TED Conversations

Sartaj Anand

Founder, Egomonk , Melton Foundation


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What is the 1 Question you'd ask or Idea you'd share with the TED Team ?

Imagine you have complete access to some of the best speakers in the world, TED Fellows, the TED Team and a bunch of the most talented TEDx organizers on the planet. Now imagine all of this happening in Doha, Qatar on 16th April, 2012.

I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the TEDxSummit in Doha and now I ask you to share with me a question or an idea which needs to be heard.

I'll try my very best to ask/share it with them :)


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    Apr 5 2012: TEDFail.

    Don't get me wrong. The diversity of ideas that get presented at TED are what makes it such an extraordinary phenomenon. But some of what TED is about is the nuts and bolts of building a better world. Like any entrepreneur, we can learn as much or more from the failure of some of those ideas as from the successes. We need to check back in a few years later to see how things are going. If we don't, we are just chasing after the next shiny object instead of building on experiment and experience.

    A few examples, just off the top of my head:

    One Laptop Per Child: The lesson is that hardware is not enough. You need content, and you can't assume that it will magically appear all by itself. A secondary lesson is that you cannot assume that everyone everywhere has reliable internet access. Most schools in the US don't have reliable internet access for their students. The idea of affordable computers for all remains an excellent idea, but it won't work if it's just a bunch of boxes.

    Al Gore's climate campaign: Al made a brave and brilliant attempt to convince people to engage with climate change, but gave people nothing that they could do outside of the usual list of self-sacrifice and symbolic participation in a dysfunctional political system. As a result, we are farther now from substantive action than we were five years ago. Playing the inside game is for suckers. We need a better game plan, quickly.

    Indra Nooyi's Pepsi challenge: Indra is committed to making Pepsi a sustainable corporation. Pepsi is not committed to becoming a sustainable corporation, and Nooyi is on her way out. I would *love* to see her talking at TED 2013 about where she thinks the sustainable transformation needs to come from within a large corporation. She's demonstrated that CEO commitment to doing the right thing may be necessary, but it's not sufficient. What should we try next?

    Getting it right when it didn't work the first time should be part of the TED conversation.

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