Our Social Nature and Health: Resistance to Viruses

During flu season it’s good to remember that we’re social animals. Our social standing directly impacts our well-being; inequality and health are linked. The relationship between status and health showed up clearly in the Whitehall studies in the U.K. The first study tracked the health of men in the British civil service over a ten-year...Continue reading

Our Social Nature: Biological Altruism

“The roots of altruism and compassion are just as much as part of human nature as cruelty and violence, maybe even more so.” When she was 19, Abigail Marsh was rescued by a stranger after a freeway car accident. She had swerved her car to avoid hitting a dog. Her car hit the dog anyway,...Continue reading

Basic Income Case Studies

In a previous post I wrote about basic income, the idea that everyone in a society receives money for simple expenses such as food and housing, regardless of whether they work or not. Trends in demographics and technology are driving the idea of and need for basic income. To many in the United States, this...Continue reading

On Fairness: Guaranteeing Basic Income For Everyone

This blog is premised on our social nature and our innate sense of fairness. Those impulses lead to the design, distribution, pricing and promotion of social goods, or marketing the social good. Trends in demographics and technology are pointing to a major change in our society where there are more people than jobs. As social...Continue reading

The Social Progress Index: Measuring the Quality of Our Social Nature

Marketers often benchmark their goods and services against the competition. For countries, the main benchmark for nearly a century has been Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. The United States rules in GDP. While increasing GDP does correlate with some improvement in social conditions, it is purely an economic measure. As the measure of a country,...Continue reading

Harvard Research Across 75 Years Shows Our Social Nature

The Harvard Study of Adult Development is a very long longitudinal study. For 75 years, the study has gathered data on two cohorts: 268 men who were sophomores at Harvard in 1938, and 456 boys who lived in low-income neighborhoods in Boston at the same time. A main focus of the study is alcohol abuse...

The Power of Promotion: Three Ingredients to Make Ideas Go Viral

“Viral” has taken on a new, and mostly positive, connotation in the Internet era. A video, a photo, an article bursts onto the digital stage and suddenly it’s everywhere. Everyone is talking about it, copying it, satirizing it, secretly wishing that they were making viral content. Even social sector marketers want to know how to...Continue reading

Building and Maintaining Infrastructure is an Expression of Our Social Nature

We are social animals, goes the premise of this blog, and social animals build. You might think of the social insects as builders: ants and termites, bees and wasps. Social mammals also build for the community. For instance, tunneling mammals like prairie dogs, voles and meerkats build communal networks of tubes and chambers.

The Power of Design: Basic Elements of Graphical Communication

In a recent presentation, research and senior TED fellow Genevieve von Petzinger showed 32 ancient graphical symbols that she found repeated in cave paintings and hieroglyphic writings around the world. This consistent set of symbols appeared 30,000 – 40,000 years ago and remained in use for thousands of years. It’s possible that this is the...

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