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Sameer Bhatia was consistently acceptable with numbers. Aback he was in his 20s, the Stanford University alum came up with an avant-garde algorithm that formed the foundation of MonkeyBin, his accepted customer bargain marketplace. By 31, the Silicon Valley administrator was anew affiliated and active a adaptable gaming company.
Then, on a accepted business cruise to Mumbai, Bhatia started to feel beneath the weather. He absent his appetence and had agitation breathing. Bhatia chalked it up to the 100-degree acclimate and enough humidity. Afterwards a appointment to a doctor at one of Mumbai’s arch hospitals, however, claret tests showed that Bhatia’s white claret corpuscle calculation was berserk out of whack, and there were “blasts” in his cells. His doctor instructed him to acknowledgment home to seek medical treatment. Upon entering the United States, Bhatia was accepted to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J. He was diagnosed with Astute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), a blight that starts in the cartilage bottom and is characterized by the accelerated advance of aberrant white claret beef that baffle with the assembly of accustomed claret cells. AML is the best accepted astute leukemia affecting adults.
Bhatia was adverse the toughest claiming of his life. Bisected of all new cases of leukemia aftereffect in death. But Bhatia was bent to exhausted the allowance and get better. Afterwards a few months of chemotherapy and added pharmacological treatment, doctors told Bhatia that his alone actual analysis advantage would be a cartilage bottom transplant—a activity that requires award a donor with bottom accepting the aforementioned animal corpuscle antigens as the recipient.
Because tissue types are inherited, about 25 percent to 30 percent of patients are able to acquisition a absolute bout with a sibling. The actual 70 percent charge about-face to the Civic Bottom Donor Program (NMDP), a civic database with added than 8 actor registered individuals.
Patients astute a displace are best acceptable to bout a donor of their own ethnicity. That wasn’t a able book for Bhatia. He had a attenuate gene from his father’s ancillary of the ancestors that accepted acutely difficult to match. Afterwards accounting his brother, his parents, and all of his cousins, the abutting they got was a 2/8 match. Alike added awkward was that of the millions of registered donors in the NMDP, alone 1.4 percent are South Asian. As a result, the allowance of Bhatia award a absolute bout were 1 in 20,000. Worse, there were few added places to look. One would anticipate that a bout could be begin calmly in India, area Bhatia’s ancestors was originally from. But India does not accept a civic cartilage bottom registry. Not a distinct bout alike anywhere.
Bhatia’s adventure to acquisition a donor bout is a account of the advocate adeptness of amusing technology. Best of us are inundated circadian with e-mails, videos, blog posts, and online invitations to participate in campaigns—pleas we about ignore. Yet some amusing media-driven campaigns are so astute that they exhausted absurd allowance or account millions to act. We alarm this abnormality of application amusing technology for appulse the “Dragonfly Effect.” It is a adjustment that coalesces the focal credibility of our careers—research and insights on customer attitude and beatitude with applied approaches for communicable action. The Dragonfly Aftereffect is additionally an bulge of a chic accomplished at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which brought calm acceptance affianced in amusing media and an ecosystem of collaborators including Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, investors, and adroitness and acceptance from Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. Not alone did the chic authenticate that bodies are clamoring for means to use amusing media for amusing good, but it additionally accepted our acceptance that there is a replicable framework to accomplish this goal.
Why the dragonfly? The dragonfly is the alone insect able to actuate itself in any administration aback its four wings are alive in concert. It symbolizes the accent of chip aftereffect and is affiliated to the ripple effect—a appellation acclimated in economics, sociology, and attitude to announce how baby acts can actualize big change. To us, the Dragonfly Aftereffect shows how synchronized account can be acclimated to actualize accelerated transformations through amusing media.
The adjustment relies on four capital skills, or wings: 1) focus: analyze a distinct accurate and assessable goal; 2) grab attention: cut through the babble of amusing media with commodity accurate and memorable; 3) engage: actualize a claimed connection, accessing academy emotions, compassion, empathy, and happiness; and 4) booty action: accredit and empower others to booty action. Throughout this process, we use the accoutrement of architecture thinking, a artistic access to experimenting with and architecture up ideas.1 Architecture cerebration meshes with the Dragonfly adjustment because it bound takes bodies through a alternation of steps, starting with affinity and affective to antecedent conception and afresh to accelerated prototyping and testing.
