Starting a Movement
I love Derek Sivers’ TedTalk on how to start a movement. You know the one, the shirtless guy dancing at a music festival, the first follower & every follower after that. That lone nut who becomes a leader because of the followers. Strong messages on the courage of the followers, but what if you are the lone nut?
I am very proud to say that I have been the lone nut, that I created a movement & that it all started with just one idea. In Aug 2013 I was at an event where I heard about a study tour to Silicon Valley. I wanted to go on that study tour, but didn’t qualify. I decided then & there that I was going to create a study tour of my very own. Step 1: Have a dream.
I went about dreaming some more & 6 weeks later I had a proposal & a plan. I enlisted my first follower, my colleague Nicole Devine. Derek Sivers advises that the first follower is key, that was certainly true, without Nicole, I would have remained a lone nut with a dream. Nicole & I have different strengths, recognising that quickly, embracing it & acting upon it was key for the success of our movement. For it was truly ‘ours’ now. Step 2: Find your first follower, embrace them as equals.
In March 2014, just six months after that first idea, 15 NAB women in technology went to India on our very first study tour. The second study tour took place in August 2015, and dreams are happening for more. The ideas did not stop at the study tour, they kept coming & our movement for women in technology began.
We launched on International Women’s Day 2014 with a fancy breakfast event. We launched with an all-company news article, we had a label, a brand, a logo, a network & a mission - to create sustainable change for women in technology. We set out to change the world. Step 3: Think big from the start.
I have seen many organisations & leaders making a statement of support for a movement, but then expecting others to run with it. It doesn’t work, leaders must lead their movement relentlessly. Nicole & I have led our women in technology program since launch. Despite competing priorities, our movement is a part of our purpose & our passion, we see it as real work & will always make time for it. Step 4: Lead your movement relentlessly.
Movements are about mobilising people behind a shared purpose. Their power is that they start out as a small group of people who believe passionately in something & they can end up changing the world.
Whether you are the lone nut, the first follower, or any follower after that, hold on to your courage. That courage can bring movements that mobilise & change the world.