An article from the WSJ on what really brought down the Berlin wall. This is a fascinating story. Essentially, East German Politburo member Günter Schabowski wasn’t up to speed on a recent travel policy and blew his answer at an international press conference. This led the media to conclude the border was open. The effect was immediate.
Here was the consequence…
The result, once East Berliners had seen that night’s news on West German television, was chaos at border crossings across the city…At Bornholmer Strasse, one of the main checkpoints in central Berlin, confused border guards couldn’t get clear orders on how to deal with the crush, and debated whether to open fire. Instead, they opened the barrier, and the Berlin Wall was history.
CIC principle # 2 comes to mind – The Message must be an exact match to the self-interests of the target audience(s). That was certainly the case here with regard to the East German population.
Believable news reports (the Messenger) that the border was open motivated thousands of East Germans to flood the border crossings with the expectation that they could cross. It is hard to think of another circumstance that could motivate thousands of oppressed people to approach border crossings where many people had been killed.
CIC principles #3 and #4. The Message must be communicated to the target audience(s) and the Messenger must be trusted, with crystal clear core values.
I am sure others apply as well.