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How to Turn an Idea into a Movement

Here are some ways to make your idea into a full blown movement. Get the public involved early and often, and make advertising campaigns directed at civic organizations. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Late last year, TED announced its annual prize would go to an idea rather than an individual. That idea was the City 2.0. In June, the ten best ideas on how to make cities better places to live will receive a slice of the $100,000 in prize money. So how can the prize move beyond a one-off project and become an international movement? Project leaders should seek to involve as wide a public as possible, soliciting ideas from just about anyone. Those ideas which are feasible should be implemented as quickly as possible, with an eye toward leveraging any new concepts that emerge from not-entirely-successful ideas. 

What’s the Big Idea?

When it comes to making a single idea into a wider movement, one should not forget the powerful effect of advertising. Print and social media campaigns that reach out “to civic organizations, the academic community and the planning and design professions should be blasted early and often to keep the awareness and interest at a pitched level.” And once people are made aware of an issue, a human-centered story is often essential to making a call to action effective. Thanks to social media’s low costs, new campaigns can be disseminated regularly that turn people’s focus to one particular part of a larger idea. 

Photo credit: Lev Radin /


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