Six Principles of ‘Sticky’ Ideas

In an excerpt from Made to Stick, brothers Dan and Chip Heath provide an outline of the six principles of creating ‘sticky’ ideas:

  • Simplicity: “We must be masters of exclusion. We must relentlessly prioritize. […] Proverbs are the ideal. We must create ideas that are both simple and profound. The Golden Rule is the ultimate model of simplicity: a one-sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.”
  • Unexpectedness: “We need to violate people’s expectations. We need to be counterintuitive. […] For our idea to endure, we must generate interest and curiosity. […] We can engage people’s curiosity over a long period of time by systematically “opening gaps” in their knowledge — and then filling those gaps.”
  • Concreteness: “We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions, in terms of sensory information.”
  • Credibility: “Sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials. We need ways to help people test our ideas for themselves — a ‘try before you buy’ philosophy for the world of ideas.”
  • Emotions: “How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something. […] We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions.”
  • Stories: “How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. […] Research shows that mentally rehearsing a situation helps us perform better when we encounter that situation in the physical environment. Similarly, hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and effectively.”

via @contentini