Don’t create groups of more than 150 persons

In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell presents the Dunbar’s Number. This theory shows that the human brain is limited in the number of individuals with whom it can maintain social relationships. This research indicates that the maximum size of relationships we can maintain is between 100 and 250. The commonly used value for it is 150.

But what does this mean for service designers? That means that when you are creating events or groups, you should keep in mind that above 150 persons the social bond will be harder for people to maintain. That is relevant for HR too. Companies like Gore-Tex apply this principle. They don’t have more than 150 employees in the same factory. And this helps them a lot. Gore-Tex is considered to be one of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for. Because by following the 150 rule everyone knows everyone in the enterprise.

So next time you have to build an event, decide how many people have to interact together or structure a company considers the “150 max people rule”.