Wing 1: Focus Your Ambition Bhatia’s amphitheater of friends, a accumulation of adolescent entrepreneurs and professionals, reacted to the account of his analysis with an anarchistic approach. “We accomplished our choices were amid accomplishing something, anything, and accomplishing commodity seismic,” says Robert Chatwani, Bhatia’s best acquaintance and business partner. The accompany absitively they would advance Bhatia’s affliction as they would any business challenge. It came bottomward to active the numbers. If they campaigned for Bhatia and captivated cartilage bottom drives throughout the country, they could access the cardinal of South Asians in the registry. The alone claiming was that to comedy the allowance they had to annals 20,000 South Asians. They ample that this was the alone way to acquisition the bout that would save his life. The alone problem: Doctors told them that they had a amount of weeks to get the job done.
Bhatia’s accompany and ancestors (Team Sameer) bare to assignment fast and they bare to calibration up. Their strategy: tap the adeptness of the Internet and focus on the tight-knit South Asian association to get 20,000 South Asians into the cartilage bottom registry, immediately. One of Chatwani’s aboriginal accomplish was to address an e-mail with a bright alarm to action. In the message, he did not ask for help; he artlessly told bodies what was bare of them.
Robert afresh instructed readers to do three things. First, he apprenticed them to get registered through a simple audacity besom test. He gave a articulation to locations area this could be done. Second, he told readers to advance the word. Third, he instructed bodies to apprentice added by visiting the website set up to advice Bhatia. On it were added capacity on how to adapt one’s own drive and advice about AML, additional frequently asked questions on registering. Robert beatific the e-mail to Bhatia’s abutting accompany and business colleagues—about 400 to 500 people, including adolescent entrepreneurs, investors, South Asian relatives, and academy friends. And that set of accompany forwarded the e-mail to their claimed networks, and so on. Within 48 hours, the e-mail had accomplished 35,000 people.
Bhatia’s accompany anon abstruse that yet accession man in their ecosystem had afresh been diagnosed with the aforementioned disease—Vinay Chakravarthy, a Boston-based 28-year-old physician. Bhatia’s accompany anon partnered with Aggregation Vinay, an alarming accumulation of bodies who aggregate the aforementioned ambition as Aggregation Sameer. Together, they acclimatized Web 2.0 amusing media platforms and casework like Facebook, Google Apps, and YouTube to collectively attack and authority cartilage bottom drives all over the country.
Their ambition was bright and their attack was beneath way. Within weeks, in accession to the civic drives, Aggregation Sameer and Aggregation Vinay accommodating cartilage bottom drives at added than 15 San Francisco Bay Area companies, including Cisco, Google, Intel, Oracle, eBay, PayPal, Yahoo, and Genentech. Volunteers on the East Coast started application the abstracts and accessory that the teams developed. Afterwards 11 weeks of focused efforts that included 480 cartilage bottom drives, 24,611 new bodies were registered. The teams recruited 3,500 volunteers, accomplished added than 1 actor media impressions, and garnered 150,000 visitors to the websites. “This is the better attack we’ve anytime been complex with,” says Asia Blume of the Asian American Donor Program. “Other patients adeptness annals maybe a thousand donors. We never absurd that this attack would draft up to this extent.”
Perhaps the best analytical aftereffect associated with the campaign, however, was the analysis of two matches: one for Bhatia, one for Chakravarthy. In August 2007—only a few months afterwards the alpha of the campaign—Chakravarthy begin a abutting match. Two weeks later, Bhatia was notified of the analysis of a absolute 10 of 10 match. Judging from the timing of aback the donors entered the database, both Chakravarthy and Bhatia’s matches were a absolute aftereffect of the campaigns.
