I’ve just got back from this years TEDx Warwick event at Warwick Arts Centre in Warwick University. This is the third year I’ve attended TEDx Warwick, and each year I’m in awe at the fantastic job the organisers do and how much so many of the speakers at the event inspires me in so many areas of my life.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks then get yourself across to TED.com where you can see some riveting talks by remarkable people, all for free. Thought provoking, often inspiring and always educational – I mentioned recently that I’ve made TED talks a part of my Daily Productivity Routine to get me started for the day.
TEDx events are coordinated locally and independently, on a community-by-community basis. They are created in the spirit of TED’s mission, that being “ideas worth spreading”.
The theme of this years TEDx Warwick event was “Inside Out” – looking at the idea that in a world where globalisation is bringing about an increasing trend of localisation and individuation, seemingly paradoxical headlines are often daily features.
I thought I’d take a look at some of my personal highlights from TEDx Warwick 2014.
Happiness at work
First up was Nic Marks talking about Happiness. Nic has already recorded a very popular video about “The Happy Planet Index” and in this talk he looked at the business impact of happiness. For instance, in the Gallup State of the Global Workplace 2014 poll it was revealed that only 13% of employees are actively engaged at work.
What effect does this have on business? Well, Nic estimates that the cost of unhappiness at work in a 100 person business equals $1 million per year.
Examples were given of businesses that put employees first, such as Zappos, and the positive effect this can have on retention and attendance of staff, and for the business as a whole, an increased bottom line.
A thoroughly engaging presentation and I’d recommend following Nic’s business Happiness Works on Twitter for more insight. Food for thought for any business.
Gerson Dublon is a PhD student at the MIT Medial Lab where he develops new tools for understanding and exploring sensor data. In his talk he looked at how we interact with the world around us – or in the case of most of our Smartphone toting generation, how we sometimes don’t interact with the world that’s directly around us, just the tiny screen in front of us!
Dublon offered the Smartphone Homunculus (pictured left) as an idea of how we prominantely use our senses with Technology – which drew some chuckles but also some agreeing nods.
There were some fascinating projects offered up by Dublon including looking at how a building was used during a conference, and an Arboreal Telepresence – an audio-haptic display embedded in the natural environment.
I’d highly recommend checking out Gershon Dublon’s website for more details on his research.
Lighting a Billion Lives
Jim Reeves of Deciwatt shared the story of creating Gravity Light, an eco-product that could help millions of people.
GravityLight is an innovative device that generates light from gravity. It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight that powers GravityLight creating 25 minutes of light on its descent.
The product is a result of a plan to eradicate Kerosene lighting from developing countries – a dangerous way for people to light their homes after the sun goes down. Reeves shared how an IndieGoGo campaign aimed to raise $55,000 for this product and ended up pulling $399,590 instead.
The product has the potential to change the lives of millions of people who live “off the grid”, and I for one can see applications well beyond the developing world too.
If you’d like to be kept up to date on the progress of GravityLight then sign up for the GravityLight Mailing List for email updates.
Urban Beekeeping, Beatboxing and Green Graffiti
The talks I’ve mentioned above were just three of sixteen talks on the day. Other highlights for me included
- Alison Benjamin, the editor of the Guardian’s Society section, who delivered a presentation called “Urban Buzz” on how becoming an urban Bee Keeper can influence lives, positively effect communities and change the way you view the world.
- THePETEBOX who blew my mind with his loop pedal beatbox performance (check out THePETEBOX website for some of his awesome videos!)
- Jim Reeves who is an advertising professional who loves Dirt! Reeves has created an unconventional method of advertising in GreenGraffiti, washing advertising into pavements, which has a lower impact on the environment and a higher impact on the audience.
But it’s fair to say that every single speaker inspired and provoked thought in equal measure.
A huge thank-you to everyone who puts so much time and effort into organising TEDx Warwick this year and to the speakers who give their time to stand up and share their thoughts in front of 1200+ people.
The event is always well organised, educational and inspiring in equal measure and if you’ve never been to a TEDx event, then I’d encourage you to seek one out near to you!