This is an epos of sorts. It begins with our two idealists – Egon and Moniek – who go on a hero’s quest, only to discover that the dragon they have to slay is the one they left behind at home.
In Rwanda (yes, doing development work), they saw that even though many people around them longed for change, the basic conditions just weren’t there to enable that change. And part of the solution was to be found at home, in Europe. After two years they returned, still idealists, but much more realistic about what that meant.
If there had been a genie in a bottle and Egon and Moniek had been granted 3 wishes, they would have wished for:
1. Knowledge of how people change, specifically what changes behaviour
2. The secret of how to make change go viral
3. Long life and happiness (as this would allow them to have more impact of course!)
But, lacking a bottled genie, they set out themselves to make their wishes come true. Combining their knowledge of management, psychology and persuasive technology, they gave birth to Snowballs & Flywheels (nickname: SnowFly): a social enterprise disguised as a real-world laboratory for sustainable, scalable change.
Their first product was Treemagotchi, which in 2009-10 made living more sustainably fun and easy for more than 27,000 Dutch citizens. The secret behinds this success was a peer-to-peer approach: by enticing leaders of large social media groups (formerly ‘Hyves’ groups) to act more sustainably, this encouraged them to engage their own networks to follow their example. And these people then did the same for their own groups and networks. And so on. And so on…
Over the years, Snowballs & Flywheels has continued to refine its peer-to-peer approach and – since 2011 – has focused on applying it in organizations. Spreading new behaviours through highly networked and influential peers is central to what Snowballs & Flywheels does. Social technology (including their award winning change platform) is often a key component in scaling up the adoption of new behaviours. And, of course, all of this is done in an as fun and engaging way as possible. Because life should have more fantasy and less drama.
After about ten years, they thought it was enough and handed over the platform to the social entrepreneurs of the2bcollective.com.
And everyone worked happily ever after.