Introducing the TEDActive Projects: Mobility

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TEDActive 2011 is well underway, and the open-source nature of the conference is already inspiring collaboration and the exchange of ideas. This year, TEDActive launched a new initiative: TEDActive Projects, shared opportunities to come up with creative "microactions," or easy things we can do to begin to address key issues in our world at TEDActive and beyond. We chose the following themes to focus on in our inaugural year: education, mobility, social networks, sustainability and travel. For the next four days, we will share guest blog posts from TEDActive project participants to give insight into how these collaborations are unfolding.

Today's post is from Jerri Chou, the co-founder of All Day Buffet, the Feast Social Innovation Conference and TBD. She is also the head strategist at Lovely Day, where she works to make innovative social solutions the new standard for "business as usual."


It's that time of year. The TED and TEDActive conferences are in full swing and innovators, creators and thinkers from around the world are coming together to connect and be inspired.

But while it's easy to be moved sitting next to people who have traveled to the moon, beat every hand in poker or changed the face of investment for the poor, it's all the more critical to get these amazing individuals to help turn that inspiration into action.

That's why I'm honored to be helping with the TEDActive Projects. The goal of these projects is to get all the brilliant minds here to tackle some of the world's grandest challenges. I'm focused on the mobility project, which seeks to answer the question: How do we make the world smaller and more accessible?

The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind of insight, probing, questions and opportunity. We kicked off with an amazing brainstorm among the group leaders for the project. The experts in our group include everyone from my amazing facilitation partner Luis Cilimingras, who brings years of automotive experience to the table, to Internet protocol specialists, mobile innovators and leaders in futures and trends research.

The result so far has been deeper exploration into what mobility is all about, including:

• Questioning the very definition of mobility and the value of our commonly held understanding of efficiency between point A and B. This then led to a look at the actual quality of experience in getting (or getting to) the place or thing in question, which often hinges on human interactions and social community.

• How mobile connectivity and transfer of information is a massive driver for new opportunities for mobility to make the world smaller or, as one of our members put it so well, "make us bigger." For example, think about how basic things we travel to get to or to accomplish every day, like education, work, or even currency, could be made mobile, and have been with new technology and developments.

• The beautiful concept of making more "small worlds" and the benefits of self-sustaining communities and urban planning that fulfills human needs for interaction and resources, whether a designed community or just a great museum that has everything needed to enjoy an afternoon.

• Getting back to the basics, we also asked some questions about what the human needs are around mobility. What drives people to feel like they need to travel or to move, and what does it mean to be "close"?

These ideas were put out to the TEDActive community in the form of two questions that I'd like to now put out to the wider community: How might we use mobile to facilitate social to make the world more local, and what are the basic human needs around mobility?

These questions have been, and will continue to be, investigated throughout the rest of the conference. The result has already been some amazing dialogue, debate and three-diminutional formulas on what mobility means to us as humans and what action we can all take to translate this into a better quality of life.

I encourage you to join and follow the conversation at #TEDActiveMob.