Chris Anderson on How Web Video Powers Global Innovation

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"TED's Chris Anderson says the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation -- a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print. But to tap into its power, organizations will need to embrace radical openness."

Chris Anderson:

"Online video has gotten a bum rap. YouTube is often thought of as a home for juvenile idiocy, mindless narcissism and not much more. The collective 80 million hours we spend watching it every day seems to some like a terrible waste of human attention.

But if you dig under the surface, you can discover something much more hopeful. Hidden among all the cute kittens and pirated TV shows, online video is driving astonishing innovation in thousands of different fields ranging from the ultra-niche to the sharing of truly world-changing ideas.

In my TED talk, just posted, I point to numerous examples of this innovation, such as the dance revolution exemplified by a dance troupe called the LXD who played the Oscars this year. And I coin a term for it: crowd-accelerated innovation.

The term is new, but the process is old. Actually, this is pretty much the only type of innovation there has ever been. Contrary to the romantic myth, innovation doesn't suddenly emerge from lone geniuses and their eureka moments. It emerges when groups of people spark off each other. In history, progress took off when people came together in cities, and the scientific revolution took off when people around the world could read about each others' discoveries in print.

We're a social species. We spark off each other.

One of the most significant aspects of the Web is that it has connected vastly larger groups than ever before in history, and thereby sparked massive new types of innovation. For example, the open-source movement that created Linux and scores of other incredible pieces of software would not have been possible before the Web brought programmers together.

Similar explosions in innovation have happened in music, photography and animation, to name just three areas. But what these fields have in common is that people's work output could be easily shared digitally -- via still photographs, MP3 files, and software programs, for example. The reason online video is so significant is that it is now allowing the rest of the world's talents to be shared digitally. It's not just YouTube, of course, it's all over the Web." (