The iridescent, blue-green creature landed on the chair edge, just inches from my face, seemingly staring back at me. Its four, lacy wings looked impossibly delicate; how could something so fragile in appearance propel an enormous body through the air with such force?
This was my first encounter with a Dragonfly. I was just a kid who hated bugs, but my curiosity won
out and I was hooked on this fascinating creature that could fly forwards, backward, and even sideways with such force that it cuts the air around you. The Dragonfly changed how I looked at things and still serves as a constant reminder for me today. As you can see, I even have a special Dragonfly light in my workroom today.
So, imagine my delight when I saw the book, The Dragonfly Effect, by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith. It is a meaningful read, based on the metaphor of the Dragonfly’s ability to fly in any direction when all four wings are working together at the same time.
Using social media to cultivate a community of like-minded individuals, the authors offer simple advice to bring about change for social good. They suggest it is essential that the four “wings” work together in concert with each other for even the most heartfelt project to take flight.
Here's how the authors break it down:
Dragonfly Body: Heart & Soul of a social change project.
Wing 1: Focused goal centered around five principles: humanistic, actionable, testable, clarity, happiness.
Wing 2: Grab attention with sensory-based visuals and make the message personal.
Wing 3: Engage with an authentic story that makes people care.
Wing 4: Take action by giving people an easy and fun way to act.
The book is like a roadmap to help individuals take a great idea and make it fly. Or, to help organizations launch more effective campaigns that engage people in embracing a cause that can truly make a difference.
The authors admit that using social media can lead to donor fatigue if it starts to feel like every friend on Facebook is asking for money for something they REALLY believe in. The Dragonfly Effect works to help cut through that by encouraging creative, fun ways to get people to take action.
This past weekend, I was at Stanford University, where Jennifer Aaker teaches in the graduate business school. Unfortunately, I was unable to meet with her, but she was kind enough to send me some interesting video clips regarding her research in the human quest to find meaningfulness and happiness in life and how that relates to our connectivity on social media. Here is the link to those clips: https://faculty-gsb.stanford.edu/aaker/pages/ja_module2-L2-innovation.mp4
And if you haven’t had a chance to read the book, or want to share the ideas with others in your own organization, here’s an effective short version of the book in a slide show that the author also sent me with all of the key points to share: The Dragonfly Effect Book in a Slideshow.
Personally, I have had the opportunity to experience this method in action through my involvement with the Innové Project. Hundreds of young social entrepreneurs submit proposals for grants that will help them launch, or further, their great idea to enact social change. One of these ideas was The Sheridan Story, a nonprofit to help prevent food insecurity for kids on the weekends. Kids in North Minneapolis schools were caught stealing food on Fridays because they didn’t know if there would be any food for them at home over the weekend.
People were shocked that this was happening in our community, and the response to this powerful story was overwhelming. Hundreds of people agreed to volunteer and donate on an ongoing basis so the organization can fill the children’s backpacks with essentials food items every Friday afternoon. In just a few years, the organization has grown to help 29 schools to end child hunger for 1800 kids.
The video below is one that I produced to help the organization grow. Meet Jordan, and witness The Dragonfly Effect in flight.
Bottom line... people want to feel like they are part of something meaningful. It increases personal happiness and helps to bring about effective social change. If everyone took the advice offered in The Dragonfly Effect, just imagine how much better the world would be. Anyone else want to start a Dragonfly Farm with me?