Creating Infectious Action - Innovation Uncensored


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How do you connect meaning to social media to create impact? Drawing from psychological insights on happiness, storytelling principles and design-thinking methodology, Dr. Aaker reveals why some movements and brands take off when they harness social media--and why others don’t.

This presentation to go along with her talk at Fast Company's Innovation Uncensored conference on April 28, 2011. More information at:

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  • However, a story my student told me, completely changed my perspective. This is Robert Chatwani, and this s the story he shared with me.
  • Here is Sameer’s; he is Robert’s best friend.A young entrepreneur, recently married, was diagnosed with acute leukemia.Here is Vinay, young doctor in Boston, also diagnosed with leukemia.And this is the story Robert shared, which I’ll share with you as Robert told it to me – in silence
  • Robert spent three hours crafting a single email to kick off the campaign.With a clear story and call to action.
  • …and developed a four-winged strategy to drive action.Behind each of these words are resources – tools and templates to make things happen.So for example, if you hear the story, and want to run a drive where you work, all that you do is sitting right here on the site.
  • The results in 11 weeks? 470 bone marrow drives, across the US (show Cooper dynamic infographic (from the iNK deck), but speed it up so the ‘popcorn’pops across the US quickly)24,611 cheeks swabbedAnd a perfect match for Sameer.
  • He blogged from the hospital.
  • The power of a clear goal.
  • The idea of reversing the rules.
  • Telling a good and truthful story
  • Designing for collaboration
  • An update on Sameer. Despite a perfect match, ultimately lost his battle. Perhaps the process, as effective as it was, just took too long.
  • Here is Sameer and Reena.
  • We celebrated his life by sharing his memorial service with the world.
  • His memorial was webcasted to 6000 people.
  • An update on Sameer. Despite a perfect match, ultimately lost his battle. Perhaps the process, as effective as it was, just took too long.
  • But here is what is amazing. Though our friends lost the battle, the impact of their lives is breathtaking.Their lives lead to over 266 people matching with a donor from Team Sameer and Vinay’s efforts - just one year alone
  • That is 266 people who not only had the benefit of a match but the benefit of having it right away.When you match immediately, that changes the odds of survival dramatically.
  • So what do we take away from all this….
  • Most revolutions are sparked by the actions of a few ordinary people.
  • Your biggest asset is a clear mind and a very large idea.
  • Rind the ignition point and light it.
  • And I thought to myself, what do I do now?
  • Can I water this story?
  • Would it grow?
  • How would that make me feel?
  • All I could think of was – it would make me happy.
  • All I could think of was – it would make me happy.
  • All I could think of was – it would make me happy.
  • All I could think of was – it would make me happy.
  • We looked at what work as well what didn’t.
  • Two findings jumped out at us.
  • First, there is a huge impact you can have with social media, because it is people-powered, when you connect with things that carry meaning.
  • The second factor was that successful campaigns had four key elements working for them.
  • Simplicity is elegant.A single focused goal.
  • How might others might address the challenge? Do the opposite. The ability to stop you in your tracks, and make you look.
  • Enable others to contribute. Allow others to self-enroll and choose their own weapon.The ability to get others to take up the cause as if it were their own.
  • The dragonfly effect is the idea that small acts can create big change.
  • When meaning is at the core…
  • ... And all four wings are beating in concert.
  • And just thinking of that makes me happy.
