How stuff spreads (6)…

Posted by on Jun 25, 2008 in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Tidal flows

"Without us"

Mass behaviour is a complex phenomenon, based on the interaction of individuals out there. 

It's like a constantly swirling tidal system – a behavioural soup: changes in behaviour within the population seem to arise mostly from within the system, rather than from without. They are endogenous rather than exogenous

Changes happen mostly without us.  

So before you try to make folk in your organisation or outside it do something in particular, ponder briefly how the tides shaping their behaviour are running. 

And how you might work with (rather than against) these forces that are so much more powerful than you or I will ever be


  1. Daria
    June 25, 2008

    I do really enjoy your series on “how stuff spreads”. It is very inspirational. I defintely agree with your statement that changes happen mostly without us. The world of human interactions is complex and unpredictable in many cases as we aren’t able to embrace, understand, foresee all the factors that play role. I find hard to explain it to people. In the world of media where I come from we believe in numbers and explanations. Things that can’t be proved by number don’t work or even don’t exist. “It would be great if we could put some reach number.” So they push for quantifying WoM or social media activities and tend to work against the social forces. While we should be talking about engagement and relations. It is something that makes me sometimes sleepless – how to explain it to the clients and get them to go with the flow.

  2. John Dodds
    June 25, 2008

    Like neo-endogenous growth theory?

  3. neilperkin
    June 25, 2008

    Great post Mark. Reminds me of something I read on Johnnie’s blog about how enterprise 2.0 is all about the individuals. So many companies forget this when trying to initiate organisational change

  4. Mark
    June 25, 2008

    Thanks, all for your kind words (and JD for you spotting my close affinity with E Balls Esq).
    Interesting comment at a workshop recently: “because all this web stuff generates such lot of numbers, we are being more constrained than we are elsewhere”. Wonder if anyone else has seen this?