Lior Zoref

Crowdsourcing advocate, @liorz


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How can I create a Aha moment during my crowd sourced TED talk?

As some of you know, I am creating the first-ever crowdsourced TED talk which I will present at TED 2012.
(Here's a reminder-

One of the greatest challenges I have as is to explain a complex idea in a simple way.
In addition to all the examples I'll share during my talk, I want to create one moment, towards the end of the presentation where people would say "AHA!". This should be an inspiring moment in which the audience fully understands the idea.

The best TED speakers have created such moments:
- Brain scientist Jill Bolte wanted to demonstrate how the two parts of the brain act separately and have a different personality. In the midst of the presentation, she held a real human brain, parted the two lobes, and showed how small the connection between them was.
- Jamie Oliver wanted to demonstrate how much sugar is found in what school kids eat. He poured a full wheelbarrow of sugar cubes, an amount equal to the sugar found in school kids food over 5 years.

So what do you think I should do which will related to my idea?

This is my idea:
Wisdom of Crowds theory exists for many years. The theory states that the collective wisdom of big crowds is smarter than experts as we solve problems or make decisions.
Until recently, the use of the wisdom of crowds was possible primarily for organizations that have invested resources in developing technological solutions that transformed crowd wisdom into products such as Wikipedia for knowledge.
In my PhD research I investigate how social networks allow each of us to use crowd wisdom in the daily process of thinking and decision making.
This means that anyone with enough social network friends can ask questions that will require them to think. The collective wisdom from all the answers is probably the smartest thing to do.

Thank you.

(more at

Closing Statement from Lior Zoref

Hi All,
Thank you so much for your great ideas.
Here is the idea I chose

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    Dec 5 2011: Dear Lior,
    I find that AHA moments are often created when we are totally engaged with whatever we're doing in the moment.

    You say..." I want to create one moment, towards the end of the presentation where people would say "AHA!". This should be an inspiring moment in which the audience fully understands the idea".

    When we have expectations like..."this should be an inspiring moment in which the audience fully understands the idea", you are actually trying to control the moment to get the results you want to see. That's not a bad thing at all, and it's interesting to consider. However, in watching the TED presenters, and observing my own life experiences, I find that most AHA moments arise when there are no expectations. When we are "doing", "being", "presenting", and fully engaged in the moment because that is what we love, the possibilities of AHA moments are much my humble opinion:>)

    I think AHA moments happen at different times for different people. For example, the brain demonstration by Jill Bolte Taylor was not my AHA moment, although there were many other AHA moments in her presentation:>)
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    Dec 9 2011: I'd like to start mentioning a wonderful advice on how to make a great TEDTalk [1], by June Cohen. She enumerated a few elements: 1) Tell something new, maybe not the topic, but what's the fresh take, the new angle on an old topic; 2) Evoke contagious emotions – something that makes us want to share with friends and relatives; 3) Tell a story; 4) Be personal; 5) Don't loose the audience -- jargon, etc; 6) Start strong; 7) Focus in; 8) Think globally; 9) Practice – rehersal

    Thinking about it, I remember not an aha moment but an “Ahn moment”, from a TEDx Talk by Luis von Ahn, at TEDxRioDeLaPlata in Buenos Aires. He was talking about crowdsourcing and captchas:

    -- people spend 500,000 hours daily completing captchas;
    -- by using this effort –said von Ahn—we are digitizing about 100 million words a day, that is two million books a year

    Then he said “Now, I want to translate the whole Internet. How? I want 100 million people working online for free.”

    As insanely naif as it sounded he then added: "900 million people helped us digitize books through captcha, more than 10 percent of humanity."

    And then he explained that all this expectation, the driving force behind this expected behavior, has to do with our innate desire of learning new languages, and said that in his vision it can be done "for free" via crowdsourcing.

    In this case, I think, the aha moment came from the fact that it sounds crazy but it’s completely feasible based on current evidence.

    Maybe you can show the audience how feasible your point is with one example.

