One of the challenges of planning is enforcing a linear overlay on your ideas. It is as if your campaign commences and then a whole bunch of magic occurs around some stimulus and then your campaign ends (with whoops and cheers hopefully). In this scenario, we focus on individuals or “personas” and attempt to create a change in their behaviour – we want them to give consideration to our product, purchase our service or subscribe to our newsletter etc.

Mark Hancock suggests, however, that we need to move away from this approach – to begin looking at emergent behaviour:

I believe that we will stop thinking about trying to change behavior at the individual level and more about how to influence positive emotional responses through the creation of shared interactions.

This correlates nicely with a conversation I had with Katie Chatfield recently. What we need to do is to plan for a multiplicity of outcomes and design our interactions around enabling these to occur in simultaneous streams – like a waterfall. After all, we never really know which idea will catch fire in a community – and I would argue that it doesn’t matter which idea DOES. The important thing is to make sure you are ready to fan the flames.