TED2012 was filled to the brim with “Ideas worth spreading™”. Back in the day, we used to make something called a Booster Pack, which was pretty much just a deck full of ideas. In the spirit of Ideas worth spreading™ we’ve resurrected the Booster Pack – we’ve got one idea for (almost) every person or group who presented at TED.
Session 1: The Observatory
This session offered new perspectives on our planet, our future, our inner self, and even the very dimension that we inhabit. As we pondered the messages these speakers shared, we imagined technology that could teach and spread them.
Physicist Brian Greene – The complex concepts you discuss create wonder, but only if they’re understood. We imagine a Kinect hack/download that lets high school teachers zoom in and out on the universe to examine a model of each level of complexity.
Sarah Parcak, Space Archaeologist (and TED fellow) – We imagine getting your amazing infra-red satellite images on to Google Maps so everyone can explore. Collective Intelligence to amp up discovery.
Writer Paul Gilding – The dynamics of growth and the Earth’s capacity to handle it are hard to see. We imagine an interactive infographic that lets users play with Earth’s variables (population, water, carbon, etc.) and see what unfolds.
Futurist Peter Diamandis – The next few billion Internet users will surely drive a wave of ground up innovation. We imagine a hybrid of the X-Prize and Kickstarter, offering smaller rewards for achievements that small teams can deliver in days vs. years.
Susan Cain, Author and Quiet Revolutionary – Up to half of us are introverts, but few understand where they fall on the spectrum. We imagine a more sophisticated mobile application that tests introversion and provides counsel and steps to make the most of your personality.
Session 2: The Parlor
The Parlor offered a magical glimpse into the arts that shape all our lives. As we considered their expressions, we imagined technology that would let others interact from afar.
Quixotic, Performance Ensemble – The mixture of digital projection, music, and dance is something that must be seen firsthand. We imagine a visualizer in the form of a stage of dancers and lights that respond to the music you choose to play on your iPad or computer.
Andrew Stanton, Filmmaker – The ingredients of a great story are a blend of art and science. We imagine a reference site (or IMDB plugin) that compiles story structures and devices for every major piece of media produced.
Reuben Margolin, Kinetic Sculptor – The movements of a sculpture can reflect the world that the artist sees. We imagine a new kind of kinetic sculpture that users sensors to react to the movements of passersby – making them a part of the piece itself.
Poet Billy Collins – Poetry has the power to convey great and simple truths, but first we have to lower our defenses to it. We imagine bringing poetry to unexpected places in the form of contests on Twitter and Tumblr.
Michael Tilson Thomas, Musician & Conductor – Music accompanies our most intimate moments and our most sweeping cultural movements. We imagine a Spotify plugin that allows users to associate tracks with personal memories which they can browse and share.
Session 3: The Dinner Party
Session 3 offered spirited debate about what drives human beings to their best and their worst. As we debated our virtues, we imagined new ways to share paths to betterment.
Social Psychologist Jonathan Haidt – Game mechanics have expanded beyond pure competition. Let’s team-up on a game that encourages people to collaborate in pursuit of truth, not victory.
Atul Gawande, Surgeon and Journalist – Human beings are imperfect, and to do great things, we sometimes need more structure. We imagine a new social site dedicated to the creation and exchange of checklists for every imaginable activity – from healthcare to laundry.
Writer and Radio Producer Julie Burstein – Fissures stimulate creativity but many of us are afraid to let go. A daily challenge app could provide enough subtle encouragement.
Session 4: The Lab
This session offered a glimpse at a few inventions poised to shape the world. As we marveled at these wonders, we noted that the intersection between technology and humanity is the source of our greatest innovation.
Regina Dugan, Director of DARPA – Becoming comfortable with failure requires that we spend more time with it. We imagine a new series of newsletters from the desks of engineers keeping a record of their process and their feelings as they invent the future.
Marco Tempest, Techno-illusionist – Unfortunately, most stories are told in bullet points on slides. We see great potential in a new online community dedicated to telling magical stories using technology in unexpected ways.
