Ideas that spread, win. Some ideas spread like a wild fire while others turn out to be a damp squib. As per Seth Godin, an idea has to be remarkable enough to catch attention. If it is not bold or audacious enough, no one will notice. But just having a purple cow of an idea will not make it go viral. There is a method to the madness. Even if you have a hotshot idea, not everyone will be interested to listen to it. So, the first task, if you want to spread your idea, is to figure out who is interested to listen to your idea. Typically, one needs to talk to innovators and early adopters among the consumer base to spread the idea. They are the people who care to listen. So, connect with them first. Then, a critical mass will be formed and slowly the idea will snowball.
Christian Sarkar and Vijay Govindrajan mooted the housing problem for the poor and turned it over to the crowd as a design challenge. The 300$ house challenge was definitely a purple cow. It was one of its kind events. It promised an invigorating intellectual exercise for the students, academicians and research community. It offered economic opportunity for those marketers and business that want to milk the bottom of the housing pyramid. It offered CSR opportunity for others and promised to do some good for the poor. Rarely has there been such an idea that brings in so many benefits together in its wake to so many diverse stakeholders. They threw open a competition to students, architects, businesses to design the best prototype for a 300$ house. This was an exercise and experiment with reverse innovation. For a localized problem, a decentralized global team would provide a solution.
One thing led to another. Many people and groups were interested. There were as many as 300 responses. Innovation is contagious. People did not stop at providing the design. Some went further. They built prototypes and some went a step further to build sustainable communities and villages.
Now, being aware of an idea does not mean anything. It is what you do with it. So what are you going to do about it?