Posts Tagged: TED

Ideas Worth Spreading (And Printing. And Pasting on City Walls)

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By Chris Daley, UPMC Health Plan

172,281 portraits. 592 locations. 1 TED talk.

The breadth of TED Talks is incredible. Impressive, really.  It may be the one platform where diverse audiences come together to learn how to lean in, why we are happy and to love, no matter what.  From art to literature, success and motivation to the essence of the everyday, all TED Talks have one common thread: the power of sharing an idea.

My favorite TED talks are the ones that inspire tangible action — where spreading an idea can lead to spreading ink over a canvas or building bridges over divides.

It can be easy to think of art as inaccessible, a difficult and specialized endeavor that is so specific and divided by the individualized tastes of the viewer.  But, TED turned the lens on the artist: JR, a French self-proclaimed “photograffeur” and recipient of the TED2011 Prize to find unity.  JR’s “My Wish to Use Art to Turn the World Inside Out” is truly inspiring, a global initiative to change the world through photos.  Through his large-scale participatory art project, JR challenged the world: “To stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world . . . inside out.”  His use of art — merely the simple portrait of everyday people — to equalize differences and show what people across the globe have in common.

“The people I photograph were proud to participate in the project and to have their photo in the community. But they asked me for a promise basically. They asked me, ‘Please, make our story travel with you.’ So I did.”

An idea that spread over the Facebook walls and the walls of 30-story buildings alike, or fed through black and white printers and Instagram filters is an idea that belongs to more than one person. Through the power of paper and glue, JR has helped to shatter the notion that creativity is only something the chosen few possess.

This example shows that art is personal, yet social. Assertive, but welcoming. Even more, JR’s Talk shows just how prolific an idea can become, shared and spread.

What is more exciting is that this kind of thing is happening in our own backyard. Just wait and see what happens when a ripple effect hits three rivers – that’s what this Saturday’s installment of TEDx Grandview Ave is about.  A room to meet in, ideas to share, and the ability to dare to create.

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How to Launch Your Big Idea – 5 Lessons from the Founder of TED

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by Joe Vennare, Storyteller

ted-main-stage

TED talks have become a global phenomenon. Stories of success and struggle. Inspiration and ideas. New technologies and innovating thoughts. People and far off places. There a seemingly endless collection of talks that stretch the limits of our imagination and abilities.

While taking in a live event or video online, few people stop to think – how did this happen? Where did these talks begin? Heck, what does TED even stand for? (FYI – Technology, Entertainment and Design)

In a recent interview with American Express Open Forum, TED founder Richard Saul Wurman dives into the details of the first ever TED event. In doing so he revealed more than who was there (i.e. Steve Jobs, the President of Sony showing off the first CD player, etc) and where it was (the Monterey Conference Center in California). Contained within Wurman’s interview, the story of how TED came to be, is a framework for how you can transform your idea into a global success story.

Be on the lookout for opportunities

In the early 1980s, Wurman say something others didn’t. He said, there was a convergence taking place between technology businesses, the entertainment industry and design professions. Not many people saw it. I did.

Lesson 1. If you want to build something big, I mean really BIG, you have to see opportunity where others see opposition. Or, in the places no one else is looking.

Think about failure differently

When recounting the first event, Wurman remembered, about 300 attendees came to the Monterey Conference Center, which held 500 people… I lost money on the first TED conference.

Lesson 2. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying. Yes, the first event was a risk. You might even call it a loss. Maybe a failure. Sometimes you can’t avoid it. Especially when trying to launch a big idea. We can’t avoid failure. But, we can think about it differently.

Go against the grain.

Wurman wanted TED to be innovative. Here’s how he did it – One path to true innovation is through subtraction. I looked at all the elements of conferences that were taking place at the time, and I removed some of the items to create TED.

Lesson 3. Innovation doesn’t occur when you do what everyone else is doing, the way it’s always been done. Different is good, especially when different creates a disruption in the status quo. In this case, less really was more.

Never stop learning

At the first TED conference Wurman asked attendees – to take a journey with me from not knowing to knowing. He told them – “Learning is remembering what you are interested in.” I hate education, but I love learning.

Lesson 4. If you want to be truly great. If you really want to do something spectacular, you have to be a lifelong learner. As Wurman points out, it has nothing to do with education. Just a insatiable desire to learn.

Know your strengths

Planning the lineup of speakers, Wurman chose speakers who were smarter and more talented than I was, and they brought the discussions to life.

Lesson 5. If you want to build something bigger than yourself, you’ll need people other than yourself. Be honest. What are you good at? Do that. Enlist other people to fill in the gaps. You can’t do everything all of the time. That’s a surefire way to burnout. Which is frowned upon when trying to launch a big idea.

Takeaway

Back to the original question – How did it happen?

How did Wurman create such a legendary brand, conference and business? He started with a BIG idea. He saw opportunity where others weren’t looking. Went after it and persisted despite some setbacks (read – failures). He didn’t compromise his vision, he was innovative. He wanted to help others learn, because he loved to learn. And, along the way, he looked to others who were smarter than him to make his idea a success. Wurman ran TED for 18 years before it was acquired by Chris Anderson.

It’s the framework you can use to launch your idea. To make it a success. Who knows, you might be sitting on the next TED. When you think about it like that, the real question is “what are you waiting for?”

 

Why We Do What We Do

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by Joe Vennare, Storyteller

PGH love

From time to time someone will ask a TEDxGrandviewAve team member a question.

Right after we’ve fielded all of the “who is TED?” questions, everyone wants to know:

Why do you do this?

What do you get out of hosting this event?

These questions are simple enough, but the explanations are a little more involved.

First, if you’re thinking we do it for a paycheck, you’re wrong. The TEDxGrandviewAve team is an all volunteer squad. As a matter of fact, TED prohibits TEDx events from making a profit. All of the money we raise is put right back into the event. The speakers aren’t paid either. And no one, speaker or organizer, is permitted to pitch or sell anything.

Nope, money isn’t the motivator.

Then what is?

As the Q and A goes on, it becomes clear that we do it because we couldn’t imagine not doing it.

Does that make sense?

Yes, the planning, organizing, designing, fundraising, and marketing take a whole bunch of time and effort. But, the payoff is priceless.

“The event was Pittsburgh at its best: intimate, authentic, and inspiring.” - TEDxGrandviewAve 2013 Attendee






We get to have a hand in sharing ideas and inspiration, two very powerful things. And, because the TEDxGrandviewAve team and event is deeply rooted in Pittsburgh’s community, we’re focused on the people and ideas that are leading the way in our region. We want to showcase them and their ideas, we want to see just how far these ideas can spread.

So the not so simple, simple answer to the “why?” question.

We do it because we’re passionate about Pittsburgh and we’re passionate about making a difference. And people that do things out of passion, do them better.

But, there’s a catch. Something we don’t want you to overlook. It’s kind of the most important part of the event.

It’s not about us, it’s about you.

We’re just the platform; you are the next big thing.

We need your ideas, insights, and innovations.

So, tell us, what are you working on? And, don’t forget to answer an important question; “why do you do what you do?”