  • Creating Infectious Action - Innovation Uncensored

    1. T H E D R A G O N F L Y E F F E C T : H O W I D E A S T A K E F L I G H T<br />J E N N I F E R A A K E R S T A N F O R D U N I V E R S I T Y G S B<br />
    3. I WAS SKEPTICAL.<br />
    5. connecting<br />networking<br />understanding<br />amazing<br />Social Media<br />fun<br />friends<br />innovative<br />powerful<br />sharing<br />
    6. demanding<br />inaccurate<br />loneliness<br />frivolity<br />Social Media<br />invasive<br />a lot of crap<br />dangerous<br />passing fad<br />wastage of time<br />
    8. USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO SAVE LIVES <br />ROBERT CHATWANI<br /> The Dragonfly Effect <br />
    9. TWO FRIENDS, <br />DIAGNOSED WITH LEUKEMIA<br />SAMEER BHATIA, 32<br />Grew up in Seattle<br />My Co-Founder, roommate, best friend<br />Married Reena in 2006<br />Stanford undergrad, serial entrepreneur<br />Diagnosed May 2007<br />VINAY CHAKRAVARTHY, 28<br />Grew up in Fremont, CA<br />Married Rashmi in 2005<br />Berkeley undergrad, MD from BU<br />Diagnosed November 2006<br />
    10. US ESTIMATES – 2009 <br />New cases: 44,790<br />Deaths: 21,870<br />Mortality: 49%<br />
    11. For many patients, the only cure is a bone marrow transplant, from a human donor.<br />
    12. FINDING A DONOR <br />Marrow infusions require a near perfect genetic match (10/10). <br />
    13. The highest probability lies in the same ethnic pool.<br />
    14. Non-profit that operates a bone marrow registry of 7.5 million individuals. <br />
    15. For European Americans, there is an 80% chance of finding a matched donor in the NMDP Registry.<br />
    16. Of the 7.5 MILLION registrants in the<br />U.S.,<br />
    17. 20% are minorities.<br />
    18. But only 1% are South Asian.<br />
    19. So if you are South Asian…<br />
    20. your chances of finding a match are slim.<br />
    21. V E R Y S L I M<br />
    22. 1 in 20,000<br />
    23. Sameer and Vinaydid not find matches that they desperately needed in the registry.<br />
    24. To make matters worse,<br />
    25. in India…<br />a country with more than 1 billion people<br />
    26. There was no<br />National Bone Marrow Registry<br />nothing<br />
    27. What to do?<br />
    28. Friends got together.<br />
    29. We all knew that we needed to do something. <br />
    30. What were our options?<br />
    31. Do nothing.<br />
    32. Do nothing.<br />Do something.<br />
    33. Do nothing.<br />Do something.<br />Do something SEISMIC.<br />
    34. THE CHALLENGE<br />
    35. THE CHALLENGE<br />We needed to move fast.<br />
    36. THE CHALLENGE<br />We needed to move fast.<br />We needed to scale.<br />
    37. THE CHALLENGE<br />We needed to move fast.<br />We needed to scale.<br />We could not fail.<br />
    38. Our simple answer…<br />
    39. If the odds were 1 in 20,000…<br />
    40. Then all we needed to do was…<br />
    41. hold bone marrow drives…<br />
    42. and register 20,000 South Asians.<br />
    43. And then we’ll find a match.<br />
    44. Just 1 problem.<br />
    45. We had a matter of weeks to get this done.<br />
    46. First, stay focused.<br />
    47. One goal:<br />20,000 South Asians<br />
    48. Dear Friends,<br /> <br />Please take a moment to read this e-mail. My friend, Sameer Bhatia, has been diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), which is a cancer of the blood. He is in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant. Sameer is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, is 31 years old, and got married last year. His diagnosis was confirmed just weeks ago and caught us all by surprise given that he has always been in peak condition.<br /> <br />Sameer, a Stanford alum, is known to many for his efforts in launching the American India Foundation, Project DOSTI, TiE (Chicago), a microfinance fund, and other causes focused on helping others. Now he urgently needs our help in giving him a new lease on life. He is undergoing chemotherapy at present but needs a bone marrow transplant to sustain beyond the next few months.<br /> <br />Fortunately, you can help. Let’s use the power of the Net to save a life…something that couldn’t be done years ago, but is now possible.<br /> <br />Three Things You Can Do <br />(click here for more details online)<br /> <br />1. Please get registered.<br />Getting registered is quick and requires a simple cheek swab (2 minutes of your time) and filling out some forms (5 minutes of your time). Registering and even donating if you’re ever selected is VERY simple.<br /> <br />Another friend of ours, Vinay, was also diagnosed with AML and requires a transplant. We have joined forces with Team Vinay ( in order to get South Asians registered in the bone marrow registry. Both Sameer and Vinay need a match from another South Asian, however, very few South Asians are actually in the registry and this makes it difficult for doctors to find them a match. This is why we need your help.