How video-sharing leads to continuous improvement on a global scale

'The crowd is switching on lights, and we can see them for the first time, not as an undifferentiated mass of strangers, but as individuals we can learn from.'

Video-sharing sites such as YouTube have become a global phenomenon, with people sharing videos for all kinds of reasons -- from piano-playing cats to marketing pieces to critical scientific procedures. Chris Anderson, the curator of the TED conferences, should know something about the power of online video -- a couple of years ago, TED opened up its own brainstorming lectures for free viewing on the Internet, for all the world to see.

In a recent TED talk, Anderson observed that online video is having a substantial, and global, impact on innovation.  A group of dancers on a street corner, for example, can gain a global audience of millions.In this process, this was causing dance to evolve -- as dancers from across the globe learn from each other and challenge each other. Web-taught dancers even got to play the Oscars.

A similar effect was being seen in TED talks, Anderson says.  Speakers, aware of their potential global audience, were stepping up their game. "The world's universities are opening up their curricula. Thousands of individuals and organizations are sharing their knowledge and data online. Thousands of people are figuring out new ways to learn." He calls this emerging process "crowd accelerated innovation."

The result is continuous cycles of improvement. "This possibility of a new type of global recognition is driving huge amounts of effort. And it's important to note that it's not just the stars who are benefiting: because you can see the best, everyone can learn....  The crowd is switching on lights, and we can see them for the first time, not as an undifferentiated mass of strangers, but as individuals we can learn from."


This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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