Today I attended the TEDxMunich event, held in the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany. The TEDx events are independently organized TED events, which are held under guidelines set by TED (see my earlier post, ‘TED Talks. We listen.‘, for further details about what TED is, and my thoughts and opinions thereon).
In this post I aim to share some feedback on the TEDx event. My primary interest in attending the event was to better understand the TED ‘movement’ and how it works in the background, beyond just being a series of videos of talks recorded on TED.com or YouTube.
The program (further details on www.tedxmunich.com)
The theme for the TEDxMunich event was “Changing Energy – dream. discover. design.“, and the program for the event included:
- Introduction from Chris Anderson, from TED (video)
- TEDxMunich curator, Sonny Klawitter
SESSION 1 “Global environments”
- Dr Michael Tobias – “A sustainable society for a global future”
- David de Rothschild – “The Plastiki Expedition” (recorded video)
- Magnus Larsson – “Creation of Landscape” (what I like to call “Incredible sand castles”!)
- SEDAA – Mongolian/Persian Music
- Eric Sanderson – “Piuctures of New York before the city [Mannahatta]” (TED Talk video, 2009)
SESSION 2 “Universes outside the box”
- Aude Zieseniss de Thuin – “The impact of the Global Economy on Woman Leaders [and the “Women’s Forum” event that she founded]”
- Matthew Child – “9 life lessons from rock climbing” (TED Talk video, 2009)
- Shaun Bailey – “Streetsoldiers in London [and the charity “My Generation” that he co-founded]”
- David Brin – “Tomorrow happens” (recorded video)
- Russell Buckley – “Humanity 2.0”
- Martin Bojowald – “The big bang was not the beginning”
- Prof. Dr. Albrecht von Mueller – “Thinking, the most underutilized energy”
- Keith Barry – “Brain magic” (TED Talk video, 2004)
SESSION 3 “Change through design”
- Patrick Frick – “The power of design process”
- Vik Muniz – “Art with wire, thread, sugar, chocolate” (TED Talk video, 2003)
- Marije Vogelzang – “How food activates the brain and arouses strong memories and emotions”
- Chris Bangle – “Gina meets PiNk [design at BMW]”
- Vignesh Cumareshan – “The changing perception of Origami”
- Paul Cocksedge – “Light – design changes”
The 19 talks (including the more entertaining ‘acts’) were scheduled at a fast pace, but are broken up by the two breaks (between Sessions 1 and 2, and Sessions 2 and 3). The breaks were long enough to allow relaxation, attendance to phone calls and emails, and discussion with the speakers and other attendees. Nevertheless, by the end of the day I was grateful for the end! – maintaining concentration, both from listening, and the discussion in the breaks, as well as attending to personal calls and emails, was quite tiring (a couple of the presentation topics were also quite technical!).
Normally I would only watch only one, or maybe two TED Talks on a given a day on my computer – 19 talks in succession is quite intensive, and it is likely that not all of the talks appeal to everyone (the benefit of diversity, but this also highlights the benefit of being able to select which TED Talks to watch online). I graded the 19 talks out of 10 (reflecting my own personal interest and views on ‘quality’ of presentation, talk structure, etc.) – on reflection I probably gave slightly more lower grades than if I were to grade the TED Talks that I watch online (partly since one can be more selective about the talks to watch online), but this was compensated by the other benefits described above, and the chance to watch several truly excellent talks live.
Other observations and impressions
One of the key benefits of attending a TEDx event is that in between the talks, you get to meet the speakers and other attendees – this results in very interesting discussions/debates, typically starting on topics relating to the speakers’ talk subjects, but then sometimes moving on to broader themes, and sometimes on themes which are completely unrelated to the talks held during the event.
Partly these interactions happened naturally, as people stretched their legs, or grabbed a coffee from the café, during the breaks, and partly they were facilitated through the scheduling of organized “ThinkTank” sessions (not much more than a specified location where one could find the speakers during the breaks).
I particularly enjoyed engaging in discussion with the speakers Dr Michael Tobias, Magnus Larsson and his colleague, Shaun Bailey, Russell Buckley and, briefly also (limited by available time), Paul Cocksedge.
BMW sponsored the TEDxMunich event (among other sponsors) by providing space and facilities in the BMW Museum, an amazing, modern building, with walls that somehow lit up and animated panorama views of automotive scenes when the talks weren’t running.
Finally, a remark on “SEDAA – Mongolian/Persian Music” (link to SEDAA’s myspace page with some sample tracks) – this is not the sort of music that I would normally listen to but it was indeed ‘beautiful’, and TEDxMunich was a great chance to experience this (a chance to embrace cultural diversity).
Overall, an excellent event, and I will definitely consider attending future TEDx events, either in Munich again next year (I understand that plans are already underway for next year’s TEDxMunich event), or other TEDx events. Anyone who likes TED Talks, and sees an opportunity to visit a TEDx event should, in my view, grasp the opportunity (since only a nominal admin fee is charged, the events also represent excellent value for money!). To find one near you, check the TED.com TEDx Events page.
The event reinforced my view that TED Talks, and TEDx events help one think and reflect on important worldly issues/topics, and one’s role, and opportunities to participate in those issues/topics.
My thanks go to Sonny Klawitter, the rest of the TEDxMunich team, the speakers themselves, and the sponsors, for putting in so much effort resulting in a smooth and well organized event.
Finally, I’d like to highlight the amazing work that Shaun Bailey is doing through “My Generation“, the charity that he co-founded in London – I strongly encourage everyone to watch his talk “Streetsoldiers in London”; Shaun is using his energy and passion to make a difference for others, who are underprivileged, and has some great guidance on how we can all make a difference in our own ways (for me Shaun does for children’s welfare what Jamie Oliver is doing so well for improving education about the importance of healthy diets/eating).
Note, I will update/amend this post for additional pictures and links (including links to the videos on the TEDx YouTube channel, once they become available).
Filed under: Leadership and personal development | Tagged: Dr Michael Tobias, Magnus Larsson, Paul Cocksedge, Russell Buckley, Shaun Bailey, Sonny Klawitter, TED, TED talks, TED.com, TEDx, TEDxMunich |