In the January Wired magazine Chris Anderson (from TED not Wired) outlines how and why the online video revolution is creating a new form of crowd accelerated innovation, entitled "Film School." In it he explains that through video, by showing someone rather than telling someone, many communities of performers, makers, artists, scientists and amateurs of all kinds are creating a global innovation lab that is rapidly accelerating the advancement of the endeavor of each of these communities. It's fast. It's accessible. It's an easy way to learn from your peers. And it strongly encourages each member to up their game! He uses the example of Jon Chu's League of Extraordinary Dancers (LXD) as an example that culminated in a phenomenal performance at this year's Oscars.
While I the article isn't available online, Anderson explains much of this phenomenon in this TED Talk:
I am particular intrigued by the 3 drivers that Anderson sees as critical to online video, or any collaborative circle, enabling an acceleration of Innovation.
1) You need a Community. A Sizeable group with common interests.
2) You need Light. All of the members have to be visible to one another.
3) You need Desire. Passion of individuals fuels the pursuit of great things within the group.
So what could public space learn from these three drivers? In Chris' lecture he uses a public space where two break dancers are performing as the example of a small amount of "light." In the public square, you are only visible to those who are present in the space with you. But in online video... you get the idea. The fact is, public space does have one advantage. You simply can't beat face to face interaction.
Anderson points to many of the revolutions in collaborative circles of the past. And most of them involve a common location. Until the opensource movments and online video, it was all about location! He references the trade routes of Asia, the coffee houses of 17th century Europe, the 20th centuries urban slums, and all of these were about proximity.
With all of the plaza's limitations, could there be a hybrid of public space and online video as a platform for innovation where you have the advantage of being surrounded by your peers in person in your community and the ability to see the global innovation lab online at the same time? Anderson's own TED is a great example. They have created a tight knit community and a commons (the stage) for them to gather around. The genius of TED's recently popularity is the viral spread of the online videos and the ability to replicate TEDx in your own community anywhere in the world. Now if we could only combine the networking and sharing that happens at TED with the global presence of the online videos. Basically, shouldn't we have a place to watch all this together in our communities? It should be a public, communal space that is supported by our municipalities. It would replace television and radio as our govenrment mandated source of information. It would be a place for debate, and a place for advancement of ideas and abilities.
I imagine this in the form of a hybrid park/megaplex where people can perform/collaborate and watch video from around the globe. Movie houses are losing out to other media channels precisely because they lack the convenience of on-demand and the ability to be participatory in the way that online media is.
People do love the idea of the lone genius in the bedroom. But the bedroom is lonely!