Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Blink and The Tipping Point, packed the house at the annual luncheon of the Foundation for the Carolinas, in the Charlotte Convention Center, March 13th.
Gladwell is an animated speaker, and he ties together social phenomena as diverse as fashion trends and community building.
He said the key to a thriving, nurturing community is the involvement of people who are natural “connectors”: those among us who, instead of knowing 20 or 30 people, tend to have a social life packed with a hundred people or more. When “connectors” get involved with a product or a trend—or a social issue or a cultural highlight–the topic is spread near and far.
To Gladwell, Charlotte’s region will grow and prosper if it can find a frame of reference for its aspirations. Then, community activists need to develop a sense of urgency. A social movement needs to identify and activate it “connectors”. Lastly, all of those involved need to fight for growth and change.
Gladwell as commented on every topic from medical care to highway congestion cures. Here’s a recent audio clip from NPR on Gladwell’s Blink: