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What happens after a TED or TEDx conference?

As a long-time lurker and 2-cents adder online at TED.com; a real life participant / volunteer / organizer with TEDxTokyo and xToronto; a careful steward of the TED brand having raised money for the Sapling Foundation etc., I notice that a talk / conversation topic / TED Prize / TEDx event attracts a great deal of excitement among many intelligent people. But what comes of all this? Are any of us here prepared to get together for real world action? Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of parting of ways and dissipation after an event. I'm afraid that for real change, a lot of it has to necessarily get political, and even TED is too shy for that. I have yet to hear of a post-TED cross-discipline, integrative, problem-solving success story among people who found each other here and did something synergistic about it!

Is TED the end or the beginning?

I like devising strategies to incentivize similarly inspired strangers to break out of their routines and take on an issue together after their minds have been set ablaze...


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    Apr 18 2013: I had two thoughts in relation to your interesting question and am interested also in the responses you receive here.

    One thought was that I know that after the TED Prize is announced, people in the audience get up and offer what they will commit to help the effort. Someone gets up and offers a software platform. Someone else gets up and commits to start a SOLE where she is. Those attending in person or online are given a link to make commitments of what they will offer.

    After the talk about planting vegetable gardens on the streets of LA, Chris Anderson asked from the stage whether anyone could help the speaker further what he said his next step was going to be, and connections were left to be made during the breaks between talks.

    At the TEDxs, I wondered how often people go as groups, effectively, and bring the messages they have heard back to the group for action among those who already are a connected team. For example, the Gates foundation may host a TEDx event for employees at their headquarters.

    In other cases, I would guess those who are inclined to network would do so at the TEDx event and that collaboration may result.
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      Apr 21 2013: This year at TEDxToronto, we hope to incentivize strangers who attend these salons, to meet up and do something on the days TEDx is not happening! How, how?

      I like how Ron Finley (the man who did the guerilla gardening in S. Central LA) told the audience at the end that if they really wanted to do something to help him, they would pick up a shovel and come down to his garden, otherwise he wouldn't be interested in sitting around at a board table.
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        Apr 21 2013: It is an excellent question and depends on who you have in attendance.

        Some people who attend your event are probably deeply invested in their own projects. In that case, the most productive way of getting them to do something together is either 1) to connect them with others like them doing projects that have synergies with theirs so they can both see an advantage in it or 2)to find them others in attendance who are interested in being part of something but do not care about leading it and who don't demand more supervision than the person at the helm is prepared to offer.

        You might want to do a survey in advance of your participants asking them what they are looking for. Some people want to be an extra pair of hands in a project, while others are interested only in a leadership or central role or a situation in which they will be mentored..

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