Tuesdays with TED: July Edition

Open-source government, data visualization, and why mayors rule

Tuesdays with TED, a new feature on the ClearBlog, showcases three TED Talks we think may be of interest to our friends in the public sector. Owned by a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation, the TED organization is on a mission to spread great ideas (insert sound of water drop creating glorious ripple effect here). 

TED is currently in its 35th year and, to date, they’ve hosted more than 2500 talks. That means if you were to binge watch TED for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would take you two months and an unfathomable amount of popcorn to get through them all. 

The topics are wide ranging, the perspectives enlightening, and the ideas are almost always universally relevant — and impossibly entertaining. So many great ideas, so little time. Where to begin …

One Tuesday a month (starting today), the ClearBlog team will curate a small, digestible sampling of talks that we think are especially relevant to local governments. Ranging in length from 14-18 minutes on average, we hope these short, powerful videos provide the perfect break in your day and the inspiration you need to drive productive change in your community — and beyond.

Let’s kick things off with three oldies but goodies: 

Watch: Demand a more open-source government

Open government expert Beth Noveck says, “simply throwing data over the transom doesn’t change how government works.” Find out how governments that combine participation and collaboration with transparency are effectively channeling the flow of values and expertise to and from citizens to make better decisions that benefit everyone.

Watch: The beauty of data visualization 

Here, data journalist David McCanless explores the power of data to change perspective — and ultimately behavior. He argues that absolute figures in a connected world are not as true as they could be. To see the full picture, you need to connect relative figures to other data — you need context.

Watch: Why mayors should rule the world 

In this 2013 talk, political theorist Benjamin Barber makes a compelling case that the road to global democracy runs through cities. Why? Cities are “profoundly multicultural, open, participatory, democratic, and able to work with one another.” Mayors are pragmatists and problem-solvers. In short, they get things done.