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Creating a Social Movement

Organizations excel when the Board of Directors, leaders, partners, staff, and customers work together on a common objectiveIn other words, a social movement is created. But, can you deliberately foster one? Absolutely. And the work of Dr. Christina Economos shows us how.

In 2001 she pulled together a team of researchers and took a deep look at what it took to turn the United States around 180°in four separate social movements. This was no easy feat, considering each of these required bringing over 300 million people around including legislators, industry leaders, shareholders, private manufacturers, and scientists. The areas she studied were:  recycling, tobacco cessation, breastfeeding, and seat belt usage. Through diligence, Economos uncovered 10 key elements necessary to spread change on a massive scale. 

You may say, “That’s fine, but I am not involved in such a grand challenge. I have smaller projects, more humble aims.” I can tell you from personal experience, these elements transpose neatly onto internal change initiatives and other smaller projects that require engagement and buy-in.

I know because I have had the chance to use these results multiple times in my work with leaders. These 10 key elements can support an internal initiative to shift to a culture that is more nimble, agile and entrepreneurial just as well as they can support larger initiatives that involve world-class partners in an effort to address a long-standing issue that has evaded resolution by others

In this relatively obscure piece of research, there can be found the easy-to-apply essence of what it takes to generate a social movement, large or small. Download my latest report, Creating a Social Movement, and see what these lessons can do for you.


Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.’

– Helen Keller