TED: The Young, The Wise, The Undiscovered

TED600x230bI had an opportunity over the past 6 months to work with a local event company out of North Vancouver, Procreation Design Works Inc., who manages and produces the operations and logistics for TED and their annual conferences.

Although TED has grown and transformed into one of the most anticipated conferences of our modern day history, I have found that many are still not aware of the organization and it’s achievements. First, when I refer to TED, it is not a person, nor is it the bear from the movie.  TED, as it is described at TED.com is:

…a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference on the West Coast each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

With TED’s recent announcement to move the conference to Vancouver/Whistler next year for it’s 30th anniversary, our local community will soon see first-hand the capacity and calibre of this event.

The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered was the theme for the 2013 TED Conference held in Long Beach and TEDActive Conference in Palm Springs.  It featured over 60 world-class speakers including new and undiscovered voices along side some of the wisest from the TED community.

If you have never watched a TED Talk before, I encourage you to take 18 minutes and get intimate with at least one speaker.  You will feel enlightened, empowered, regenerated and inspired.  Usually, you’re enticed to watch more.  Talks range from 3-minute mini sessions to 20-minute full length sessions; specifically designed to address key points without boring the audience in length.

So whom would I recommend you watch?  This year was full of incredible choices and has compounded to the over 1000 talks shared on TED.com.  Perhaps start off with a local Canadian?  From Penticton, BC, Shane Koyczan, shared his spoken-word poem addressing bullying.  You might recognize his style and voice from the 2010 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies spoken-word poem “We Are More.”

Amanda Palmer and Sugata Mitra have strong parallels with their underlying message, even though their topics were not at all connected.  One spoke to the experiences in music and art, the other on education, but both concluded that it’s no longer how we “make” people buy music or learn, it’s how we “let” them.   They noted the need to dismantle fear and threats from our interactions so that developments can happen naturally, with trust and encouragement.  By also including the simple act of “asking” (a question or for help), the results can be quite overwhelmingly positive.

Dan Pallotta gives a powerful speech on social innovation and the need to change the way we want to change the world.  He believes the way we think about charity is dead wrong and that we work from a rule book that discriminates against non-profits from making necessary profits.

Lastly, I would be amiss if I didn’t feature one of my great idols, Bono.  He spoke to the progress made on poverty and how we need to continue to demand for transparency as it is the vaccination for greed.  Working together, the power of people is so much stronger than the people in power.

 Find more talks at TED.com/talks

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