Turning conferences into conversations

Interesting article in Fast Company about how TED's originator,

Richard Saul Wurman, is looking to start up a new form of conference, the WWW.WWW conference. This conference will be, according to its Web site, informal conversations between smart people in front of a small audience, which then will be disseminated to the world at large via some sort of app. Calling it conversational jazz, it's described as "Simply pairings of amazingly interesting individuals prompted by a question, generating a conversation. For 10 minutes to 50 minutes. And so it will go – conversations interlaced with threads of improvised music. An astrophysicist & a microbiologist. An actor & a playwright. A jazz musician & a classical one. An energetic exploration of the lost art of conversing." The plan is to also capture the conversations that happen during breaks and share those as well via the app.

Everything old is new again, it would seem. Doesn't this sound like the old salon concept, tweaked for our age? I like the idea, especially that the—what would call them? Not speakers. Conversationalists?—wouldn't know the topic ahead of time, and that they may not have much common ground, though it does sound like the plan is to have the pairs operating from the same side of the brain, at any rate. It could be fascinating. It could be a train wreck. But it will definitely be interesting!

(Thanks again to MeCo for the pointer.)

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