All change is best understood as a social phenomenon reliant on the spread and adoption of new ideas; in other words, as a form of ‘social infection’.

For a new idea to become widely understood and adopted within a population, individuals must be exposed to it, must internalise it and make it their own, and must in turn pass it on to others. A model of change based on an epidemiological model of viral infection within a population therefore acts as a powerful means of understanding the spread and adoption of new ideas. Andrea Shapiro’s “Tipping Point” model is a good example.

Leaders, who act as agents of change, and others involved in planning and implementing change programmes need to understand:

  • How an idea will be received and understood by individuals within the target population. What meaning different groups within the population will make of the idea, how accepting or resistant they are likely to be.
  • What strategies or levers can be used to accelerate the spread of the new idea.
  • How leaders can use their Self in an intentional way to ‘socially infect’ those around them.

In the following video, I examine the fact that humans are a social species and its implication for change as ‘social infection’, and I draw learnings for change initiatives from the coronavirus pandemic.

Working with leaders, teams and organisations, I combine the neuropsychological model that underpins my practice with the principle of “change as social infection” to develop change strategies that maximise the likelihood of a new idea becoming widely adopted and embedded.

To learn more about how my approach can support the successful delivery of change within your organisation, please view the other short videos that are available in the Resources section or get in touch using the information in the Contact section.