Why successful ideas are sticky

Why do some ideas seem to circulate effortlessly while others are forgotten as soon as they are created? How can your organization improve its chances of creating an idea that will “stick?”

Authors Chip Heath and Dan Heath offer readers a simple formula for creating successful ideas: a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story (SUCCESs). The authors argue that creating sticky ideas is something that can be learned, regardless of how “naturally creative” you are.

By using the six traits of sticky ideas outlined in this book, Made to Stick, almost any idea can be made stickier—and a sticky idea is one that is more likely to make a difference.

Here are three ways you can make an idea sticky:

Simplicity: Being simple means more than saying something short. Instead, the goal is to create something both simple and profound, similar to a proverb. Simplicity means finding the essential core of your idea; it means excluding all other information and relentlessly prioritizing.

Unexpectedness: Using surprise is one way to get people to pay attention to your idea, but surprise doesn’t last. In order for your idea to last in the long run, you must create both interest and curiosity. And you engage people’s curiosity over the long haul by “opening gaps” in their knowledge—and then filling those gaps.

Concreteness: Sticky ideas are full of concrete images. Making your ideas concrete means explaining them in terms of human actions or through sensory information. Mission statements are usually so ambiguous that they are meaningless. Using concrete language ensures that your idea will mean the same thing to everyone in your audience.

Read the rest of the six traits and more about Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by subscribing to Page to Practice™ book summaries. Or, purchase this summary by visiting the CausePlanet summary store. Learn more about the Heath brothers and their books at www.heathbrothers.com.

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