Pursuing “The Tipping Point”: Portland, Oregon’s Take the Time Initiative
Whereas the first two case studies we presented (Traverse Bay, Michigan’s GivEm40 and Moorhead, Minnesota’s Healthy Community Initiative) focus on particular sectors and neighborhoods, Portland’s Take the Time is organized largely around two interrelated theories of community change: diffusion of innovation theory, as articulated by Everett Rogers, and social threshold theory as discussed in Malcolm Gladwell’s popular 2000 book The Tipping Point. Diffusion of innovation theory, which argues, in part, that influential early adopters of new ideas are critical to persuading others to try them out, is used to foster a grassroots orientation to mobilizing the community. Specifically, Take the Time initially used the widespread awarding of mini-grants to get the Developmental Assets framework in the hands of a number of potentially key early adopters who might persuade others to follow their lead. This strategy was designed to stimulate local ownership of the initiative and to reflect the value placed on individual contribution, creativity, and egalitarianism.