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Ideas Shape Culture

Let me tell you about the second weirdest thing I believe in. Ready?

I believe that our creative efforts change the course of the universe, the same as butterfly effects work.

TL;DR: We are social beings, we influence each other, we copy one another. But we also are influenced by environment, information we take in, whom we spend time with, what products and services we buy. It’s an on-going interaction both ways. I propose that people try a new role and become not only consumers but also producers of information and products and services, essentially become creators. As we are constantly copying each others, then new trends would emerge sooner and our culture would shift. Let’s take an example of organic food. The more people choose ecological than chemical infused type of food, the more this trend is catching on and spreading. Also, the more people contribute to this trend by producing organic food, promoting organic brands, and so on, the more this trend continues to spread in society. And it’s just a matter of human imagination what other trends will humans spark and spread in near future! Note: Every creative project contributes to one trend or another. So start yours too. 🙂

Let me unpack this idea for you. Ha!

Tribes

We, humans, haven’t changed so much since ancient times. We are still social creatures. Wired to connect, yes! Did Sapiens say this, too, or Wired for Culture, or Wait But Why? Anyways, I also believe that we long for belonging. We want to fit in, even if we want to stand out. Yes, we seek to express our authenticity, but we still want to, at least secretly, fit in and find our tribe where we feel at home.

Brands as Connectors

What brands were always doing was forming us into groups of similar people. From the youth times, I remember that some people would wear adidas shoes (me!) and others choose, let’s say nike, and there would be some sort of a feeling of similarity with those who wear adidas. Or with the music lovers. If you love techno or pop, we are in different tribes straight away. And back to now. Let’s say I love android and you love iphone. We are sort of in other camps, you know?

What’s more fun, we can spark new tribes with our brainchildren.

Today, there is so much space for creativity within the Internet culture. These days, everything is mixed up between brands, products, and media. When people start expressing themselves and creating new brands within the maker and startup culture, they spark new tribes. Say we meet someone who has a project in a particular field, say it’s something like biohacking or spiritual ecology, at that moment, we feel like, “oh, we’re so same! part of the same tribe”.

Idea Virus

But what, what do I mean by “ideas”? To me, ideas are abstract like a trend, a behaviour in society among many people. For example, a spiritual ecology is an idea that is about believing that everything is alive. A nerd is an idea that is about staying at home and spending time for one’s hobbies instead of socialising.

“Ideas shape culture,” I have believed this mantra for so long, from around 2008. I guess Seth Godin infused me with this belief that ideas act like a virus in society. My curiosity was so intense that I followed a rabbit hole and dived into the craft of marketing.

Anyways, around 2015, I discovered design. Through my startup projects, I needed a website, so my journey in web design began. I soon discovered how the act of coming up with a brand name (and a domain name) is deep. How much thought does it take to dive into a personal story, discover problems I want to solve through my business startup, what values will I act on, what’s my “value proposition”, and so on. I still have this sketch from those times:

“Values-driven Marketing” by Ruta IO, 2017

But my point is that through web and product design, I was practically seeing how the thought “ideas shape culture” becomes real in the technology industry. Just notice how everyone was loving selfies and now it’s about avatar time. On the Internet, new behaviours spread so fast.

What new trend would you like to see spreading in society? Well, start your creative project so!

Let me leave you with some thoughts to ponder. When I dived into exploring ecology and living systems thinking away from the design, closer to nature, I started to believe in butterfly effects and “how disturbances in informal networks shape culture” (F.Capra). So this is one more thought to explore, how everything is connected and malleable.

When are you starting your creative project, huh?

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