Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation and its partners in Technology for Engagement attend TED2012

Feb. 28, 2012, 3:21 p.m., Posted by Knight Foundation

By Brett Hudson

My colleagues and I who are part of Knight’s Technology for Engagement Initiative are at the TED conference this week in Long Beach, Calif.  TED convenes some of the greatest minds around the globe to explore ways to foster a more informed, collaborative and innovative society.  

These goals are at the core of Knight’s Tech for Engagement Initiative, which funds digital technologies that inspire civic dialogue and collective community action. Leaders of several of our funded projects are participating in TED.

On Monday, Eric Gordon, who leads Community PlanIt, an online engagement platform for local planning efforts, led Knight’s TED Master Class called “3 Tools for Democracy in the Digital Age.” The class included a lively discussion with the TED Community on tools that place citizens at the center of decision-making in their communities.

Paula Ellis, vice president/strategic initiatives at Knight Foundation, who led the master class, reports:

"A first for me: retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor attends a small group discussion on how to use technology for engagement I led for Knight today at TED. Just bumped into her at dinner, where she said she learned a lot and gave thumbs up to presentation by Eric Gordon, an Emerson College professor who founded Community PlanIt and runs Engagement Labs. Day One of TED ends and the serendipity begins."

This morning, as part of a TED University session, Nancy Lublin, CEO of DoSomething.org gave a talk on the power of texting. Lublin’s talk focused on a plan to use technology to create a crisis text hotline for teens. Knight currently supports DoSomething.org, which is the largest teen organization for social change in the US.

Tomorrow, from 2:15-4:00 p.m. PST, Jen Pahlka, founder/executive director of Code for America, is a TED2012 speaker during a session called “The Crowd.” Knight currently supports Code for America’s efforts to make local, government data more accessible and actionable in several communities including Philadelphia, Detroit and Macon.

We are looking forward to participating and brainstorming alongside the TED community, to help explore new ways technology can support civic engagement.

By Brett Hudson, Nation Urban Fellow at Knight Foundation