Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the moment in which an idea becomes a gobal trend

Today we (my MDes class), were given a talk by Jonathan Baldwin about a fascinating book that has helped me begin to look at design and the world in general in a different light; The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. 

The Tipping Point, whilst applying social psychology to ‘real world' situations such as marketing, neatly explores the notion of simple cause and effect.  It demonstrates how often a seemingly irrelevant or inconsequential influence can have major unforeseen impacts upon the world. The ‘tipping point' itself is that magic moment when ideas, trends and social behaviours cross a critical threshold, and sweep through whole cultures, as Gladwell describes it; "like a virus."

‘The Tipping Point' discusses how Hush Puppy shoes went from selling 30,000 a year in 1993 and then "tipped" to selling to 2,000,000 a year later which took the manufacturers by surprise as there had been no change in marketing. Gladwell looks at ‘crime waves' and also the triggers, which caused a massive and dramatic drop in New York crime in the 1990s. He discusses education and what it was about Sesame Street that made learning "infectious" for young people.

It's true what Jonathan Baldwin said about this book today; you can give a copy of it to anyone to read no matter what their background and they'd at least find it interesting. I've already recommended the book to an accountant, a psychologist, a physics student, a fine art student and my mother! 

Anyone can relate to this book, but for any designer reading this blog, I especially recommend it to you. 

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