This tool is directly influenced by the excellent book ‘Made to Stick‘ by Chip and Dan Heath. As you may not have read this, this post gives you a top level introduction.

The tool consists of  6 heuristics. These come from the 6 attributes that ‘sticky’ ideas have – by ‘sticky’,  the Heaths mean those ideas that people remember and spread. The best and most sticky ideas – they argue – have most, if not all, of these attributes.

This is great insight for any design, experience and communication professional or client. After all, what brief doesn’t want an idea, concept or content to resonate and stick with its audience?

So it’s a really useful tool to evaluate ideas, propositions, content and concepts. It adds a bit more than ‘I like it’ or ‘it works…’ and ‘it meets the brief..’.  It helps sharpen ideas.  It helps rationalise and gives substance to sell it in.

And each heuristic is a handy lens to use when you need to reframe and rework those ideas that are almost-there-but-there’s-something-perhaps-not-quite-right.  We all know how that feels.

Here’s the 6.


This is all about finding the core of the idea, and communicating it. What’s the high concept? If it takes too long to explain, or needs to many slides to introduce it, or needs a lot of justifying, or lots of instructions on how to use, alarm bells should ring.


Does it make people pay attention? Is it surprising or unexpected? Does it break convention? Does it arouse curiosity? Is it interesting enough to hold attention? Does it feed a knowledge gap?


Does it have a foundation that will help people understand and remember? How does it relate to people and their frame of reference? If it’s abstract, can we give it a context people will get?


Is it believable and convincing?  Does it have authority? Where’s the proof? Is the proof understandable? Can we let people test the idea themselves?


Does it make people care? What’s in it for them? How do we appeal to self-interest? How do we appeal to identity?


Does it tell a story that will help get people to act? Is it inspiring? Does it reflect how they would visualise themselves?


These 6 attributes form the rather cheesy acronym ‘succes’. Don’t let that put you off though, it’s good stuff this.

If you look at some of those and go ‘eh?’, I apologise.  This isn’t the place to explain in detail (you can buy their book for that).

And remember, that this is a tool to help you, or a lens to apply. Don’t follow too strictly. Many a good idea has been over-thought out of existence. Always avoid falling into that trap.