From late 2008 through 2011, Leyden founded and ran Next Agenda, a new media startup that specialized in pushing the innovative edge of web video to find new ways to help solve complex challenges.
We formed the company to help solve a problem that seemed to stand in the way of accelerating and scaling up large-scale reinvention at that time. How could you combine the complex collaboration that comes in face-to-face gatherings with large-scale collaboration that comes online? The key to us seemed to be to connect those two worlds, the online and the offline, through video.
We developed a variety of techniques to drop versatile video journalists into conferences or meetings and capture the what happened in a comprehensive yet cost-effective way. We would cover the program with multiple cameras, conduct large numbers of side interviews, and eventually edit all that material, plus mini-documentaries and short pieces that acted like movie trailers. We would then quickly get all that material on the web so that people who could not attend the physical meeting could understand what took place and then be able to build off it.
Despite our efforts to drive down the costs, coverage of that complexity could not get cheap enough to scale into widespread use. We focused on working with clients who had the resources for this kind of complex coverage, such as George Soros and the think tank he founded in 2009, the Institute for New Economic Thinking. We worked on some amazing projects like that and learned a lot.
Remember, our efforts at Next Agenda were before interactive group video arrived. This new medium now allows face-to-face work by groups over the web for virtually no cost. This complex collaboration starts on the web and so can quickly connect to the other web collaboration that scales up large numbers of participants. It’s a whole new game out there now, and Leyden’s next project, Reinventors, aims to take advantage of it.
You can see some of the kinds of video pieces we did at Next Agenda in the subsections to the side: side interviews, standup on-camera work, and documentary pieces. Below you can see some of the best pieces we did too. Click on the video’s title below the image to view in a larger window on this page.