TEDster Eric Kuhne, owner of CivicArts in London, a design and architecture firm involved in major projects around the world, describes a project for a "City of Silk" in Kuwait -- a new city that would house 700'000 people and including a 1001 meters tower. Another TEDster, Steve Nelson of ClearInk, shows the TED venue that was recreated in the synthetic world SecondLife (if you're a secondlifer, here is the SLURL).
Katherine Fulton, president of the strategy consultancy Monitor Institute, talks about "the new philanthropy". Philanthropy is being taken over by a new spirit of creativity and passion. The current philanthropic system is fragmented, frustrating for givers and recipients alike, and no longer attuned to the challenges of the present time. Philanthropy needs to become open, big, fast, connected and geared for the long term.
This is a moment in history when the average person has more power than ever. Five categories of experiences that challenge the traditional assumptions of philanthropy.
- Mass collaboration (ex: Wikipedia; WIserEarth, the Open Architecture Network launched here at TED on Thursday, etc)
- Online philanthropy marketplaces (GiveIndia, Kiva, DonorsChoose, GlobalGiving, etc)
- Aggregate giving (Warren Buffet giving his money to the Gates Foundation instead of going the traditional way that every giver should have his/her own foundation: see this previous post on the "first global philanthropic superpower")
- Innovation competitions (X-Prize; Earth Challenge: betting that a contest can attract talent and money to some of the most difficult challenges, and speed up the solution)
- Social investing (Xigi.net: tackles the artificial separation between business and philanthropy)
There are other categories (starting with the Clinton Global Initiative and the TEDprize). Not only philanthropy is reorganizing itself, but also other sectors: business is reorganizing itself. There is a new moral hunger that is growing. We don't have the words to describe this development. "Philanthrocapitalism", "venture philanthropy", "blended value", "natural capitalism", etc are the concepts flying around. She suggests "social singularity", borrowed from the idea of technological singularity where a number of trends follow a path of exponential growth and converge. It may be that social singularity may be something that we fear -- epidemics and migrations and climate change etc all coming together. Because our ability to confront the problems that we face has not kept pace with our ability to create them. Is there a positive, desirable social singularity? Yes, there are seeds of it all around us. What if the philanthropic innovations can combine with each other (and other forces of good) to become catalytic and create lasting breakthroughs to respond to challenges? What if we could really do big and bigger things for love? (She refers here to a quote by Clay Shirky that goes something like this: we used to do small things for love and big things for money; now we are at a time when big things are also done for love).
After a comedic interlude by Rives and Ben Dunlap's storytelling performance (he's the president of Wofford College in South Carolina), the indescribably funny Tom Rielly is tasked (like every year at TED) with the closing wrap-up satire. With his deadpan style, using props and wordplays, Tom leads the audience back through the week and across a half-hour of pure, unadulterated, happy laughter:
Standing ovation. TED2007's over. TED2008 will take place February 28 - March 1 in Monterey.