TEDx Transmedia 2010 – DARE to WONDER


16 dares in 8 hours!

That’s a tall order for any thrill-seeker but then Nicoletta Iacobacci isn’t your ordinary gal.

Inspired by the ‘one-step-back’ theme of this promo video the idea, concept and theme of the first TEDx Transmedia was born. The step-back of the model on the brink of losing her bathrobe to an expectant art class, the auditioning dancer, the child unsure of the ocean rushing in to meet her – comes across on first view as that moment of being overwhelmed, overpowered, a disabling fear and uncertainty.

But on retrospect perhaps those moments of consideration, of rationalisation, exist for reasons of strategy. As Online Community Manager for TEDx Transmedia I know that there were moments, even 24 hours prior to the event, that uncertainty danced like an unruly DARE in the backrow, but as a speaker (albeit a 5-minute one as opposed to a 25 minute one) I know that the challenge to dare was a thrill in itself.  It was to DARE the attendees, but also to DARE ourselves.

Nicoletta, visionary of TEDx Transmedia, dared us all – attendees, speakers, her team members and ultimately EBU to DARE to DARE.   Frederic Kaplan dared us to ENVISION a future that embraces interactive, responsive gadgetry. David Rowan dared us to INFORM – highlighting the shocking numbers of journalists who have lost their lives because of daring to maintain their voice, refusing to be silenced in the face of political and territorial threat. I dared delegates to LIVE – suggesting that we can control what we lose control of (in terms of content) and allow our content to live transmedially, over platforms and timelines.  Ian Ginn dared us to EDUCATE – to enable our ‘misfits’ in the hope of a more creative transmedia landscape. Tim Ferris’ video sent a series of subliminal messages daring us to LEARN as he talked us through his triumphs over adversity.  His video was inspiring, entertaining and fitting and whilst not completely rooted in transmedia as we know or understand it, clearly reflected the ’embrace something new’ challenge of the day. Stephen Dinehart stood true to his challenge of dare to ENGAGE, and boy, that’s what he did with his passionate and eloquent recital of the importance of narrative and story and it’s ability to uplift and give hope. PhD Christy Dena challenged us to dare to DESIGN with another thought-provoking slant which reiterated Dinehart’s quoting of Wagner.

Christopher Sandberg inspired everybody to dare to MAKE, showcasing The Company P’s crowdsourced projects such as The Truth About Marika, amongst other case-studies.  Caroline Phillips surprised with her dare to HURDY-GURDY, accompanied by a well timed and slickly choreographed video clip of her guitar-playing partner.   Sietse Bakker dared us to PROVOKE, Simon Harrop dared us to SENSE and comedian Maz Jobrani dared us to LAUGH with his video about the complications of being an Iranian American (interstitial perhaps? very transmedia!)  Former Six-to-Start founder, now Wieden+Kennedy creative, Dan Hon dared us to PLAY, with examples of hidden discoveries of  2001 movie A.I’s ‘Jeanine Salla’, then echoing and building on Christy’s perspectives on gamification, followed by a to-the-point list of what ISN’T fun, and therefore NOT play.  Jeff Gomez closed the day with a recount of his turbulent childhood and how strong characters, engaging story and immersive experiences have the power to last a lifetime – to uplift and resonate – with his inspiring challenge of dare to CHANGE.

TEDx Transmedia was a transmedia conference that is very much bigger than the sum of its parts and a true transmedia conference in terms of content and rollout.

Comprising a non-linear narrative of personal stories told from 1st person pov on stage, ‘cheeseholes’ to be filled by discussion in the bar afterwards, and here in the digital realm a week later, a sequence of varied entry points in terms of insights into transmedia, along with a few “rabbit holes” and “back doors”, you might want to call me ‘alison wonderland’ (!) but I’m getting a whiff of Lewis Carroll here.

To try to overly define the vibe, the experience of transmedia, really does become ‘curiouser and curiouser’ as some marketers still see it one-dimensionally as a slick way to grab the eyeballs.  I didn’t see any white rabbits, but to take TEDx Transmedia up on its DARES – to EDUCATE and INFORM, to PROVOKE and ENVISION, to ENGAGE and DESIGN will help keep the Dodo’s extinct, along with the dinosaurs that continue to fail to see the value in extending story over platforms, territories and timelines.

TEDx Transmedia has inspired a small transmedia collective to form DARE to COLLABORATE, comprising a team of creative brains from UK, San Francisco, Finland and Paris that are currently working towards something special (more on this later – but V exciting)!

I’ve jokingly dubbed TEDx Transmedia a ‘microwave’ conference – a short intense burst that has shaken the atoms, inspired movement and created some heat, and it seems we’re still cooling down.   TEDx Transmedia itself is an IP, a franchise which will, with Ms Iacobacci at the helm, extend over multiple platforms and timelines for a long time to come.

Further blogs discussing TEDx Transmedia can be found at