Over at Mashable, Josh Catone has compiled a great list of the Top 7 Places to Watch Great Minds in Action. There’s TED, of course, which started on the West Coast but has blossomed into a truly global phenomenon. On the East Coast, there’s the highly-acclaimed Business Innovation Factory event in Rhode Island and PopTech! in Maine, as well as GEL (“Good Experience Live”) in New York City and ideaCity in Toronto. Big Think is a global online forum connecting people and innovative concepts. Finally, there’s the BIL Conference, which started on the West Coast as a mini “un-conference” for people who couldn’t get into TED, and now proudly announces that “there’s one every year wherever TED is being held.” So what exactly is BIL?
“BIL stands for “Breeding. Impromptu. Luminary.” [BIL] is an ad-hoc conference for big thinkers that’s held each year in whatever city is hosting TED. BIL originally began as a group of people planning to crash the TED conference in 2007 in Monterey, California (where TED was held back then), but as the group grew, they decided instead to hold their own unconference across the street.
BIL is a conference style more than it is a conference. Like Barcamp, anyone can organize and hold their own BIL conference. So BIL conferences are popping up all over the world as places “for passionate people to come together to energize, brainstorm, and take action.”
The whole “un-conference” concept is one to watch. Not sure there’s any proof for this, but I’m wondering if the naming of BIL was a clever reference to “BIL and TED’s Excellent Adventure”? If so, BIL looks like a most excellent adventure.
[video: Pop!Tech 2008 visualization]