Teaching Talia

LECTURE 6 : Tipping Points By Associate Professor Emma Robertson & Others

Posted on: May 5, 2010

LECTURE 6 : Tipping Points By Associate Professor Emma Robertson & Others

Here then is a model of one of the theories in Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point, which describes Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople – individuals in society who can “tip” an idea or product into a popular epidemic, so that the idea takes hold and is successfully promolgated:

Screen shot 2010-05-05 at 8.12.22 PM

On Gladwell’s website there are four sections which excerpt sections of his book, and you are asked to select one of the four to read:

What is the Tipping Point?
Thinking About Yawns
Are You a Connector?
The Birth of Big Bird

Please use this link to access the above four headings for the readings – select THE TIPPING POINT:
Malcolm Gladwell

There is also a Reading Guide on Gladwell’s website but this is less useful since it poses a series of questions on each chapter:

The points described and researched in the book relate strongly to successful creative thinking, and in particular to the processes we use to support the evolution of our ideas. In his book “How To Get Ideas” Jack Foster includes a chapter titled “Put the Idea Into Action” and he writes:

“…if nothing else happens with your idea, if it doesn’t help someone, if it doesn’t save or fix or create something, if it doesn’t make something better or solve some problem, what good is it really?

The truth is: there is no difference between:
a) having an idea and not doing anything with it, and
b) not having an idea at all.

This is actually impacting me a lot. I have always sort of though, “BUT, I’m creative because I think of creative things” and this has sort of being my justification of not really doing anything. This has really challenged me to get off my but and follow through.

Foster then goes on to list strategies to assist people who have ideas to “put them into action” and the sections are headed:

Start Right Now
If You’re Going To Do It, Do It
Give Yourself a Deadline, the Shorter the Better
Make a List (of the things you have to do if you are to put your idea into action)
Burn Your Boats
Do It Yourself (if you have trouble selling your idea to somebody else)
Stay At It
Give Yourself a Reason

A recent book which took this theme and researched it further, is Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – scroll down halfway and read the section titled the Six Principles of Sticky Ideas:


You are not being asked to read the whole excerpt, just the section defining the six principles. The authors use the acronym SUCCESS to summarise what they consider key aspects of creating “sticky ideas” –


They also identify the antithesis of SUCCESS as being the villain they call The Curse of Knowledge. The more we know, the more we expect others to know, and an assumption of knowledge can lead us to less clearly explain our new creative ideas through stories and clear, concrete communication.

Earlier in this course we considered the traits, environments and processes of famous creative thinkers. Perhaps we should now revise that term and add “creative thinkers and do-ers” because (as we have discussed above) an idea without being applied and actioned in a considered context is frequently useless.

A recent article in Time Magazine from 2006 creates an interesting bridge between our discussion on convergent and divergent thinking, current creative thinkers, and context, and you are asked to to read this article as part of the context for this final lecture. Take note of the interesting “question-and-answer format” which may assist you to frame questions for your Creative Case Study in Project 3:

Time Magazine: The Hidden Secrets of the Creative Mind

An important aspect of creative thinking and the processes that support it is an informed understanding of the role of context – what will happen to our idea, and how do we actively support it’s “chances” of having an impact, or effecting real and lasting change? Please now go to Message Board to start a discussion around this broader question, which is structured in two parts.


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Just finished my Graduate Certificate in Cross Disciplinary Art and Design with UNSW.




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