TED Conversations

Zach Doty

Account Management Intern, Stone Ward

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TED generates brilliant ideas for good. Can we take it a step further and actively apply these ideas into productive action toward problems?

As a relatively new participant, it seems TED does a phenomenal job in fostering creativity and innovation in certain environments. Speakers and audience members alike review societal, scientific and other issues in the world. The focus seems to be around the dialogue and thought process of concepts and innovation.

Perhaps we could approach this from a slightly different angle? Create a "TED Cup" which would present a problem (versus an idea) for which teams or TEDx chapters would create solutions to.

At an official TED conference, the challenge can be announced, with paying teams submitting their ideas and solution outline for a qualifying decision, and subsequent rounds in which the teams present, shape and reform their ideas for implementation. This concept reinforces the idea of community, active TED promotion and the action of all the great ideas shared through TED daily.

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    Jun 3 2011: At it's inception TED was formed as a partnership between Technology, Entertainment and Design to spread ideas. Today, TED is best thought of as a global community. It's a community welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. These statements come from the About TED page.

    Your idea takes the process to the next stage, asking what do we do with these ideas? Ahmet suggests engaging with TEDActive 2011. I went to the link, clicked on Education and was led to a TED conversation (now closed) entitled: How can we empower kids to shape the education system? The subject is now closed and and I do not see a conclusion on what was going to change.

    I am not trying to be a critic, I like TED, the community is good and it achieves its purpose as an enabler of ideas. Turning ideas into focused actions that bring about change requires a different set of skills and a high degree of leadership. I do not see this in the TED purpose statement so it is fair to presume that this is not really what TED wants to evolve to. This subject is of interest to me since I feel that in this great modern age of social media we are full of ideas and information and this leads to an ability to engender people to perform simple tasks and then, often the next steps just fizzle out as we go off to tweet, facebook and blog about some other issues. Let me use as an example, the recent uprising in Egypt. Facebook got the crowds on to the streets, the crowds gathered in the square and peacefully held out for the President to step down. The people were successful, persistence paid off. When the dust settled what happened next? There was a vacuum, no leadership and suddenly you have fights between Christians and Muslims and other issues developed. Was this what the demonstrators wanted? I do not think so but they only had one goal, a single idea, get rid of the President.

    Delivering results from ideas is a difficult and takes stamina.
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      Jun 7 2011: Thanks for your thoughts Alan!

      I agree in the sense that there is more to be found from TED, and that turning the corner from conversation into action is difficult. However, I feel we must try our best, and to realize the full potential of this wonderful community!
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    Jun 8 2011: Ted is a global community that seeks to share individuals ideas so they do generate some great ideas for good. i think the problem is that since Ted is non-profit organization so we are not able to generate ideas to active problems in the world alone but that does not mean we are able to do so if we have help with a profited organization that aims to help or change the world we live in or the future of tommorow
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    Jun 7 2011: Hi Zach,

    What TED however does DO a lot is give a lot of support to many, many great projects and are thereby doing a lot in that way. Also new TED projects seem to be coming all the time, like TED-ED http://education.ted.com/ or the recent talk project they had...
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    Jun 3 2011: Ask not what Ted can do for you but what you can do for Ted. Ted provides the inspiration, you need to proved the perspiration.
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    Jun 3 2011: I think it is a great idea and I have been thinking something similar. I must confess I have published an "Application to TED: A Twitter now and a speaking slot in 2012?" ( http://is.gd/mccted ) post that touches on the idea you have raised. The post shares four ideas with the TED community – Equity Market 3.0, Economic Development 4.0, the critical path and UNITED 3.0 (to deliver “Ideas worth creating”). It is this fourth idea that your question touches on.

    I am intrigued by the power of social networks. I wondered if the "crowd" would find my application, endorse it and draw it to Chris's attention. Perhaps, we could all contribute through Web 3.0 for a range of endeavours including yours. Like Linux, it is hard to see a natural owner for your idea? TED is a potential candidate, but TED sticking with what it does best is also critical. It is a difficult question, but TED is receptive to new ideas.

    I can see the character limit dropping as I type. I shall extract some text and refer you to my post. My post also has the advantage of embedded Slideshare and Google Docs presentations (and more than 2000 characters) which put a TED "Ideas worth creating" network into the context of a specific purpose.

    Some extracted text related to this topic
    "As part of the process of preparing this application. I conceived another potential application of Web 3.0 network which may be of interest to TED. It is a Web 3.0 network closely modeled on Equity Market 3.0 to coordinate the execution of the critical path and the delivery of Economic Development 4.0. UNITED 3.0 is a Universal community Network to implement the Innovation, Technology, Entertainment and Design networks underlying Economic Development 4.0. In essence, TED is focused on “Ideas worth sharing”. UNITED 3.0 creates an platform to implement “Ideas worth creating”. Additional information is available from the UNITED 3.0 page and summarised in the Economic Development 4.0 presentation." ...
    Links http://is.gd/mccted
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      Jun 7 2011: Is there anything more?

      There doesn't seem much to do there, just some closed conversations.

      And thanks for your help, TEDActive looks like a step in the right direction. Also, are there membership options for university students like myself?