<br /> <br />We are supporting Team Vinay in organizing drives nationwide, and I need you to get registered by visiting a local drive. Drives are currently taking place all around the country, including throughout California, Washington, Michigan, Illinois, New York and many other states. Please see the full list of locations here:<br /> <br />2. Spread the word.<br />Please share this e-mail message with at least 10 people (particularly South Asians), and ask them to do the same. Please point your friends to the local drives and ask them to get registered. If you can, sponsor a drive at your company or in your community. Drives need to take place in the next 2-3 weeks to be of help to Sameer and Vinay.<br /> <br />Please use the power of your address book and the Web to spread this message – today more than ever before, we can achieve broad scale and be part of a large online movement to save lives. <br /> <br />3. Learn more<br />To learn more, please visit The site includes more details on how to organize your own drive, valuable information about AML, plus FAQs on registering. Please visit for more information on the cities where more help is needed. Another past success story from our community is that of PiaAwal’s; please read about her successful fight against AML at <br /> <br />Thank you for getting registered to help Sameer and Vinay win their fight against leukemia – and for helping others who may face blood cancers in the future.<br /> <br />Truly,<br /> <br />Robert<br />
    49. GOT ORGANIZED & FORMED TEAMS<br />TEAM VINAY<br />TEAM SAMEER<br />bridges<br />team lead<br />team lead<br />marketing<br />marketing<br />drive operations<br />drive operations<br />education<br />education<br />regional leads<br />regional leads<br />
    50. BUILD THE BRANDS<br /><br /><br />
    51. Executed, like CRAZY.<br />
    52. HELP SAMEER STRATEGY<br />SOCIAL MEDIA<br />EDUCATION<br />Widgets<br />Fliers<br />Blogs<br />How to Videos<br />Pledge Lists<br />Web Links<br />Viral Email<br />Literature<br />Video<br />Donor Orgs<br />Facebook<br />Celebrities<br />STRATEGY<br />AWARENESS<br />ACTION<br />Instant Brand<br />Mass-Micro Mobilization<br />TV<br />Homes<br />Public Relations<br />Universities<br />Magazine<br />Temples<br />Posters<br />Corporate Drives<br />Newspapers<br />Clubs / Lounges<br />Telemarketing<br />Local Events<br />TRADITIONAL MEDIA<br />REGISTRATION<br /><br />
    53. 10 Simple Steps—You Can Do It!<br />Let’s find Sameer and Vinay a match! Hosting a bone marrow registration drive at work take some effort, but your drive can be a big success with the right planning and coordination. This playbook is designed to make it easy as possible for you. Since each company is organized differently, think of this as a general guide. The various steps are laid out in sequence, and sample emails are included for you customize for your own use. Replace the text in red with your own text.<br /> The Dragonfly Effect <br />
    54. The results in 11 weeks….<br />
    55. 470 bone marrow drives<br />
    56. 24,611 cheeks…<br />june<br />july<br />august<br />
    57. 24,611 South Asians registered<br />
    58. Sameer = 10/10 match<br />
    59. Vinay = 8/10 match<br />
    60. SAMEER SHARED HIS STORY FROM THE HOSPITAL<br /> The Dragonfly Effect <br />
    61. Live each day as if it were your first<br />Dear Friends and Loved Ones, <br />I can’t stress to you how much I marvel at my blessed fortune every day, a fortune that all of you had a hand in creating.<br />If you look back at my earliest posts on this website, you’ll recall a newly-diagnosed leukemia patient needing a transplant from a grossly underrepresented and traditionally apathetic community. Along with Vinay, I challenged you all to step up and spread the work; to register and respond when called upon to save a life. I knew that this process was very unlikely to benefit me directly, but I had faith—and was convinced by Robert and others—that I had an opportunity to bring visibility to this issue to benefit future patients. This worked as hoped, and two other patients found matches through our drives. And the unimaginable happened: I also found a match through your efforts!<br />So who is to credit for this? Each and every one of you. It could have been your email that caused the donor to register. All of you stopped to think for a minute, “What if this was me or someone in my family?” and then did something as simple as sending an email to everyone you knew. This was Awareness Building, and was a crucial phase of your efforts. Others of you—many of whom I don’t even know but hope to seek out to thank in person one day—vested yourselves even deeper by organizing drives. You did this at your companies, your colleges, in your local communities, and at your temples of worship. And one of your actually won the luck of the draw and got to be my donor.<br />SAMEER BLOGGED PROLIFICALLY<br />
    62. So, what lessons did we learn?<br />
    63. 1<br />Develop a clear goal.<br />There is elegance in simplicity.<br />
    64. 2<br />Reverse the rules. <br />How might others might address the challenge? Do the opposite. <br />
    65. 3<br />Tell a good (truthful) story. <br />Tell stories that connect on an emotional level. <br />
