An open letter to TED organizers on #TEDHighConcept

Dear Chris, June, Bruno –

One of my students at the Center for Civic Media and I were discussing the need for more conference venues for young speakers to share their ideas and polish their presentation skills. While TEDx has greatly expanded speaking opportunities, we felt that there was still more room to experiment with novel formats and extend the TED brand.

In the spirit of collaborative innovation, I posted a proposed new TED format to Twitter this morning:!/EthanZ/status/134258200265506817

While this would make for a short programme in my case, I suspect there are organizers who could convene an excellent roster of speakers around this theme. Indeed, one especially experienced respondent wondered whether the four-day conference format would be sufficient to accomodate all speakers he planned to invite.

Fortunately, the Twitter hivemind saw the wisdom of extending the TEDx format and have been posting suggestions to me directly, and using the #TEDHighConcept hashtag. I’ve collected some of the more promising ideas for your edification here.!/nancybaym/status/134266227597123585!/katecrawford/status/134267309895319553!/nancybaym/status/134267740029595648!/techsoc/status/134268835619540992!/tamaleaver/status/134269266450071553!/debcha/status/134269643236970497!/nancybaym/status/134269787495862272!/techsoc/status/134272338656108544!/EthanZ/status/134270766819713026!/ahmed/status/134272665560158208

Some of these ideas are more controversial than others:!/smwat/status/134272861815848961

While others seem likely to involve litigation over intellectual property:!/elfrankenstino/status/134277678047039488

Yet some I can easily imagine working on the TED stage:!/smwat/status/134276247948767233!/grok_/status/134275041570455552!/sprinksvherself/status/134276367134113792!/toluogunlesi/status/134277150349074432!/kthread/status/134278594385022976!/AaronGenest/status/134279127338450944!/lrakoto/status/134279353939927041

Xeni’s suggestion offers ample possibilities for collaboration with BoingBoing:!/xeni/status/134276349807443968

And a number of suggestions attempt to leverage TED’s technological prowess:!/springingly/status/134290539775410176!/Lawgeek/status/134289452620193792!/stevesong/status/134284590511697920

Finally, we understand TED’s focus on social impact and change. These ideas might prove helpful:!/cascio/status/134292055160655872!/shefaly/status/134279703589691392!/Lawgeek/status/134284817272553473!/OxbloodRuffin/status/134277588163100673

If you’re concerned about the compatibility of these ideas with the existing format for TED conferences, here’s an especially helpful suggestion:!/smwat/status/134278286552469504

And while existing conferences rarely suffer from these problems, this is a helpful intervention when events aren’t going well:!/thomaswilburn/status/134286626099695616

Should any of these ideas prove viable as a future TED format, no need to share royalties – just send mainstage passes. We hope to offer more assistance in the future at the #TEDHighConcept hashtag.


@ethanz and friends

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