Creativity Tips #1: How big is critical mass?

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Often the idea is to come up with creative ideas that will reach critical mass.

But how big is critical mass?

I think there is no one definite answer to this question.

The size of the critical mass depends on the nature of the idea and size of your target market.

There is a certain mass and size of plutonium that you need to create in order to start a nuclear reaction… a reaction that tips, that spreads, that cycles out of control.

In the idea business, critical mass is the minimum size of the excited audience that leads to a wildfire.

Critical mass is when People start embracing your idea because, “everyone else is…”

For every idea that spreads, it turns out that the critical mass is different.

Understand firstly how big critical mass means for your idea.

For example, if I want to start a yo-yo trend at the local primary school, critical mass might be as small as a dozen of the right kids yo-yo-ing during lunch.

In an environment that small and tightly knit, it is sufficient.

On the other hand, the critical mass for a better laptop computer is in the gazillions, because the current standard is so deeply entrenched and the addressable market is both huge and loosely knit.

The chances that you will launch a new laptop computer that catches on because everyone else is using it are small indeed.

Being a TEDx curator, I always struggled to understand why a lot of people in certain countries don’t know TED talks.

TED talks don’t have to reach nearly the proportions of a typical YouTube video in order to have a significant impact, because the population of curious idea spreaders that watch and spread these talks is small and connected.

The same is not true for a new music video from the musician you manage.

If your idea is not spreading, one reason might be that it is for too many people.

Or it might be because the cohort that appreciates it is not tightly connected.

When you focus on a smaller, more connected group, it is far easier to make an impact.

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