The invisibility of success · The invisibility of tribal success · Conspicuous success, invisible source · Vision is like gravity · The spread of vision · Vision: success without programs

Bring some bubble wrap to class, start popping bubbles, and ask the class what they’re seeing. Someone will probably suggest that they’re seeing a law (more advanced students might recognize it as Boyle’s Law). Lead them to realize that what they’re seeing is a phenomenon, not a law. This can be demonstrated pretty conclusively by writing Boyle’s Law on the board.

Have students find other examples of laws that demonstrate “the invisibility of success.”

As each bird in a flock of geese flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the bird following. It’s estimated that, by flying in a V formation, the whole flock has 70 percent more flying range than if each bird flew alone. Discuss this as an example of “success”and have students look for other examples.

What are the invisible sources of the conspicuous success of the internet? Of extreme sports?

The Women’s Suffrage movement is an example of “vision at work.” What vision and spreading mechanism were at work there? Have students find and analyze other examples. [Such as the hippie movement of the 1960s.]

How do advertising campaigns operate like spreading mechanisms? What vision was propagated by Joe the Camel or the Budweiser lizards (or current equivalents)?

Discuss clothing fads as an instance of “success without programs.” What’s the spreading mechanism? Do different fads express different visions?