One of the capital affidavit Aggregation Sameer succeeded was its adeptness to focus. They didn’t get absent in the admeasurement of their challenge. They didn’t try to assurance up every distinct South Asian in the San Francisco Bay Area. Instead they focused on those who were able-bodied affiliated to others and who could chronicle to Bhatia and his story. Those types of bodies were attainable to identify, and the ambit of the claiming bound came into focus. Conceivably best absurd was that Aggregation Sameer and Aggregation Vinay did not stop with aloof Bhatia and Chakravarthy. Ultimately, Aggregation Sameer and Aggregation Vinay accomplished a citizenry about the amount of acceptable registered donors while alteration the way registries work. Above all, they came up with a adapt for extenuative lives—one that could be replicated.
Wing 2: Grab Absorption Not every amusing media attack can grab absorption through life-or- afterlife stories. Best charge to affect through boldness or booty bodies by surprise. Accede the Coca-Cola Co. In 2009 the aggregation was attractive for a new way to affix to adolescent consumers. Spending on acceptable media or Super Bowl ads would be predictable. Instead, they veered far from what could accept been advancing and delivered the “Happiness Machine.” Aloof afore final exams, Coke installed a automat apparatus in a cafeteria at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. Instead of dispensing accustomed sodas, however, the apparatus dispensed surprises. Aback a apprentice paid for one Coke, she got abounding Cokes … and afresh got added treats as well: flowers, a pizza, airship animals, and alike a 10-foot sandwich.
The acceptance in the cafeteria were captivated by the surprises, which brought out the best in them. They aggregate the treats with adolescent students. Coke acquaint a video on YouTube and advertised it with a distinct tweet: “Would you like a Coca-Cola Beatitude Machine? Allotment the beatitude … allotment the video.” 3 Within two weeks, the video had been watched 2 actor times. Although acceptable Coke ads, such as those placed on American Idol, would accretion greater reach, Coke’s antecedent abstracts advance that the Beatitude Apparatus has had a added allusive appulse on consumers. Coke spent beneath than $50,000 on the video and accepted the adeptness of abruptness as a apparatus to authorize a abysmal affecting connection.
Or accede Nike, which in aboriginal 2010 partnered with amusing banker (RED) to barrage the (RED) laces attack on Apple AIDS Day. Nike created bright (RED) shoelaces, altruistic 100 percent of the auction gain to activity AIDS. Alive with Twitter, they put an account on the Twitter homepage advertisement the movement and angry the argument of all tweets red that included the hashtag #red or # laceupsavelives.4 To burn the Twitter community, they enlisted celebrities such as Serena Williams, John Legend, Ashton Kutcher, and Chris Rock to accelerate the afterward cheep (or their own variation): “Today is Apple AIDS Day. Calm we can activity AIDS thru sports, www.nikefootball.com/red #red #laceupsavelives.” Nike about staged a basic flashmob with the advice of these influencers who were affiliated to millions of people. Within one day, they accomplished added than 10 actor bodies with their message, angry added than a bisected actor tweets red through the use of the promotion’s hashtags, and fabricated Apple AIDS Day a top bristles all-around trending affair on Twitter, active sales of the (RED) laces and ensuring added ability able-bodied above the followers of a accurate set of influencers.
When alive to grab absorption in a amusing media campaign, we advance four architecture principles: 1)personal: actualize with a claimed angle in mind; 2) unexpected: bodies like arresting and afresh administration new information—draw them in by abrupt their curiosity; 3) visual: show, don’t tell—photos and videos allege millions of words; and 4) visceral: architecture the attack so it triggers the senses through sight, sound, hearing, or taste.
Wing 3: Appoint If Addition 2 of the Dragonfly Aftereffect is about accepting bodies to apprehension your cause, Addition 3, Engage, is about what happens next—compelling bodies to affliction deeply. Appoint is arguably the best arduous of the four wings, because agreeable others is added of an art than a science. Engagement has little to do with argumentation or reason. You adeptness accept ablaze arguments to explain why bodies should get involved, but if you can’t appoint them emotionally, they won’t be swayed.
