My day at TEDxGranta has now had time to sink in properly. Lots of food for thought on so many levels, as highlighted by Cambridge Network. It was a very different kind of conference. There was something about it that felt a tiny bit indulgent. Maybe it was the long ‘conversation breaks’ or, more likely, the fact that the content wasn’t focused on a single issue or sector. But that’s just what made it so interesting. These days we are all so focused on value for money in the context of events and conferences that we tend to stick to what we know. TEDxGranta was a chance – an excuse perhaps – to think about different stuff and meet different people. Each talk tapped into an issue that touches all our lives one way or another. It was a fascinating mix of content drawn from TED Women in Washington (streamed content) and ‘local’ speakers.
As I said in last week’s post, TED just makes you want to share. It epitomises the ’social brand’. So, in that spirit of sharing, here are the talks that struck a chord for me and why:
Hans Rosling – the BEST way to start the day. He’s a statistician with a twist as he has an uncanny ability to bring global issues into the living room – or in this instance, the laundry room. This talk is about world poverty – a brilliant, graphic illustration of life ‘below the washing line’ i.e. life for all the millions who can’t afford a washing machine.
Liza Donnelly – talented, funny, meaningful cartoonist – brilliant talk! And how right she is when says “Women have amazing antennae.”
Tony Porter - loved his portrayal of “The Man Box” and how society defines what it is to be a man – and a woman for that matter. He took us from laughter to hard-to-contain horror in 18 very compelling minutes.
LOCAL/CAMBRIDGE (UK) SPEAKERS (sorry – couldn’t find videos of the talks online but I’ll add them if I do)
Julie Barnes got us all thinking about the fragility of our health and how important it is to play a role in the work to find cures and strategies for preventing serious/terminal illness. ”Health is an enigma – we never know when it’ll fail.”
Donna Lynas – I am ashamed to say, I had no idea how big Wysing Arts was or how much fascinating work they do there. Fantastic stories of engaging communities in ground-breaking projects e.g. the world’s first walking house – designed and built by/with travellers and the (totally) recycled building, created at absolutely NO cost. It’ll be interesting to see how far their community engagement evolves as social media does away with the boundaries of location. Virtual engagement in art…boundless opportunity.
Sarah Outen captured the auditorium with the story behind her epic row – solo – across the Indian Ocean. A passionate story delivered with honesty. And barefoot! Sarah took inspiration from Andre Gide who said “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has courage to lose sight of the shore.” A quote that must surely resonate for all of us when faced with risk.
Ian Price’s talk about the ‘cult of busyness’ that pervades our lives, thanks to mobile technologies, was followed by Renny Gleeson’s, featuring some very funny photos to illustrate how mobile communication prevails over human interaction when it shouldn’t.
If you are ever guilty of being more responsive to technology than the person you are meant to be talking to, take 3 minutes out to watch this. It closes with this plea: ”Please let’s make technology that makes us MORE human, not less.” Here here.
One last thing… in Johanna Blakley’s streamed talk, her point about women driving the social media revolution interested me. I’m not sure what stats Johanna was basing her assertion on but when I last looked at social media usage by gender, the split was pretty much 50:50. Of course adoption and usage are just one aspect of this debate. The revolution will be driven by the innovators. So what do you reckon? Will it be men or women that will steer our course online in the future? Does it matter?
PS if you want the team to repeat/develop TEDxGranta, get following, tweeting, blogging and evangelising about TEDxGranta in any way that takes your fancy. @HilaryGoldsmith @VandyMassey @Sookio (Sue Keogh) @camassey (Chris Massey) and @JoRichesltd