Creating a Social Movement needs Ideas, Narrative, Symbols & Leaders.
Why do transnational extremist organizations succeed where democratic movements have a harder time taking hold? Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist extremist, asks for new grassroots stories and global social activism to spread democracy in the face of nationalism and xenophobia. A powerful talk from TEDGlobal 2011.
This is a powerful argument that is relevant for anyone wanting to create a social movement, including those in organisations. Too often we focus on the action we need to take or think about change management as an ‘after thought’ whereas if they created the grass roots desire through the above mechanisms they wouldnt need traditional change strategies. In the words of the speaker … they would be “voting IN a democracy instead of voting FOR a democracy”.
Often in organisations there is a more powerful movement with a narrative, symbols and leaders that are counter to the best interests of the organisation. These movements can be both subvert and overt. To create change (or maybe even to stay alive) they need to construct counter movements that are just as convincing and work effectively in the ‘Age of Behaviours’.