Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Spread: Luck or Planning?

Duncan Watts is one of my heroes as he has been carrying out excellent research and simulations into how ideas, messages move between groups. In particular, I like the way his work is not dominated by the "diffusion" theories and how he is prepared to speak up when the results are different to those you may expect.

A recent experiment using song downloads from the Internet has come up with some interesting results and ones to make me think a bit more. An easy to read description of this here.

Some key results:
a) Luck plays a large part in what is successful (more than you might like to think about as you make plans for organisational and system success...)
b) If you lie (use false data etc) to your customers/target audience, at first they may go with you and then sensibility appears to win. At first it appears lying work.
c) When you lie, after a while behaviour of adopters/participants tends to revert back or change to what they perceive is the right thing to do. This reminds me of the issues we have with "sustainability" in healthcare change.

Any comments or thoughts about this research then do comment on this blog.

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