Possibilism and the Power of TEDx

Originally written for the TEDx Blog:

TED is an epicenter of the extraordinary and TEDx is one of many examples why.  This is how organizing a TEDx changed my life.  This is the power of ideas worth spreading.

To quote Hans Rosling, “I am a possibilist.”  Endless innovations are possible.  I am inspired by the notion that great discoveries coalesce from within a dense matrix of curiosity, collaboration, determination and inspiration.

TED brings fourth the subtle intricacies of an individual.  The details of one’s passion and the content that harmonizes with wonder are fascinating to explore, both in one’s self and in others.

A leaping sense of curiosity emerges when life is enhanced by TED-like content.  One remembers to regularly experience ‘Wow!’  Prolonged exposure to TED results in a deep and peculiar effect:  curiosity evolves.

Ideas worth spreading feed back into their recipient and yield an amended manner of thought.  Open, innocent explorations of our beautiful universe and its inhabitants become a regular aspect of life and business.  ‘TEDster’ is a 21st century character attribute of the purveyors of tomorrow’s next big ideas.

This revolution of interaction may help explain why thousands of people around the world spend tens of thousands of hours helping each other put together TEDx events.  Themes like Play BigMind Wide OpenRelentless Curiosity, and Perspectives on Innovation echo the TED brand (see Rediscovery of Wonder) while leaving room for independent expression.

Fellow TEDx hosts are, in my opinion and much like TED itself, legendary in the degree to which they determinedly create a medium for the spread of curiosity and inspiration.  The TEDx network is basically a propagation of TED; a secondary support structure for the dissemination of ideas.  TEDx organizers provide one another with resources, answers, optimism, suggestions, and instant friendships strengthened by a commonality that transcends traditional boundaries.  Whether local (the teams atTEDxAtlanta and TEDxNashville are both friends and mentors) or at a distance (fromTEDxDubai to TEDxMidAtlantic toTEDxLondon) it has been my delightful experience that TEDx organizers diligently uphold TED’s virtue and purpose, together learning from setbacks and sharing successes.

Over the many months involved in planning a TEDx event, its organizer repeatedly explains his or her interpretation of the philosophy of TED and the ideas that underlie TEDx.  This perpetual redescription of ideas worth spreading helps clarify why and how we volunteer to take the idea of TED and turn it into action as TEDx.

TED changes lives by encouraging participants to explore their own.

At TEDGlobal 2010, Matt Ridley aptly shared his concept of ideas having sex:  ideas must be shared if we wish them to evolve “beyond the capacity of the [single] human mind” and reach their full innovative potential.  TED might then be an idea orgy because it exceeds explanation and seems to evolve faster than we can describe it.   It has shared its genes through TEDx and catalyzed a passionate global network of people who have thought in depth and at length about answering the question “What is TED?”   More than an organization, beyond conferences, far surpassing even the phenomenal TEDtalks.. TED is Ideas worth spreading, questions worth asking, curiosity worth pursuing, work worth doing; it represents man achieving his best and then exceeding it.

TED and TEDx events reflect the caliber ambition of creating opportunities from obstacles and thus making life TED-like and an epicenter of wonder.  There are endless discoveries to be made when we look at existing knowledge, ideas, and opinions in a new way.  So said the possibilist.

Human beings are beautiful things when reminded to thrive.   I shared this thought inspired by TEDx with Chris Anderson, who answered that TEDx hosts = heroes.  While I may be no hero, the hundreds of other TEDx hosts around the world certainly are.  And I know few so deserving of my gratitude than they who graciously share ideas worth spreading.   To TED, TEDx organizers, TED and TEDx supporters and attendees:  I sincerely appreciate the opportunity through TEDx to help others share inspiration in pursuit of innovation.

TEDxHuntsville 2012 Presenters

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Share your TEDx experience

I shared the below passage with the TEDx, organizer network on 11/14/2010.  Now I spread my appreciation to the global community of TEDx-ers and invite you to share your thoughts about attending a TEDx.  What surprised you?  What ideas meant the most?  What was your favorite part?   Did you meet other interesting TEDx attendees?  If you had to describe your TEDx experience in one word, what would it be?

(mine is marvelous)

***

Few things compare to hosting your first TEDx..

TEDxHuntsville was a week ago and I’m still beaming.  To the extent
that I am compelled to share this extraordinary excitement with you,
fellow TEDx-ers.  Isn’t it marvelous?!!

The feeling you get when you walk on stage and see a room full of
people waiting in anticipation of “TEDx”, not knowing what to expect..
(I was probably as nervous as they were).

Queuing the welcome video made it sink in for me.  The entire
experience was surreal.  I watched the crowd watching the video and
involuntarily smiled ear to ear.  TEDx was in my city!

What a rewarding, compelling, humbling opportunity, bringing together
hundreds of humans to explore thought through ideas worth spreading.

I am inspired.  Delighted is an understatement.  TEDx is an
extraordinary catalyst for passion.

Wow..what did I think after hosting my first TEDx?  To answer my own
question,

I thought:  humanity is a beautiful thing when reminded to thrive.

Thank you, TED, for extending TEDx to the world.  And thank you, TEDx
hosts, for inspiring me and setting the bar high.

Please share your first TEDx experience.  I am
excited to hear about it.

Cheers, to ideas worth spreading!

Amy Robinson

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FYI – event summary:  our first TEDxHuntsville hosted a sold out crowd
of 275 people who traveled from 6 different states to experience four
hours of “Perspectives on Innovation.”  Presenters ranged from a
debut performance chronicling the evolution of jazz to next generation
space travel.  We explored what’s next in genomics, the transformation
of atmospheric physics, acrobatic dance, the mathematics of war, and
then took a break to conclude the first session.  I was amazed.

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What is TEDx?

TED – Technology, Entertainment, Design – is a pro bono organization that shares intriguing, intellectual, inspiring multimedia presentations from the pinnacles of human achievement.  To me, they demonstrate that the categories of accomplishment continually expand in the presence of persistent discovery.  This is what I think TED promotes through its “ideas worth spreading.”

TEDtalks, as these multimedia presentations are called, run from three to eighteen minutes in length (my personal favorite lasts but six).  Collectively, TEDtalks have been viewed near a billion times worldwide. ~700 talks. ~700,000,000 views.

If TED is new for you, you are in for a treat.   Enjoy.

The curators of ideas worth spreading fittingly shared their concept and created the “independently organized TED event.”  TED becomes TEDx.  Thousands of individuals then curate action by sharing TEDlike ideas.  This catalyzes an entire new level of collaboration and even, as Chris Anderson proposes, crowd sourced innovation.   It’s almost a new societal infrastructure.

This is amazing.   Not only is this one of the most beautiful evolutions of our human race, but the longer term outcome – say, what becomes of TEDx in five, ten years – is wonderfully beyond my imagination.

In my opinion, TEDx is a concept derived from TED.  Its purpose is to procure the finest attribute of humanity:  our capacity for thought.

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