Beyond TED : 3 shifts for community events

Abhishek Thakore
2 min readSep 19, 2017
Conferences are boring because they aren’t co-created by the participants!

The time to put one person on stage so that others listen is coming to an end.

Not that we won’t have ‘experts’ talking off the dais — we still will (humans have very sticky habits!).

It’s just that more and more of us will begin to see how putting only one way of looking at the world (the speaker’s) is simply a bad idea.

So what does a TED 2.0 look like (if there is one already?)

And more importantly, are we ready for it?

On 2nd October 2017 we’re holding the 3rd Fools Forum on the theme of “Ekatva” (One-ness) — it is a very initial experiment in these ideas.

What are these ideas?

It’s simple really — we flip most of the elements of EXPERT events and make them PEOPLE events

From publicity to invitations

Instead of curating and publicizing, we send out an invitation (which primarily travels through word of mouth) — the “tribe” is gathering

This is a self-identified tribe made up of youth, artists, activists, seekers and mavericks (corporate walkouts, entrepreneurs etc)

Instead of measuring ‘success’ based on foot falls, we simply see the turn out as where the world currently “is”

From speakers to unconference

After an opening circle, we invite the community to host sessions and circles. We imagine there to be art spaces, sports, workshops, dialogue spaces and lots of fun.

People present at the event become both participants as well as hosts — they offer sessions and move around other sessions, totally dismantling the hierarchies that sustain such events

From planning to chaos

Instead of painstaking planning, we simply open up the space based on a broad schedule. We don’t know who will turn up and how it will really look like!

This trusts our collective intelligence and creates an agenda that will exactly serve those who show up (and no one else!). We trust the emergence of whatever needs to happen

These three shifts allow participants to truly co-create and enjoy the stone soup (a mythical soup made by ingredients brought by each person, the space holder only bringing the stone that gets the soup started).

It isn’t easy to shift the conference mindset — and yet that is the only way we the people will reclaim our power to dialogue in what really matters to us, creating the knowledge that we can use to shift our world!

Let’s go for it!