TED have released a few conference talks that are of interest to the arts and cultural sector. In this 20 minute deceptively casual talk, Charles Leadbeater weaves a tight argument that innovation isn’t just for professionals anymore. Passionate amateurs, using new tools, are creating products and paradigms that companies can’t. He describes the rising role of serious amateurs (“Pro-Ams,” as he calls them) through the story of the mountain bike.
Leadbeater suggests that our traditional view of how innovations enter the market – special people in special places creating things that are pushed down the pipeline to passive and waiting consumers – is no longer true. Rather, the traditional, corporate approach to creativity and innovation is decreasingly able to develop radical innovation, and spends much of its time stifling the innovation of talented and networked amateurs (bloggers, software developers, user groups, and such). While Leadbeater isn’t talking specifically about professional nonprofit cultural organizations, he might as well be.
This article was first published on Hannah Rudman’s blog 3rd May 2007.