Readymade ideas and leadership. Notes on How to start a movement TED talk.

landscape nature man follow

How to Start a Movement is a wonderful TED flash talk about readymade ideas. It goes direct to the point, but leaving space for your reflection. I like when the speaker don’t feed you with dogma but with a new perspective that acts sparking your own reflection: in fact, the notes I’m sharing are somehow derived from the video, but quite divergent from Derek Sivers’ speech.

Bonus if the video is short. This is a gem.

What makes a good leader

To keep it short, IMO the great leader in the concert video is the 2nd guy. This is the one who took what the 1st dancer (The ideologist 😀 ) was doing, reinterpreted it, and added an extra value by showing that can be cloned to help the group purpose and encouraging others to do so. The first guy dance was a readymade idea. The purpose in that environment clearly was to have fun.

Likewise, Derek Sivers is acting as a marvelous leader. He took an unrelated example not intended to be used to teach a leadership masterclass and converted it into something with a huge potential in this sense. Finally he asked others to follow his interpretation of the idea. 10M people have done so far according to the views count. Arguably, is also a leader.

The reusing ideas leader

So, to me, a leader’s role is not to invent new ideas, but more to prospect ideas that would work for the team. (Of course, if these ideas come from the team members, this is the icing on the cake). And keep in mind that innovative ideas come from divergent points of view or actions: so let’s embrace and include the difference!

Well, the leader for Derek is ‘the creative guy’ for me 😛

Ideologists and Leaders

IMO the 1st one simply didn’t care if the others were going to follow him or not. So he is not a leader, he is not less than someone with a brilliant idea that he is enjoying. The second one discovered this brilliant idea, intentionally engaged with it, and moved others to follow. I’d say he is the 1st leader.

This makes me think the leader doesn’t need to be the one with the game-changing idea. A leader can gather ideas, adapt them if needed, and foster adoption. 

Cluster leaders and bridges

When other people join to the dance happening, they frequently act in clusters. And each cluster may have an instigator and a leader. Someone realizing that the dance is cool enough and someone convincing the others in the group to join. Sometimes they act coordinated, sometimes it is the same person. This is also leadership.

landscape nature man follow
Photo by Simon Hurry on

RECAP: Readymade ideas

It’s interesting how leads can use readymade ideas, (sometimes apparently unrelated ideas/materials) and give it an interpretation that fits team’s needs.

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