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Give it away

I had a logistical glitch in my plans this morning that landed me in a different session than I had scheduled. It turned out to be a very happy accident.

June Cohen, Executive Producer for TED, was speaking about what they refer to as their radical openness, specifically, “Growing TED by Giving it Away”. She spoke about how TED has evolved from an elite gathering to an ecosystem, from expensive to free and from closed to open. Being open, and in their case radically open, is scary and risky. But she talked about how this approach is the very mechanism that has allowed them to achieve their one overriding goal, spreading ideas. To take that further, spreading ideas is what has allowed them to do everything else — think TED translations (as in 80 different languages), TEDx etc.What makes an open strategy work? Put forward a clear goal that inspires; draw a passionate user base (not necessarily large, but they must be passiontate), provide clear guidelines (with rewards + consequences),  allow the community to police themselves (moderators and a kharma system for example), Make your contributors rock stars, as in recognition.

You have to let go if you want your work to go out in the world. In doing so, you might discover that your global audience has become your global team — projects and initiatives that you once thought unrealistic now seem manageable and doable.

She was excited to announce the launch on the next TED phase, opening up their source code. This means developers can build their own TED apps. They are hoping to be pleasantly surprised by things that the audience/team can come up with. TED, in all of it’s iterations, epitomizes connecting people.

Their videos have millions and millions of views, they are now translated into 80 languages and there are over a hundred videos that people can watch in their native language. Hans Rosling is the speaker for one of the most viewed videos in the series.

 

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