Still, I was surprised that Chris Anderson, the genius behind TED and TED's "Curator" who has built TED into a global media content phenomenon, asked that I introduce him to receive the Edison Achievement Award for 2012.
The Award is a big deal. It "recognizes distinguished business executives who have made a significant and lasting contribution to innovation through their careers" and past recipients include A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble; Ted Turner of Time Warner, J. Willard Marriott, Jr of Marriott International; John Hendricks of Discovery Communications; David Kelley of IDEO...folks like that.
Chris is a fascinating choice not only because he is himself an innovator, but his innovative leadership of TED has grown it into a speedway for inspiration of people all over the world, each with his or her own potential to become an innovator. To become, in fact, the next Edison.
And why not? As Chris says, "throughout history, the vast majority of humans have not been the people they could have been...because they were without the knowledge and inspiration that could unlock their ability." TED and all its offshoots of TED Global, TED Translations, TED Fellows, TEDx, and now TED Ed, fit together in furtherance of the goal to give access to everyone, everywhere to the kind of learning and great ideas that can inspire them to their own greatness.
In preparing my introductory remarks, I've been talking with folks who work with Chris, and studied materials on Edison, on the Edison Achievement Award history, and of course, on TED itself. Now I'm in even greater awe of Chris and the way in which he has pursued his vision of making the world "smarter, wiser, more beautiful."
Wish me luck in doing justice to this man from whom we can continue to expect amazing things. He's just gotten started.