A Stanford Graduate School of Business Course
Harnesses Social Media to Make a Difference
February 24, 2010 06:03 PM Eastern Time
STANFORD, Calif.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--It took just three months for a tight-knit group of friends to
get over 24,000 people into a bone marrow registry in an effort to save the life of friend and Silicon Valley
entrepreneur Sameer Bhatia. The key to their extraordinary results? They harnessed the power of social networks.
Despite a perfect match, Bhatia ultimately succumbed to leukemia, but his legacy lives on. In addition to the
dramatically expanded pool of South Asians in the Marrow Donor Program, his story inspired faculty member
Jennifer Aaker to develop a class, The Power of Social Technology, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
The class focuses on research and techniques behind cases like Bhatia’s where internet-based social media were
deployed to make a difference.
At the heart of the class is the “Dragonfly Effect,” an original framework that uses design-thinking mindsets and
psychological research to instruct how individuals may support their own causes and spur their own movements. It is
also the title of a forthcoming book (available in fall 2010 from Jossey-Bass; see also www.thedragonflyeffect.com)
coauthored by Aaker, who is General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
The Dragonfly Effect taps social media and insights in consumer behavior to create change. The mnemonic Focus +
GET: (Focus Your Goal, Grab Attention, Engage Others, and Take Action) represents the four pillars of the
Focus: Think Human. Focus on the person you are trying to help. Resist the urge to rush in with a preconceived
solution to the problem. Test alternatives and be prepared to return to square one again and again. Also, focus on
the person you need help from — your audience. What are their goals and dreams? How can you help them be
realized? Who are you to them? Where are your leverage points