Earlier this year, I was honored to deliver the closing talk at Italy’s largest TEDx event. My goal was to show that when used purposefully, technology can speed up our creativity, innovation and impact in the world.
But rather than just talking about it on stage, I wanted to show the audience how it can be done.
So, for 4 months leading up to the talk, I secretly worked with more than 80 people from 40 countries around the world—from Jordan to Macedonia, Venezuela to Japan.
We worked together, using technology to bridge the geographical chasms, and created a music video to a song I wrote last year called ‘There Is Still Time’, inspired by my experiences living in the South American rainforest, after I had sold everything I owned to embark on a global quest to inspire the world.
The video was a remarkable project to watch unfold—with musicians and artists filming themselves in front of mountains, castles, rivers and ruins.
We even transported a grand piano at sunrise to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado for my part in the video, showcasing the remarkable rock formations with snow capped mountains off in the distance.
Once we had all the footage, we pulled it together and used a split screen to show all the contributors.
During my talk, we projected that on the big screen while I performed the song live on stage with a grand piano. (Watch the music video below…)
The beautiful thing about all of this is that every person who participated in the video was a stranger I met through digital technology. We had never met in person and before this project, we didn’t know each other even existed.
That’s the power of technology to bring people together, and to magnify our creativity and the impact we can make in the world.
Here are 3 things I learned that can help you use technology to make a greater impact in the world:
1. Know why you’re using the technology: Often, when new technologies like social media enter our lives, we forget why we are using them, and they can often end up making us feel more connected— yet more disconnected — than ever before. Understanding the purpose behind why you are using different technologies and social platforms allows you to be more deliberate in your actions and ensure they are adding to your life instead of simply filling a void that would be better healed personally.
2. Be curious about how you could make a greater impact: Technology is a magnifier. I often wonder how long a video such as this would have taken to put together without the use of technology… My conclusion each time is that it probably would have taken years if not decades. We were able to pull it off in just 4 months.
Once you know why you’re using a specific type of technology, be curious about how you could use it to make an impact in the world. The type of language you use here will determine whether you are opening yourself up to new possibilities or closing down with doubt. Start with ‘I wonder…’ and asking empowering questions like ‘how can I use this to make an even greater impact?’ Asking ‘how’ questions presupposes it can be done, and gets your mind looking for positive solutions rather than seeking out negative barriers.
3. Deepen your connection by taking it from text to talk: Using social media, texting, and email to communicate can allow you to build new connections, while saving time both personally and professionally, but it can also reduce the depth of conversation that is vital for turning shallow connections into real relationships. Face to face is critical. I’m all for building connections online, but take it offline and have a longer conversation; that could be a phone call, a video call, an in-person meeting, anything that allows you to deepen your relationships… it’s in the deepening of your relationships that genuine trust is formed.
Putting these three principles into action have really helped me personally in being more deliberate about the technology (including social media) that I’m using. They help to magnify the positive difference I’m making and deepen the friendships and professional relationships that I have in the world… Implement them into your own life and I’d love to hear how they help you as well.
Cameron Brown is an international speaker, storyteller, and founder of The Thriving Collective. He speaks to audiences across the globe on how to thrive in an ever changing world, delivering multi-sensory experiences on stage that include a blend of education, live music, video and new technology.
(WATCH the inspiring video below…)
SHARE with the World, and Start Your Own Technology Project…