Web-video causes crowd-accelerated innovation (face-to-face communication goes global)

I just finished watching this TED-talk by Chris Anderson (curator of the TED conferences) on sharing, learning and innovating via (web) video. It is a must see (!) – but here’s a quick summary of the core message:

Humans are hard-wired to share, learn and innovate by millions of years of face-to-face communication. With the introduction of the printing press, written word became scalable and thus the “preferred” mode of communication (and especially for teaching, learning and the innovations that result).

Web-video is set to change the game. Sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and TED are changing (back) the way we learn. Web-video has made “face-to-face” communication scalable (and nearly free). Individuals and organizations can share their knowledge leading to what Chris calls “a cycle of improvement” where each iteration of the (production, watching, learning and emulating) cycle leads to improvements and innovation! And this is a phenomenon anyone (organizations or individuals) can tap into!

What do you need to kick off the cycle of improvement? – three elements must exist for it to kick into gear:

  • you need a crowd (a group of people who share a common interest) and a place for them to gather,
  • you need clarity about what the best people in the crowd are capable of (he calls this the light),
  • and you need desire. Teaching, learning and innovation are hard work and desire makes people spend the time it takes to contribute

The current video platforms provide these conditions, future platforms will go even further (especially regarding the light and desire) through new ways of interacting and providing feedback, praise and admiration.

Check out his video. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. The video inspires me to think about the power of video, the future of user generated content and what all this means for media companies (especially television) – what will TV look like in 5 years, what about in 10?  


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