    66. 4<br />Design for collaboration.<br />Enable others to contribute and choose their own weapon.<br />
    67. Sameer, relapsed within 3 months of his transplant.<br />He fought hard – but sadly, passed away in March 2008.<br />
    68. We celebrated his life by sharing his memorial service with the world.<br />
    69. Vinayhad a successful transplant, but then relapsed. <br />He underwent alternative drug treatments but, sadly, Vinaypassed away in June 2008.<br />
    70. Of the 24,611 newly registered…<br />266 people<br />were matched in one <br />year alone.<br />
    71. 266<br /> D E S I G N I N G H A P P I N E S S / © J E N N I F E R A A K E R <br />
    72. FINAL THOUGHTS…<br /> The Dragonfly Effect <br />
    73. Most revolutions are sparked by the actions of a few ordinary people.<br />
    74. Your biggest asset is a clear mind and a very large idea. <br />
    75. Find the ignition point, and light it. <br />
    76. What do I do now?<br /> The Dragonfly Effect <br />
    77. Could I water this?<br />What do I do now?<br /> The Dragonfly Effect <br />
    78. Would this story grow?<br />Could I water this?<br />What do I do now?<br /> The Dragonfly Effect <br />
    79. How would that make me feel?<br />Would this story grow?<br />Could I water this?<br />What do I do now?<br /> The Dragonfly Effect <br />
    80. HAPPY.<br />
    83. COLLECT STORIES.<br />
    84. SOCIAL <br />GOOD<br /><ul><li>Kiva
    85. Charity:Water
    86. Google
    87. Facebook
    88. Embrace
    89. Twitter
    90. Whole Foods
    91. Tom’s Shoes
    92. Groupon
    93. Profounder
    94. Gap
    95. World of Good
    96. Coke
    97. Nike
    98. Kahani Movement
    99. eBay</li></ul>PROFITS<br />
    100. The Dragonfly Effect <br />
    101. SINGLE FOCUSED GOAL<br />Need a way to build deeper connection with consumers especially teens to its flagship<br />Leverage digital media to connect globally<br />
    102. DESIGN APPROACH<br />Viral digital marketing campaign on happiness <br />7 prototypes; $50K each<br />Facebook apps<br />Wallpaper <br />Winner: <br />Coke Happiness Machine<br />
    103. THE RESULT<br />SPEND:$50K<br />REACH:2 million in 2 weeks<br />Global: 50% viewers outside US <br />70% blog posts non-English<br />IMPACT:95% positive comments  <br />
    104. What campaigns took flight vs. stay grounded? <br />
    105. Two surprising factors <br />
    107. Four activities were coordinated with precision, operating in sync<br />
    108. FOCUS ON A SINGLE GOAL<br />© Smithsonian Institution<br />
    109. REVERSE RULES<br />© Tom Brogan<br />
    110. TELL A STORY<br />
    111. ENABLE OTHERS TO ACT<br />© clementine mom<br />
    112. DRAGONFLY EFFECT: Small acts can create big change<br />
    113. When the core idea has deep meaning<br />
    114. When all four wings are coordinated.<br />
    115. FOCUS<br />FOCUS<br />
    116. To change the world, you have to get your head together first. <br />— Jimi Hendrix<br />
    117. FOCUSED ON A SINGLE GOAL<br />They did not try to sign up every single South Asian in Bay Area.<br />They on those who were well connected<br />Those who were parents<br />Those who could relate to Sameer and his story<br />
    118. FOCUS<br />FOCUS<br />Humanistic<br />Actionable<br />Testable<br />Clear<br />Happiness<br />
    120. This is designed to get somebody’s attention. <br />This is a hammer.<br /> — Rep. Jason Watkins<br />
    121. GRAB ATTENTION<br />Made the ask personal and visceral.<br />And spoke in unexpected ways.<br />
    122. GRAB ATTENTION<br />GRAB ATTENTION<br />PersonalUnexpected<br />Visceral<br />Visual<br />
    123. ENGAGE<br />ENGAGE<br />
    124. Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are set up to understand stories. <br /> — Robert Schank, Cogntive Psychologist<br />
    125. ENGAGE <br />Team Sameer engaged by speaking authenticity, telling a story, personally connecting with the listener<br />
    126. ENGAGE<br />ENGAGE<br />Tell a story<br />Empathize<br />Authenticity<br />Match media<br />
    128. As we look ahead to the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. <br /> — Bill Gates<br />
    129. ENABLE ACTION<br />Provide tools, templates Social change in a box<br />Act first, then think<br />Power of a good campaign = others do things you don’t expect<br />
    130. ENABLE ACTION<br />TAKE ACTION<br />Easy<br />Fun<br />Tailored<br />Open<br />
    132. DRAGONFLY EFFECT<br />FOCUS <br />Humanistic<br />Actionable <br />Testable <br />Clarity <br />Happiness <br /> <br />ENGAGE<br />Tell a story <br />Personally connect <br />Authenticity <br />Match the media<br />TAKE ACTION<br />Easy <br />Fun <br />Tailored <br />Open<br />GRAB ATTENTION<br />Personal <br />Unexpected<br />Visceral <br />Visualize<br />
    133. HAPPY<br />
    134. thank you<br />and special thanks to<br />Sameer and Vinay, Robert Chatwani, Purin Phanichphant, Joe Brown, Emily Ma, Barbara McCarthy, David Rogier, Jason Chua, Nicolae Halmaghi, Nick Myers, Renna Al-Yassini, Jayson McCauliff, Cassie Mogilner, Sep Kamvar, Anneke Jong, Mia Mabanta, Nancy Duarte, Oren and Justine Jacob, our TED dinner-ites, my parents,<br />Cooper, Devon, Tae Smith and Andy<br />