Top 10 Sunday reads – #8

This week’s round-up of behaviour change links, papers and other bits & pieces.

1. A great blog post by Duncan Watts (via the HBR blog network), as he questions the role we have assigned leaders throughout history. He suggests that rather than being the drivers of change, they are more likely our way of helping us make sense of what’s going on.

Leaders, in other words, are necessary, but not because they are the source of social change. Rather their real function is to occupy the role that allows the rest of us to make sense of what is happening — just as Tolstoy suspected. For better and worse, telling stories is how we make sense of the world, and it’s hard to tell a story without focal actors around which to center the action. But as we witness a succession of popular movements, from the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, we can at least pause to appreciate the real story, which is the remarkable phenomenon of a great many ordinary individuals coming together to change the world.

2. Razor sharp thinking from Gaping Void here in an interview talking about the importance of figuring out the “why” of business, or the “Purpose Idea”, as talked about by Mark Earls.

The “Why” is not your mission statement, it is not about “Best Practices” – it is about the heart and soul of what you do – As Simon Sinak says, the” People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it“.  “Why” is the thing that gets you and your colleagues out of bed in the morning.

3. Why Social Innovators need design thinking, by Tim Brown from IDEO.

4. How to fight elephants with bees. An elegant solution that saves the lives of both elephants and people.







5. Black Friday and the influence of the herd. Just like a rioting mob, the group adapts to what everyone else does. Within that environment, a new normal. Depressing yes, surprising no.

6. Unilever’s Five Lever approach to sustainable living and behaviour change. 1) Make it understood, 2) Make it easy, 3) Make it desirable 4) Make it rewarding, 5) Make it a habit. Via @thebearchitects

You can also watch a follow up debate on the subject here via The Guardian.

7. Caring for your introvert. My favourite article of the week, via The Atlantic.

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

8. And for a little inspiration. An ode to Detroit -“See it through”. Via Curiosity Counts

And more on the Detroit rejuvenation here

9. Beautiful storytelling about a lonely desk toy who longs to escape

10. And finally, an interesting Op-Ed in the New York Times on the decline of the Fringe Suburb and the renewed desire for urban downtowns.


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