Barack Obama’s 2008 run for the White House is conceivably the broadest attack to auspiciously use amusing media for amusing change. Obama’s aggregation finer acclimated new amusing media tools—and according to some experts, this adventurous move anchored him the presidency. Analysts at Edelman Analysis say that Obama won by “converting accustomed bodies into affianced and empowered volunteers, donors, and advocates through amusing networks, e-mail advocacy, argument messaging, and online video.” 5
Although Obama’s grassroots accomplishment was adeptness at application a advanced array of absolute amusing media and technology tools, its axial access was My.BarackObama.com (nicknamed MyBO). In abounding means this easy-to-use networking website was like a added focused adaptation of Facebook. It accustomed Obama supporters to actualize a profile, body groups, connect, and babble with added registered users, acquisition or plan offline events, and accession funds. MyBO additionally housed such user-generated agreeable as videos, speeches, photos, and how-to guides that accustomed bodies to actualize their own content—similar to a agenda toolbox. The mission, design, and beheading of the armpit echoed the distinct ambition of the grassroots effort: to accommodate a array of means for bodies to affix and become involved.
The Obama team, which created the best able-bodied set of online accoutrement anytime acclimated in a political campaign, did so in beneath than 10 days, timing the armpit to barrage about Obama’s presidential attack announcement. Keeping focused on one bright mission (“involvement through empowerment”) helped them not alone to assassinate fast but additionally to assassinate right. In its amount functionality, MyBO was the aforementioned on barrage day as it was on Election Day.
It was no accompaniment that MyBO aggregate similarities with Facebook; the Obama attack had acclimatized itself with Facebook aboriginal on, aboriginal application it afore the midterm elections. At that time, Facebook had aloof started to acquiesce political candidates to body contour pages, and alike admitting Obama wasn’t a midterm candidate, he still capital to accouter online momentum. The attack additionally assassin Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes to advice it advance and assassinate its amusing media strategy.
Hughes’s advocate addition to MyBO was application amusing media not aloof to abduction people’s absorption but additionally to accredit them to become activists (without a distinct acreage staffer cogent them how). These activists became a team—initially acquisition online and afresh analogous offline contest to deliver their cause. MyBO chip behavioral truths (involvement leads to commitment; befalling leads to empowerment) and amusing media accoutrement to affect bodies to participate in means that they begin allusive and rewarding. My.BarackObama.com was not alone a website; it was a movement that fabricated backroom attainable through amusing media that bodies were already application every day. It afflicted the face of political campaigns forever. But, added important, it fabricated accepting complex as attainable as aperture up an Internet browser and creating an online profile.
Wing 4: Booty Activity In abounding ways, Alex Scott was a approved kid. Her admired aliment was French fries, her admired blush blue. She hoped to be a appearance artist one day. But in added ways, Scott was different. Aloof afore her aboriginal birthday, she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an advancing anatomy of pediatric cancer. A bump was removed from her back, and doctors told her parents, Liz and Jay Scott, that if she exhausted the blight she would acceptable not airing again. Two weeks afterwards Alex Scott confused her leg—one of the abounding aboriginal clues about her assurance and capabilities. Aback Scott was 4, afterwards accepting a axis corpuscle transplant, she came up with a plan that would change how she and her ancestors coped with blight from afresh on. “When I get out of the hospital I appetite to accept a lemonade stand,” she said. Scott capital to use the money she fabricated to activity blight and advice added children.
Her parents accept now that they laughed at Scott’s project. Although one in every 330 American accouchement affairs blight afore age 20, adolescence blight analysis is consistently underfunded. Scott was brash that it could be arduous to accession money 50 cents at a time. “I don’t care. I’ll do it anyway,” she replied.
Like bags of added inferior entrepreneurs about the country, Scott set up a table in her advanced backyard and started affairs cardboard cups of lemonade to neighbors and passersby. Her hand-printed assurance advertised that all gain would go to adolescence blight research. The 50-cent amount of a bottle of lemonade was abandoned as barter paid with bills ($1, $5, $10, and $20) and accustomed her to accumulate the change as a donation. Scott accepted the accent of change management, and the change absolutely added up.
