By Katz Kiely (Event Curator, ITU TELECOM WORLD 2011)
Telecom World is 40 years old this year. In February, I was invited to work with the ITU to shake it up and breathe fresh life into the old dame.

I accepted the gauntlet: how to start moving away from the traditional yet-another-talking-shop conference and start to re-position this influential global gathering as something more inspirational, more action based, more 21st Century.

Over the last 12 years, I have experimented with non-traditional formats. I have tried to figure out how essentially 18th Century, formal/ top down/ one-to-many/ sales-pitch laden formats can be transformed to curated participatory/ bottom up/ engaging experiences with a purpose. How can conferences be more than the sum of the individual delegates?

Now, Rome wasn’t built in a day, Telecom won’t be totally transformed in this first year, and I can’t pretend this journey towards change has not been without challenge. The UN is, like most big organisations, resistant to change and not known as the world’s biggest risk-taker.

That said, we have managed to take some massive strides in a very short time, and there will be some key changes in Telecom in this evolutionary year.

ITU’s mission is to Connect the World. This year, Telecom World will start to become a physical manifestation of this mission. As always, influential private and public sector players will congregate in Geneva in October to make sure the right frameworks are in place to connect the world. But this years’ event has already started online and will extend way beyond the venue walls. It will provide a platform for a global dynamic debate that will invite diverse stakeholders from across the world to share their views and experiences, build consensus and design solutions to real world challenges.

A live stream will invite people across the world to interact with the forum sessions. A collaboration with means that people in even the most remote corners of the world will be invited to get involved. A ground-breaking educational outreach project will invite tens of thousands of children to get involved from schools across the globe.

We have consciously made sure that there is a relatively high percentage of women on the programme — which in itself is pretty revolutionary for these kinds of gatherings.

Power players and change-makers including Juliana Rotich (Executive Director, Ushahidi) Margaret Chan (DG, World Health Organisation) and Gabrielle Gauthey (Senior VP, Public Affairs, Alcatel-Lucent) will join the high level programme here.

There are a number of ways of getting involved in the conversation before the event:

  • Do you have a video on YouTube showing the transformational power of broadband? Would you like us to share it? Click here.
  • You a geeky entrepreneur? Upload a seed idea showing how available technology can be connected in innovative ways to solve global challenges.
  • 250 of the world’s most influential policy and industry leaders will gather at the Broadband Leadership Summit. Do you have a question you’d like them to discuss? Ask a question

The event will culminate in a co-created Manifesto for Change: a user-generated document packed with concise action-based recommendations to replace the traditional no-one-will-ever-use-it report.

Come along in person if you can, there will be some amazing people to meet. If not, watch the stream and get involved that way.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
About the guest blogger: Katz Kiely is an entrepreneur, a super producer, a catalyst, a creative, a curator and a doer. She makes multi-platform multi- stakeholder projects happen with the minimum amount of pain. Using social media technologies and platforms, they usually involve some element of inspirational face to face-ness She is the brains behind the b.TWEEN phenomenon, UKs first cross-sector market place. Beyond b.TWEEN she sings, art directs, writes screenplays, designs installations and curates international multiplatform festivals.