Materials Engineer Donald Sadoway – The future of liquid metal batteries relies on confidence in the technology. We’d love to help create a new web experience promoting the technology that offers the same robust and dynamic storytelling that your speech gave us.
Technologist Jack Choi – The virtual dissection table promises better surgeons but what about the general population? We imagine a patient-facing version people can use to explore their own bodies and understand the procedures they’re about to experience.
Vijay Kumar, Robotocist – The potential for your agile, collaborative, little bots is endless. We imagine them deployed in tight spaces like oil pipelines to uncover and identify problems.
Session 5: The Earth
This session offered a variety of important perspectives on our fragile planet. As we wrestled with these calls to action, we thought about ways to engage collective action.
Karen Bass, Natural History Filmmaker – Images of nature can be so inspiring, but the most incredible shots are hard to find. Partnering with a generation of Instagram photographers would amplify your ability to capture magic.
Climatologist James E. Hansen – The level of discussion about climate change in weather-nerd forums is too technical. Partnering with the folks at Wunderground, Accuweather, and other forums would make a more accessible version of that space. A “Buzzfeed for Climate-Change” could spark a huge shift in understanding.
T. Boone Pickens, Entrepreneur & Energy Theorist – If getting 8 million 18 wheelers on natural gas is the first big milestone in your vision, you need to rally business owners. We think a site that lets business leaders self-nominate for a pilot program that funds their conversion costs is a great first step in realizing your vision.
Civilians Investigative Theater – Entertainment can help us face challenging realities. We can see bringing the power of theater to the virtual space by conducting a play in real-time entirely on Facebook using video and photography to support the dialogue.
Session 6: The Crowd
Session 6 offered a rallying cry for the age of the network. As we basked in the glow of all things connected, we were inspired by their plans for what’s next.
Organist Cameron Carpenter – Your vision of a digital organ is one that a generation of technophiles can get behind. A Kickstarter page dedicated to your organ with a powerful performance and request for support is a great first step.
Social Entrepreneur Reid Hoffman – Treating our own careers as startups is a powerful idea. We imagine seeing more tools and functionality related to managing deeper relationships and personal planning on LinkedIn and other relevant networks.
Lior Zoref, Crowdsourcing Advocate – The power of the crowd to feed us more and better information and ideas cannot be overstated. We’d see great value in an index that collects and organizes all the sites and platforms that allow some kind of crowdsourced interaction.
Secret Keeper Frank Warren – Your app was a major hit with Postsecret Fans. Applying light game mechanics would be a great way to identify superusers that can help with preliminary moderation.
Reggie Watts, Vocalist, Beatboxer, Comedian – Your loops and messages are incredibly recombinant. We’d love a tablet application dedicated to remixing and customizing a musical and ideological journey for each user.
Session 7: The City
This session offered an introduction to this year’s TED prize, which is being awarded to The City 2.0 – the city of the future. Since this entire session is dedicated to one mission, we’ve funneled our thoughts on the matter into one idea:
A city is a network, but it’s only as good as the connections between its citizens and their data. To that end, we imagine a massive open-source sensor project that will put low-cost sensors of every shape and size (motion, light, sound, and more traditional data feeds) into the hands of ordinary citizens hoping to create new insights and connections.
Session 8: The Courtroom
The Courtroom challenged us to think about optimism, technology, and injustice, about how we relate to each other and how we can better connect with the world.
Marketer Jim Stengel – It’s easy to buy into the idea of triple bottom line business operations. What’s hard is to bring that to life. We see a series of common business activities (brainstorm, review, innovation) re-imagined in an app that gives users process, exercises, and tips from your perspective.
Sherry Turkle, Cultural Analyst – Our addiction to technology is so pervasive that we don’t think of it as a problem. We imagine partnering with someone like StayFocusd to promote a program of awareness around the issue.
Public-Interest Lawyer, Bryan Stevenson – Inequality can’t be ignored (except that it often is). Your message resonated so strongly, we imagine a digital movement, complete with fundraising and social content, but culminating in real progress reports and actionable next steps.