    Related video:
    [1] TEDx@TEDGlobal - June Cohen - What Makes A Great TED Talk
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      Dec 9 2011: Hi Sebastian,

      Thank you for your advice. I totally agree with each and every piece of advice.
      As for the Aha moment, I have a great idea that I got from the crowd. I'll share it here soon...
      Thank you,
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    Dec 8 2011: Maybe you can find a way to combine collective wisdom, with collective work. Maybe you can find a relatively large problem facing the world, that collective wisdom has shown could be solved with a large number of people doing a small amount of volunteer or craftwork, and then sending the product of their labor, to the places where it's needed. Could you make everyone in the room assemble on of those drinking straw filters, during your talk? And then try to get the group of them to find a way that if 10% of the country could chip in and make these items, this problem would be solved.

    Maybe have a vague idea of how the task could be accomplished, that you can use as a building block, but really let the crowd chip in a bit. Put your phone number on the board, and get people to text you problems they had with their task, and their ideas to solve the problem. It will probably be a smart crowd. The drinking straw is a simple example, the 22 gallon water roller for rural africa, the solar night light. There are a lot of products that people might be willing to volunteer a few hours of personal time to make cheaper, or give away to more people. Maybe you could get the wisdom of the crowd to find one, and harness our collective energy to solve a world problem.... That would be quite an Aha!
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      Dec 9 2011: Hi David,
      Thank you for your insight and idea. I'll think if I can find a way to do such thing. Indeed, this can create a Aha moment!
      Thank you,
  • Dec 8 2011: A illusionist showed the crowd sourcing effect with a jar of jellybeans - asking the crowd to guess the number in the jar. If you would have a jar in the foyer with alot of beans in it and at the end of your talk, average out the answers from all the entries collected (which will be the correct answer) that would have an aha in there for you
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      Dec 8 2011: Paul,
      The idea I chose is very similar to your idea. I asked to recreate the famous experiment with an ox! So I might have an ox on stage and people will guess its weight :-)
      Thanks for sharing.
  • Dec 7 2011: this is so risky, but if there was some way in which you could ask the audience at your talk to come up with how you should end your talk it would both give the Aha moment you're looking for and prove your point. you can even 'pre-craft' the ending to somewhat lead them to the same conclusion.
    but holy cow....

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      Dec 7 2011: Hi Kal,
      It is risky and this is exactly what I did during the audition. And it worked perfectly so I'm planning to do it again at the end of my talk :-)
  • Dec 6 2011: Could a social network be analagous to a human body where, the 'wisdom of the crowd' (the answer) requires every cell (social network member) to be responding to the question of "What should I be doing to contribute to optimal health?"(the question you propose to a social neywork). Health is more likely if all cells are participating versus just specific groups of cells. Better answers are more likely from social networks than from specific groups. ???

    You have a good idea yet one that is difficult to make real, to make the penny drop. Use beautiful language, be sequential and be clear. People will take what they are ready to hear. I hope I hear your talk.
  • Dec 5 2011: If I understand your question correctly I would plan some sort of collective activity that gets everyone involved in the planning. It could be something as simple as how and where to plant a perfect garden to how to attain world peace; the important thing is to consider all the problems and solutions in minute detail. If your group is really large it might be easier to break them into smaller groups (you can label them, i.e. different countries, the exterminators, the military, etc.) and then bring them together later to collaborate. The goal then would be to solve whatever problems arise with your particular project. Hope this helped.... good luck!
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      Dec 6 2011: Hi Helen,
      I'm planning to doing something in real time to demonstrate crowd wisdom.
      Breaking the results into different countries is a great idea!
      Thank you so much.
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    Dec 5 2011: Dear Colleen,
    You're right. Aha moments are different for each person. I think that what I'm looking for is something that will create a feeling that will complement everything else that I'll be talking about. For some people it might be the 'Aha' moment, for others it will simply be a visual representation that shows the power of the idea.
    I received a few very powerful ideas which I'll share soon.
    Thank you for your insightful feedback.
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    Dec 4 2011: use examples from real life: a master mind concept uses the wisdom of the crowds approach. andrew carnegie, wrigley, ford, firestone etc all used the mastermind concept, so did confusious. so this just might be an opportunity for a little comedy while displaying that the concept takes on many different forms in our everyday life and has been heavily relied upon by many great people to achieve massive spiritual and financial sucesses.
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      Dec 5 2011: Hi Julius,
      I love an master mind analogy. Thanks!
      I'm planning to demonstrate this live on stage with the audience. There are a few options as for what exactly should I ask.
      What do you think?....
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