People often ignore some issues whilst paying others a disproportionate amount of attention.
This causes some minor issues to lack attention and therefore to change slowly or not at all. We tend to maintain a minimally acceptable equilibrium which results in little or no change to the current way of dealing with the situation.
Other issues may receive intense ‘out of proportion’ periods of attention, this attention often prompts new ways of thinking, understanding and approaching the issue and generates new and better ways to solve old problems.
This results in a plateau before the attention, thought and assimilation generate a sustained growth in performance.
[how something is understood, defined, categorized, and measured]
Individuals or groups may compete to influence how a problem is framed and in so doing influence the attention or solutions put forward. Some groups might try to maintain their privileged position by minimizing attention to issues which currently benefit them over competing groups or solutions which might erode their current privileged position.
For example, it may be framed as a problem that has largely been solved, or a crisis which should generate widespread attention and immediate action. [think – single issue pressure groups or Media headlines]
Others seek to expand attention, to encourage new audiences and participants, to generate debate and new action.
How to use this
This is all about the ability to raise your issues as a hot topic – often referred to as a ‘burning Platform’ – it goes to the heart of decision making – if the decision maker feels no threat to the equilibrium – then it is easier for a human to make no change than take risks. [Daniel Kahnman – thinking fast and slow]
If you are trying to sell to a business you need to understand what are the ‘hot topics’ within the prospect and formulate your sales story to show how your product or service helps to solve the immediate issue.
If you are a lobbyist the job is to find the individuals who you can influence with your ideas and solutions – think 3 stages of persuasion [link] – getting the idea or solution on the agenda.