
In the Power of Context, Malcolm describes how people’s behaviour adapts to their environment. Within this scope he descibes the Broken Window theory. How one broken window will in essence make it OK for someone to break another. We’ve seen children do this.
Within one of his case studies he describes the power of groups. He goes to explain the theory of the 150 rule. The idea being that once a group get’s bigger than 150, people change and the group becomes harder to manage. He gave a number of examples of companies, religions, and other entities that learned to adapt to the 150 rule.
The reasoning behind the 150 rule is that after 150 we, each of us, can no longer know our peers. Fragmentation begins to occur and we basically become strangers to each other. Thus we begin to only care about ourselves and context of the community goes out the window.
Here, Malcolm makes a powerful suggestion, that maybe we should make a lot of small schools rather than less of the bigger schools.
Everyone needs to read this book!