TED: Four principles for an open world

App StoreIf I were marooned on a desert island with only one app for my iPhone or iPad this would be it!

I discovered TED Talks a few years ago and began sharing it with my students. Watching great speakers at work is a marvelous way for students to learn how to deliver their own presentations. Besides, the ideas presented are well worth sharing.

My students got visibly more engaged with the role of technology in society and the quality of their work improved. Before long, I began seeing other students watching TED Talks in the commons.

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I knew I wanted to write about TED as soon as I agreed to blog for iPhone Life but it had to be done right by featuring  a great talk. 

My challenge was to find a talk worthy of an introductory blog at iPhone Life. There is a wealth of wonderful talks; Sir Ken Robinson, Bill Gates, David Kelley, Amory Lovins, Chris Anderson, Jane Fonda, Steve Jobs, Johanna Blakley, Arianna Huffington, Sugata Mitra, Tim Berners-Lee, James Cameron, Jamie Oliver, Herbie Hancock, Al Gore, David Pogue, Jane Goodall, Sting, Peter Gabriel, and so many others. How could I choose the perfect one? I couldn't. 

Driver for OpennessSo, I decided to see what was new and found Don Tapscott's superb talk Four principles for the open world.

Tapscott shares an optimistic vision of the future fired by our current technological revolution and the "net" generation. An age of openness.

Our first society was agrarian and most of the power and knowledge resided within the Roman Catholic Church until Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. This caused a paradigm shift into the Industrial Age. People learned to read, built schools, and power became more distributed. Tapscott proposes modern communications technology such as iPhones, iPads, and PowerBooks is moving us into a new era of enlightment. This is the Age of Networked Intelligence.

Tapscott suggests we are at a turning point where we can rebuild our institutions upon a new set of principles:

  1. collaboration,
  2. transparency,
  3. sharing, and
  4. empowerment.

Collaboration is the openness to work together. It transcends organizational structure. There are many successful examples including Linux and the Apache web server. Collaboration expands our collective creativity. This is what open source software is all about!

Paradigm shifts in societyTransparency is the open communication of pertinent information to stakeholders. Organizations are driven to transpareny by modern search engines and ubiquitous computing power. This is a good thing! If your information is transparent you'll be more likely to keep your organization in a "healthy" state. In the long run transparency builds trust.

Sharing is opening up intellectual properity right for the common good. The Creative Commons is a good example of this. Believe it or not, there are better alternatives to litigation.

Empowerment is the distribution of knowledge and power. Mobile computing devices and personal computers empower people globslly. What will they do with this power? Make the world a better place.

Tapscott presents a lovely vision of the future and the future is now!

The TED app works on both the iPhone and iPad and you can find it at the Apps Store. Download it now and take your favorite talks along with you wherever you go. The rest of the world will have to visit TED's web page of catch it on Youtube.

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Dr. Winegar is available to help your organization wisely use technology. Email him directly at mark.winegar@mac.com or visit www.facebook.com/MobileLearningStudio.