Ideas worth sharing
TEDx is coming to Metro Detroit.
Before paranoia sets in…this is a good thing. TEDx is an amazing event that organizers hope will highlight the best and brightest in our region.
On Wednesday, an estimated 200 people will gather at Lawrence Tech University in Southfield. There, they will listen to short speeches from some of Michigan's most creative minds. By short, I mean 15 minutes or less.
The idea is to get these extraordinary people to boil down their thoughts. Give their listeners the most concise version. Make it sizzle.
According to its founders, the TED conference was created to bring together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment and Design (hence, the TED moniker). There is a national conference in Long Beach, Calif., and a global event in Oxford, UK.
Past events have enjoyed speakers ranging from Bill Clinton to Jane Goodall to Philippe Starck to Bono. The format – short, carefully prepared talks – is designed to inspire listeners, provoke conversation and (perhaps) invite change.
Technically, the local event is called TEDxDetroit. (TEDx is the name coined for an independently organized TED event.) The Detroit line-up features leaders in the biotech, media, software, entertainment and alternative-energy fields.
“There are so many wonderful stories here in Detroit and we don't celebrate that enough,” said Catherine Juon of Ann Arbor-based Pure Visibility, one of the event organizers.
This is the kind of thing Metro Detroit needs, Juon said.
“Everyone is focused on the car companies struggle, the manufacturing sector. Everyone thinks that innovation has left Michigan,” Juon said. “The innovative spirit has always been here. We just need to share it.”
Scheduled speakers include:
- Chazz Miller, founder and muralist at Public Art Workz, who will talk about how Metro Detroit is redefining itself by changing its visual landscape;
- Fabienne Munch, director of Ideation Office at Herman Miller, who will speak to the importance of agility and innovation;
- D Blair, a poet, playwright, musician and performer, who will tackle his impressions of Detroit from near and far; and
- Matt Dugener, chief operating officer of Enliven Software, who will highlight the changes Michigan needs to make in this young, smart, global age.
There were so many potential speakers TEDxDetroit organizers decided to change the format to a full day to fit them all in. The speeches will be videotaped and posted on the TEDxTalks YouTube web site, giving Detroit some much-needed positive national attention.
And that is the only way people will get to see it. The event is sold out. More than 500 people applied to get in; only 200 could go.
But there are other ways to get involved. There is the pre-party Tweetup tonight at Bar Louie in Novi. There is a lunch Wednesday at Copper Canyon Brewery in Southfield. Plus, there is a Twitter site devoted to updates from participants – and I plan on posting some of the best ones on the blog Wednesday.
And if that isn't enough for you, there is an afterglow Wednesday night at Fishbone's Rhythm Kitchen Café in Southfield.