Movements Change Systems

Movements with a mission can change social norms, make markets and flips systems

Lessons from Charlie Leadbeater 

The things that really bring change in society are movements with missions. We have to understand when they bring real change; when they’re nor just a hashtag to framed up by a marketing company.

Charlie Leadbeater 

When do movements bring about change? How do they change social norms? How do they change markets? How do they change public systems?

Charlie Leadbeater 

Charlie’s speech at the Istanbul Wayfinder was on movements. He has kindly shared an outline of his upcoming book with SIX and the Wayfinder community. To share your feedback and comments, please email

Please click here to read the outline of his latest book The Rising

You can watch Charlie’s speech from the Wayfinder here.

8 rules for successful movements

  1. Frame the narrative in a way that moves people – don’t let others do it for you and be prepared to adapt
  2. Find ‘prophets in wilderness’ – the people who live the ideas that go against the mainstream
  3. Build places for the faithful to gather
  4. Give people tools to enact change
  5. Share ownership through a fluid hierarchy that distributes leadership
  6. Engage the enemy so as to win them over
  7. Shift from opposition to proposition
  8. Know your routes to impact: change social norms, make markets, and shift systems

The real test for movements is not how many of the faithful you gather, but how many converts you make.

Charlie Leadbeater

How very small things can have a very big impact is a combination of meaning and money. The currency of movements is meaning. For the small to become big, you need a movement, but for the movement to be meaningful, the small needs to contain the big. 

Charlie Leadbeater

My recommendation to you and to the field of social innovation is think like a movement, adopt this lens in your work.

Charlie Leadbeater