Make change stick


Article By: Dr. Ken Bartlett

One of the popular business books published in the last few years is called “Made to stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die”. The book explores why an idea or concept becomes something we find interesting and can remember when many other ideas are soon lost from our memory. The principles of making an idea stick can also apply to making change stick. The book was written by American brothers Chip and Dan Heath. Chip is a professor at Stanford University and Dan, a former researcher at Harvard University, is a consultant and developer of innovative textbooks.


As they describe in their book, a sticky idea is easily understood, it’s remembered, and it changes something. They identified six elements of communication that help make ideas stick. You don’t need all six, but more is better.


  • Simple – find the core idea for why the change is needed.
  • Unexpected – grab people's attention by surprising them and holding attention by sparking curiosity.
  • Concrete – make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later by using sensory language or paint a mental picture for easier memory.
  • Credible – give an idea believability with support from outside authorities and other people with who you can related.
  • Emotional – help people see the importance of an idea by connecting to people and not numbers.
  • Stories – empower people to use an idea through narrative with examples and inspirational stories.


Did you notice the first letter from each word spells - ‘SUCCESs’.


Each of these elements for making an idea memorable can easily be applied to communicating about change. The message for why change is needed to education and training to prepare a workforce ready should be told in ways that are:






And through stories.


In future activity on this website we will invite MS2W partners to share examples of how you are communicating about change to make it stick.


As your institution is implementing instructional changes through the MS2W model, we would like to invite you to share on Edomodo group -Institutionalization Workspace, how you are communicating to make change stick.