TED Conversations

Lara Stein

TED Licensing Director,


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How do we capture the collective wisdom and engage the global TEDx communities?

There have been over 1400 TEDx events globally. Each of these TEDx events are nurturing incredible local communities. These communities value education and the power of ideas to change the world. How do we connect these communities and share their collective wisdom?

How do we help these communities take action, both locally and globally?


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  • Feb 12 2011: I believe that visually mapping TEDx's (on a several different levels) could be very interesting, plus making it available through the web. With so many countries, events, and people involved, it becomes easy to get lost in a sea of information, so i do think it would be fascinating to be able to create other ways to navigate the data, way beyond locality: a fluctuating and visually arresting TEDx psycho-geography so to speak....

    This could help different TEDx organizers identify common passions and interests, plus further collaborations; it could help individuals better understand the internal makeup of the TEDx's of their region, and also visually identify patterns and world-wide movements... are TEDxers suddenly more into certain themes globally, or regionally? Are their communities growing? What is the average age of their attendees? Are there collaborations across borders? What are the most popular TEDxtalks, and are they coming from specific corners? etc etc. The architecture and programming would be the complex component, but once designed, the system could feed itself through tags, and data that the TEDx organizers are already collecting naturally.

    Quite a few TED speakers have made fascinating points about the potential of visualization, and it could be great to get their input on how to benefit; because not only could this data be useful for understanding the bigger picture of the TEDx movement, but also be fun to navigate and become another level of engagement for both the organizers and the general public.

    (The creation of a visual thermometer in other words.)
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      Feb 17 2011: Data visualization as an idea hit me as soon as I read Lara's question.

      For instance - a cloud of word bubbles - the word being a keyword self-generated by the TEDx Organizer, bubble size being the sum of incidents of the word. Clicking a bubble gives you the list of TEDx events that used it. Perhaps a second-level cloud showing frequency of cross-TEDx Origanizer communications flowing from the initial worb bubble.

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