TED Conversations

Daniel Ravner

Head of Digital,

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TV by the people - Can the audience come up with a better show than TV professionals?

Yesterday I've started an experiment from within the TV industry. It's about creating and developing a TV show through crowd wisdom. "Audience Wisdom" if you will, and it's the first time such an idea is actually tested.

I'm relying not only on the collective brain power of hundreds; I'm also assuming crowds are semi-professional TV people, considering the dominance TV has in popular culture.

This project is linked to Ted not only in the spirit of practical innovation but also in the form of Lior Zoref - a crowd wisdom researcher who recently gave a TED talk on the subject.

Would love your thoughts on the subjects, how feasible do you think the concept is, what kind of shows you think is relevant to a collective process or any other insight.

If you have ideas for a TV show or would like to join the group please visit www.tvbythepeople.com


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    Mar 29 2013: From what I have seen crowds are not wise. I suppose if the answers are collected from individuals it might be of use?

    But mostly I look to TV for entertainment, I think professionals are better at creating entertainment.
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      Mar 29 2013: How do you mean “not wise”?
      I know that for the “wisdom of the crowds” to bring something new to the table, it usually has to be a nice amount of people (round 700) and there has to be a process. Under those terms the crowd notion is tested
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        Mar 30 2013: Groups of people are stupid. A riot is an extreme example of this. It is a safety in numbers mentality a do not stand out mentality.

        I have also seen this in marketing where they will do a focus group, in which the individual will unwittingly acquiesce to the groups thinking. This renders the focus group irrelevant.

        This is much of a speaker being able to influence a crowd.
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          Mar 30 2013: While I don't think I would say "stupid," here, I agree with the thrust of what Pat is saying. Research suggests that group brainstorms and focus groups are a poor way of generating creative or clever ideas, because of a tendency to conform within groups.

          This is not to say that team work doesn't make great sense, in which the team is deliberately composed of people who bring different strengths to the table that are vital to understanding of a complex problem. Different strengths and knowledge is not enough. These strengths and knowledge must be pertinent to the problem.

          TV as a case, though, may well be one in which it makes sense to pay attention to concepts from watchers, if one has the wherewithal to sift through them. There is a theater locally that on something like a quarterly basis poses a question to subscribers like, "describe a time that..." They then build a concept around some of their replies.
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        Mar 30 2013: E.G. Nazi Germany the people were rendered stupid by a dictator where the citizens would do things that were not in their own best interest, the 92 riots here in LA people were rendered stupid by the riots where they would do things that were not in their own best interest, soccer games where the people will riot and even execute the players for losing, irrational exuberance where the citizens of Holland paid 10 times the annual salary of a craftsman for 1 tulip bulb, a lynch mob.

        Stupid could be defined as an extreme case of ignorance that overrides the person's survival instinct. This is not the case with a functioning group with a rational purpose and goal.
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          Mar 30 2013: Pat and Fritzie, I can’t argue with what you are saying but I feel as though it’s the start of the argument/definition. Not its end.

          People behave differently in a group. It could be bad but it can be great (for the most part the group inhibits rude behavior. Having people around has a big chunk of what makes our everyday life sociable)

          That being said, there is enough knowledge on how to counter negative impact of a group (focus group done right are excellent source of knowledge) and enough information on how to make the best out of group (Wikipedia)

          Relating to TV by the People, we designed a process that tries to balance between having everybody heard and also having a clear guidance to take the process forward. the main tool is a deadline. Desicions are made until a certain point and were moving on to the next item on the list...
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        Mar 30 2013: A group can create bad behavior easily as with the examples I gave. I wonder if they inhibit good as well? More to the point they inhibit the individual. I will also say that most if not all good comes from an individual alone or acting in concert with other individuals as with an organization. This is different than a mob, group, crowd or collective. And not to be confused with people going about their business and exchanging with their fellow citizens.

        Having been to a number of focus groups and knowing something about marketing I have not seen that knowledge displayed that Wikipedia is pointing out.

        It seems to me that you are in the entertainment business consequently if what you do is entertaining you will probably do all right. I disagree with the innuendo that wisdom can be derived from a crowd.

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