Starting a movement

To the RSA for an excellent talk by Jeremy Heimans of Purpose 

He is one of a new breed of “Movement Entrepreneurs” – who brings practical knowledge and insight about how the radical democratisation of the web is changing politics and campaigning. Now more than ever you can start a popular movement – not just locally but globally-enabled by tech.

Lots of good examples such as avaaz and getup

His top tips worth noting on how to start a movement

-Dont rely too much on The Charismatic Leader ( it can go wrong- think Lance Armstrong) – what you need is the right purpose

-Use institutional power but don’t get institutionalised

( David Milliband made the excellent point that if you want to have influence you have to map power structures. Sometimes these are not very visible or even widely known but they are very powerful – such as pension funds and mutual funds)

– a movement is not an internet meme

– Be online and especially be hyper local

-Soundbites do not engage any longer ( Forget Alistair Campbell) think storytelling

-Go transnational

-To get new members make it very easy for them to act ( remove barriers to action)

-Use the mainstream tech – don’t get over excited by the leading edge stuff – text or even fax may be better that a hip new app

-Fund well at the start and then get funding by the people

-Deeply embed participation ( great danger here is to message at people and think “gosh I have got a huge database must do some CRM”. Obama was highly participative in 2008 and then people started to feel targeted with messages

-Action leads to hope, not hope leads to action ( Supported by the idea of The endowment effect from Behavioral psychology -we  are more committed to something we have a hand in creating). Change minds by getting people to do things. The attitude change follows the behaviour change – not the other way round

The big question though is how does it work when it is not a single issue or the challenge is necessarily complex- such the ungoverned part of the oceans – being raped and pillaged according to David Milliband- or climate change). That is still a tough one . Watch this space. Certainly watch what Purpose do

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