Some times you might want to some make creative waves, other times you might want to ride the waves. Making waves is a lot harder than spotting a sweet wave and riding it instead.
Making waves relies on you starting with ripples and kicking up enough turbulence to create a tsunami. Most people will be working against you and trying to prevent a tidal wave of change from washing over them.
Riding a wave presents its own challenges, but you have the benefit of not expending the energy to get the water churning and roiling all by yourself. Someone else got the wave started, others began adopting the concept and getting on board to build momentum.
When you go this route your focus needs to be on spotting a trending wave early enough to ride a crest of popularity in order to benefit from your efforts. Wait too long and the wave will lose strength and momentum and return to its natural state. Move too soon and you could get crushed before you ever have a chance to ride high.
The general rule is to spot waves early enough that you’ll need to paddle out a little further than normal in order to meet them before other surfers spot the opportunity.
That extra work you put into going out to meet the wave (rather than waiting for it to come to you) is what makes the difference between your chance to ride the wave of opportunity — or just wave good-bye as it passes you by.