Last Thursday September 15th, I attended the TEDx conference in Winnipeg at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
At the conference I heard 8 18 minute presentations conducted by people with innovative and forward thinking ideas. I think this was a wonderful opportunity as an aspiring journalists to hear from people with some big ideas.
In case you do not know what a TED talk is here is the definition from their website:
"TED 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 in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize."
Basically, a TED talk is a presentation, about 20 minutes in length, where someone who is passionate and knowledgeable on a topic shares their ideas. The conference in Winnipeg was a TEDx program, which means the event was independently organized, but used the TED format and name.
TED publishes their talks online for all to see here: http://www.ted.com/talks I highly highly recommend you check it out.
Wade Barnes, the CEO of Farmers Edge, talked about how the population of the world was rapidly increasing and the fact that a higher quality and greater volume of food was needed from the same amount of land for an exponentially greater amount of people. He proposed that grain should be grown in Russia, which it currently isn't, as they have a significant amount more rich top soil than the fertile prairies.
Megan Prydun, a masters student at the University of Winnipeg, shared her experiences with new immigrants to Winnipeg. She shared her stories of four young men she met from Sudan who had escaped the war of their home country to come to Canada and the struggles they face with gangs, violence, and using drugs and alcohol to numb their trauma. She asked us if we should let people come from war torn countries, so only die on the street of Canada, and what we as a society should do about this issue.
Jim Kor was one of my favourite presenters. Kor and his team designed the world's greenest car. Kor took us through the evolutions of the design of the car called Urbee. The most incredible part was that the actual car was unveiled for the first time at the conference to attendees and Kor. Kor had never seen the life size model, which was printed from what only seems like something that exists in Star Trek, and 3D printer. Basically all the measurements of the car are entered into the 3D computer and the car is printed instead of manufactured.
Meghan Athavale, President of PO-MO Inc., showed her free downloadable software at www.po-mo.com which helps children learn. She showed us a program which projects light on to the floor or any flat surface that has motion sensors and can be interacted with. For example, a bunch of spiders were displayed in one program, and when one walked on them they would move and interact.
Another one of my favorites was Donna Morton, CEO and co-founder of First Power. She shared her idea that we live in a world and economy that has been built and maintained principally by men. Stemming from insights from recent brain science, social innovation and personal experience she showed women's potential to re-shape economics in the world. She showed incredible women working around the world to help empower other women. She told one story where a non-profit was paying women to go to school and trained them in exquisite embroidery to earn money.
I think that these types of conferences with big ideas are really important for journalists to participate in. I think this type of idea sharing can open the mind and make us ask questions we would have never thought of asking before.
There will also be a TEDx Winnipeg app launching soon where all the talks I experienced will be in case you missed out.