In 2009, TED, an organizer of highly respected conferences on “ideas worth spreading,” threw its doors open, allowing anyone, anywhere, to manage and stage local, independent events under its banner. In the next few years, an army of volunteers produced some 5,000 such TEDx events in more than 130 countries. The brand extension and new content TED gained through these gatherings would have cost millions to produce by traditional means. But they came with a risk: TED no longer completely controlled its brand, and an extended community of people who didn’t work for TED were now capable of damaging it. And when TEDx licensees began putting dubious pseudoscientific presentations on their programs, that risk became a real threat. The blogosphere trashed TED for producing dumb content and questioned its overall credibility.
this article, Nilofer Merchant describes the uproar and the lessons it
offers: (1) that “open” does not mean “easy” or “free” and (2) that you
need to get the crowd working with you, not against you. TED did that,
turning things around by adopting three practices: “listening loudly,”
realigning the community through shared purpose, and being strategic
about the parts of the business it opened to the crowd and the parts it
kept under tight control.
|Nilofer Merchant: brains trust!|