The word “open” is generally associated with positive contexts. Frankness. Freedom. Access. Neutrality. A willingness to listen. Engagement. Sharing. Less obvious is the shadow side of openness. In positive or negative lights, openness is a timely concept for us to define and redefine in the ever more fluid world in which we live.
When 950 people gathered at TEDGlobal in Edinburgh, Scotland, in June to explore the theme of “radical openness,” many of the topics I mentioned above resonated through the talks and informal conversations, giving form to the collaborative exploration of possibilities that is a TED conference.
It was an amazing week. Seventy-plus speakers, including the super commander of NATO, education reformers, visual effects gurus, leading scientists, cyborgs, and video game designers. And 70-plus countries represented by the attendees – the most international TED conference to date.
Because I curated the conference’s program, I’ve been invited to guest-edit this special issue of design mind. We have tried to give an outline of the discussion of that week. We look at “radical openness” from multiple angles and through many TEDGlobal voices. But we have also expanded on the conference, with interviews, features, and visualizations that add to what was said in Edinburgh.
You are part of this conversation. Watch the TEDGlobal speakers on TED.com; comment on and react to their talks. If the following articles inspire you, share them or comment on them. Let us know what you think and add your own ideas.
For this is a journey. TED itself can be thought of as a journey toward a better understand of the world. The word “journey” is important. The way forward may not always be a straight line. There is no prescribed route that we should take. TEDGlobal was designed to explore some questions on this journey- with radical thinkers and an open approach to the boundless inventiveness of the human min.
I hope you find some of this reflected in the following pages. Enjoy.
European director, TED