I was listening to the radio on my way home tonight when the programme referenced a comment from Malcolm Gladwell in the book Tipping Point. It was about ideas being like viruses. So I did a bit of searching and found the exact quote was “ideas and products and messages and behaviours spread like viruses do”.
There are lots of ways you could analyse that and depending on the approach you are taking it could be a positive or negative thing. Viruses are not seen as positive but sharing ideas could definitely be viewed in a positive way.
Ideas are something that I value really highly. For communicators the currency is ideas and having many of them is the only way we are going to find those ideas that are successful and move things forward. The more ideas we have the more likely we are to find winning ones. I have written before about the importance of providing the environment where people can have and share ideas without concern about negative feedback.
The daily grind of work can make developing creativity and providing people with the freedom to have ideas very low down on the list of priorities. As communicators we can end up in word factories, where we are churning out information without having the opportunity to have ideas about the best ways of connecting with people. We need to stop and have some space to develop more effective engagement by understanding the issues and then finding solutions.
If ideas are like Gladwell says able to be spread like viruses then why don’t we share them for good in the world? It would be great to spread the idea about healthy eating or about keeping yourself safe. It would be a major step forward if we could share ideas about respecting each other and ourselves. If those viruses caught hold then society could be significantly improved.