Thursday, 9 February 2012

This TEDx thing

For a review of TEDx that has a little more thought put into it, please see Karenia's blog. I really should fire my correspondent and hire Karenia.


Who is this TEDx guy and what is he trying to prove? Does he have any relation to Bushx? Anybody Want A Peanut sent a correspondent to find out more...

TEDxManitoba is an offshoot of the famous-in-some-circles TED Talks: a series of inspirational and insightful presentations by leaders in all walks of life with the common goal of sharing ideas. The "x" version was not a nude version of TED as I had hoped, but more of a small independent (and free) version. The quality of speakers, however, was still high. Almost all spoke with a passion and clarity that engaged the audience.

Grant Barkman, president of Decision Works, kicked things off with a presentation about utilizing visualization to help build consensus and lead to action. That works for this correspondent, because I'm big on visualization.

Linda Cureton, CIO of NASA (yes that NASA), spoke of finding the inner hero behind the mask. Perhaps we all can't be a Johnny Oduya, but we can all find strength that we didn't know we have, and make it work for us in some way. Perhaps this cherenkov character should come out from behind his mask, but then again I've seen him without his mask on and ... well ... let's move on ...

Getty Stewart started an organization called Fruit Share, and shared that story with us. I heard many positive comments about her story throughout the day. The little fruit idea that could really struck a chord with a lot of people. My thoughts will probably drift back to this presentation when I'm raking up 4 bushels of rotting crab apples in the fall.

David Zinger was a talented speaker, who on this day talked about bees. There were some analogies to human organization and behaviour, but at the end of it I wasn't quite sure what to take away from the talk, except that bees are remarkable little creatures.

Aisha Alfa
, whom you might know from WFPtv, also happens to be a comedian and motivational speaker. Here she spoke about not being afraid of failure, because without it you can't succeed. I tried to draw a picture of her in my notebook but I failed. But that's okay because failures, much like bees, are necessary.

Robert L. Peters used his time to tell us about a remarkable energy-efficient house that he built in the 70s. It's called Solace House. Looks like a nice place.

Wilma Derksen, mother of murdered teenager Candace Derksen, gave an inspirational talk about the challenges of going through what she went through. While her notion of polarity -- that you can't hold two things of equal value at the same time (in her case love or need for justice.) -- was true for her, I'm not sure it applies to everybody. A great talk though.

Robert J. Sawyer, award-winning science fiction writer, gave one of my favourite speeches "To live forever -- or die trying". We know what causes aging and death, and once we know the problem it is only a matter of time until we solve it. It's been happening all along ... the growth in the limit to a human life span has been accelerating and there's no reason why it shouldn't continue to do so. But is this good? He argues yes: longer lives will lead to better perspectives and greater focus on solving the great problems of the world, and will result in better stewardship of our resources.

Gem Newman, founder of Winnipeg Skeptics, gave a very colourful and theatrical presentation. I thought for moments that I was watching a Fringe festival play, but it was an engaging presentation about how science is unjustly beaten down and vilified. Bottom line: be curious about everything.

Matt Henderson is a creative teacher who told us about helping kids create their own knowledge. The general sentiment afterwards was "I wish Matt was my teacher back in high school."

Kale Bonham and Michael Champagne gave separate speeches but are both young Aboriginal Winnipeggers from the North End. Kale led an effort to create new banners for Selkirk Avenue and instill pride in the neighbourhood among the youth. Michael was an remarkable young man who started Aboriginal Youth Opportunities, and talked about turning oppression into opportunity. That's awesome, because I think it's the perceived total lack of opportunity that causes many kids to end up in gangs and crime. I wish him well.

TJ Dawe, in his black shoes, black jeans, and black t-shirt, moved very little during his talk about collective intelligence, but he did speak very well. It was about how dualistic thinking (right/wrong, etc) is programmed into us, but gets in the way of true intellectual progress which requires compromise and seeing things from another's perspective.

Hazel Borys spoke about walkable neighbourhoods, giving specific examples from her own area in Crescentwood. Her presentation should be required viewing for everybody at city hall. An interesting stat that she brought up was that mixed use development generates something like $225,000 in property tax revenue per acre, whereas big box stores generate something more in the range of $5000 per acre.

Lastly, Brad Tyler-West is a dynamic and amusing speaker who talked about "changing your story". I have to be honest ... I was kind of burning out by this point, but it seemed to touch on some of the same things that TJ Dawe talked about in terms of expanding your range of thinking. It's a bit of a blur to me now. Sounded good at the time though.

Overall it was a pretty good way to spend the day. The emcees and entertainers were excellent, as were the snacks during the break. This was year 2 for TEDxManitoba, and it will almost certainly be back again next year. Certainly worth looking into doing if you can get the day off. I will be lobbying for a nude version: TEDxxx

See also: Melissa Martin

1 comment:

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