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Why is starting small a best practice for innovations that impact social change?

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Why is starting small a best practice for innovations that impact social change?

12/1/2015 11:36 PM EST

Often we hear stories of seemingly "overnight success" on new social movements that impact people, organizations, communities and even the economy. Yet just as often we look a bit deeper and we see that the seeds of change have been incubating for a very long time. One of my favorite books is "The Tipping Point" written by Malcolm Gladwell makes the strong case that large scale changes often have been in place for a while but then the combination of a few forces propel the initiative forward.

What are the conditions that support programs like HealthETeams Challenge to go beyond an affordable enhancement to an employer's benefits program and leaps across the chasm to impact local community healthy living practices?

1. 12/1/2015 11:44 PM EST

Interesting points you make. But you don't really address the key question of why starting small is a best practice, even for projects with a large vision. Let me take a quick stab at that specific point.....

Innovation almost always takes lots of curves and "fail fast/learn faster" paths. And when small groups try to tackle big challenges, unless those groups have ample funding their only alternative is to start small. Letting experience and the marketplace shape direction one step at a time is wise for all ventures, but particularly ones where the problem is so large in scope that taking small bites is the only way to sustain progress. Then, hope for the tipping point to favor the model and methods chosen. Key point, starting small requires some early bets to be right-or close to right. Right strategy, right people, right operational model....and keep fingers crossed!

2. 3/5/2019 9:49 AM EST

I'm interested to learn more from Thomas Edwards' upcoming blogs about how innovation can drive improvements in geographically defined places and how that can help with making leaps in scale for problems that currently are an adverse impact to population health in general. And I'm hoping to contribute to the work in coming weeks as he and I intersperse our blog posts around our respective areas of focus.

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