Scott aloft added than $2,000 that aboriginal year. Her plan was far added than a amusing entrepreneur’s admiration to acquire profits for a purpose; rather, it empowered others to act for her cause. She reopened her angle for business anniversary summer, and account of its actuality and aces account advance far above her neighborhood, her town, and alike her home accompaniment of Pennsylvania. She leveraged that drive and got others to set up their own lemonade stands. Her access was “sticky” in added means than one.6 Afore long, lemonade angle fundraisers took abode in 50 states, additional Canada and France. Scott and her ancestors appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Appearance as able-bodied as The Today Show.
Not one to be calmly daunted, Scott set a ambition to accession $1 actor for blight research. By the time she accomplished $700,000, Volvo of North America stepped in and apprenticed to authority a fundraising accident to assure that the $1 actor ambition would be reached.
Four years afterwards ambience up her aboriginal lemonade stand, Scott succumbed to cancer. She was 8. In her too-short activity she aloft $1 actor for blight research, congenital acquaintance of the calmness of adolescence cancer, and accomplished a bearing of accouchement (and their parents) about the accent of abstruse ethics like association and charity. She additionally approved that authoritative a aberration can be fun.
To backpack on Scott’s legacy, her parents accustomed a nonprofit in her name, Alex’s Lemonade Angle Foundation (ALSF). Since its founding, the 501(c)(3) alms has aggressive added than 10,000 volunteers to set up added than 15,000 stands. It has aloft in balance of $27 actor and donated to added than 100 analysis projects at about 50 institutions in the United States. Scott accumulated a bandage of cancer-fighting evangelists (family, friends, neighbors, citizens, and corporations) that was far added able than anyone, alike those abutting to her, anytime anticipation possible. At first, ALSF backward affiliated to its capacity through two cyberbanking newsletters, Actor Dollar Monday and Freshly Squeezed Friday News, which included updates and anecdotes from lemonade stands about the country. No absolute address was made; they kept the account ablaze and fun. But aback ALSF started aberration into amusing media, it begin that the old rules didn’t apply. It affianced its association added anon and frequently through Twitter alerts and Facebook posts. With the advice of amusing media—30,000 Twitter followers and 33,000 Facebook fans—the alignment garnered a able and affectionate fan base, growing exponentially. ALSF additionally redeployed its acquaintance to accomplish it asleep simple for anyone to authority a lemonade stand. Their armpit (www.alexslemonade.org) documents, bottomward to the aftermost detail, what one needs and includes downloadable templates and tools. The foundation sends anybody who registers a amalgamation of ALSFbranded materials, with banners, signs, posters, and flyers.
People all over the apple took Scott’s abstraction and adapted it into a movement. The success of Alex’s Lemonade Angle Foundation wasn’t as abundant about adopting money as it was alarming bodies to booty action. The alignment accustomed that acceptable fundraising (dialing or dining for dollars) was a almost acquiescent act. By allowance accouchement about the country set up their own lemonade stands to activity adolescence cancer, Scott mobilized a citizenry of adolescent ambassadors whose captivation and acute acquaintance fabricated a abundant added cogent impact.
The alignment accepted all four wings of the dragonfly: It focused on the ambition to account Scott’s ambition to accession money to activity adolescence cancer; it affective absorption by borer into a abiding American tradition, the lemonade stand; it affianced people’s affections by cogent and call Scott’s astute story. And finally, it excelled at the fourth addition of the Dragonfly Effect, Booty Action, the addition analytical to closing the bend on antecedent efforts.
Ultimately, the Dragonfly Aftereffect demonstrates that one doesn’t charge money or adeptness to account seismic amusing change. With energy, focus, and a acceptable wireless connection, annihilation is possible.
This commodity is based on the book The Dragonfly Aftereffect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith (John Wiley & Sons, 2010).
Jennifer Aaker is the General Atlantic Professor of Business at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is broadly appear in bookish journals in attitude and marketing, and her assignment has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR, amid others.
Andy Smith is a arch of Vonavona Ventures, area he advises abstruse and amusing ventures in marketing, customer strategy, and operations. He is a bedfellow academician at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a contributor to Acceptable Magazine.
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