Friday, March 06, 2009

IDEAfest and the Power of One

There is a strange shift happening in the world these days. The power to influence, change and adapt is shifting. The move is from creaky institutions stuck in hierarchies working in a "pecking ordered" world, to wired individuals who are in a heteroarchy, conversing in a linked and networked world.

This is all happening primarily because of three major forces. First is the decline of relevance, trustworthiness and capacity of our old-style institutions in all realms from the political to communications, to religion to the societal influences.

Second is the power of the Internet and the increasing access to high speed and high capacity bandwidth give everyone access to new sense of community when, where and how they choose. Third is the advent and mindboggling adoption of the social media and the participation phenomenon ranging from Blogs, to Facebook to Twitter and YouTube, only to name a few.

In the old “pecking-order” reality what it took to make a difference was not what you knew but who you knew. In the new “networked reality” what it takes to make a difference has changed. Now it is about what do you know for sure and who knows you. The social media tools needed to engage in this wired-world are just a click away. Anyone who wants to engage, share, create, converse and even take action has opportunity and capacity. It is all about personal expression and choice, not permission or position.

For a perfect example of the “Power of One” to make a difference, generate interest and enable action in this new networked world just look at Michael Janz and his IDEAfest 2009 project. One guy with an idea, a network of friends and contacts with a Facebook account and his is pulling this event off.

IDEAfest runs this Saturday, March 7, 2009 from 10am-5pm at the UofA Tory Basement 95 and it is free. It is a mini TED that will be made up of self-selecting people with a passion and a purpose who will present their ideas to anyone who wants to show up, lisaten and perhaps participate.

The event format is loose so you just show up and you can go to any of 3 concurrent sessions of 30 minutes presented by a variety of people all through the day. The subjects are and intriguing and the presenters are interesting.

The closing comment on Michael’s Facebook link for IDEAfest 2009 sums up the spirit when he says “At the end of the day we will get together and order Pizza and Beer.” Sounds to me like the beginning of a beautiful set of relationships.