Session 9: The Design Studio
In The Design Studio experts in information design shed light on the changing pace of innovation in design language.
Chip Kidd, Graphic designer – Book covers are a misunderstood art, even by many who design them. We imagine a site that discusses covers, both art and science, sharing inspiration, process, and most importantly, results (think A/B testing, color studies, and the like).
Designer David Kelley – Design thinking needs to spread faster, but you’re doing your part. From your investigative learning curriculum to OPENIdeo, keep doing what you’re doing.
Session 10: The Campfire
The Campfire brought us together to talk about stories – the power of sharing tales, of shared memories, grand stunts, and the tricks and technologies we use to narrate our world.
Jon Ronson, Writer and Filmmaker – While the experience of being human is a spectrum, it’s so much easier to make everything black and white. We imagine a self assessment site that allows users to see where they sit on the spectrum of a whole host of psychological (and human) conditions, and how they change over time.
Jared Ficklin, Visualizer – Seeing things differently is an inspiring feeling. We imagine a DIY site that teaches users how to make a wide variety of inventive visualization tools.
Writer Joshua Foer – The idea that anyone can dramatically improve their memory is hard to believe. Consider developing a short web series in which you partner with key celebrities/influencers to produce outsized results in a short period of time.
Philippe Petit, Wire-Walker – Walking on a wire is an aspirational fantasy for many people. We imagine an iPhone game that takes wire walking to the same dynamic place as other hit games, while pushing your message along the way.
Abigail Washburn, Clawhammer Banjo Player – Record on video covers of mainstream hits and put the videos on YouTube.
Session 11: The Classroom
This session opened a door on the future of education, bringing together teachers and educators of various stripes to explore best practices and imagine what’s next.
Bill Nye, Science Guy – The pure joy of science is infectious, but not well organized. We imagine a partnership with MeetUp.com to organize a wide variety of science groups for kids (think nerdy boy scouts).
Science Evangelist Ainissa Ramirez – To truly understand science innovation, kids need to get their hands dirty. We imagine an iPad app through which kids can repeat famous science experiments, with assistance and lessons along the way.
John Bohannon (Science Writer) and Black Label Movement (Dance Troupe) – Your wit made sensitive subjects more palatable. Consider converting specific segments of your performances into animated gifs (complete with text punchlines) that can spread across the web.
Sexuality Educator Al Vernacchio – The success of forums like Loveline suggest that kids need more trusted resources (while we wait for parents to catch up). Create and moderate an anonymous website for students to talk openly about sex.
Kate Messner, Author, Educator, Speaker – Writing is our best chance to hear our own authentic voice. We imagine a tiered game-like writing program that takes kids from Twitter to Tumblr and beyond.
Angie Miller, Language Arts Teacher – The historical record of each teacher’s story could be powerful when combined. Consider creating something similar to Daytum for teachers to record their everyday experiences into one aggregated view of the profession.
Rafe Esquith, Educator – Your techniques are unbelievably successful. We imagine a live stream every Monday morning that allows you to pump up a whole new generation of teachers.
Session 12: The Moment
This session got us thinking on the micro-level about how small changes and little steps – from one-second recordings to single decisions – have a big influence over our own behaviors and the world at large.
Sebastian Wernicke, Information Analyst – Your Choose Your Own Adventure talk highlighted the fact that every choice we make takes us down one of many paths. We’d love to see a site that breaks down life’s most important experiences into decision trees, highlighting the process we all take for granted.
Cesar Kuriyama, Video Maker – Capturing our lives is easy, and so we overdo it. The elegance of your one second everyday concept is stunning. We agree with you that the killer idea here is an app to help make the capture and editing process a breeze. We’d love to see it.
Leymah Gbowee, Peace Activist, Nobelist – There are more stories like yours that need to be told. Work with web developers and designers to create a Kickstarter-like platform that encourages individuals in underdeveloped nations to find a creative voice by rewarding them with social funding.
Brené Brown, Vulnerability Researcher – We need to make vulnerability okay. We’d love to see a few new hashtags around our insecurities, fears, and shame trending on Twitter.