TEDx: Columbus Reflections

“I was refreshed with new ideas and invigorated with action items”

On Friday, November 11th, the 3rd annual TEDxColumbus delivered just what was advertised – Discovery, Innovation, Experience and Pleasure – and more: Conversation, Connection, and Reflection.  Co-curated by Ruth Milligan and Nancy Kramer, this year's learning opportunity was held at Columbus' hands-on science center, COSI.  If you live in Central Ohio, I highly recommend becoming a COSI member and supporter; it is a center of discovery and learning for students and adults alike. Columbus' TEDx was made possible by a variety of passionate individuals and organizations.

TEDx kicked off COSI style: an 1812 Overture rendition complete with fiery explosions of hydrogen filled balloons. The cannon blasts rocked the room in time with the Overture & set the tone of discovery and experience for what would be an outstanding day of learning.

There were over 20 presenters and performers, all of whom sparked thinking and conversation.  Hands down, the one that caused me to think the most and take action was a presentation by Theresa Flores who shared her personal experience of being a victim of human trafficking and out of that misery, what she has done to make a difference.  Her presentation led me to reflect on my ignorance of the subject and what I can do.  Being the father of a smart, outgoing daughter and uncle to amazing nieces, I've shared Theresa's story with my wife, family and several friends, including our church's youth minister.  This is the one TEDx presentation that should be included in TEDGlobal 2012. For a real learning opportunity please take a few minutes and watch Theresa's presentation.  If you have kids, it will hit home.

Another TEDx presentation worth viewing is MIT Researcher Deb Roy‘s innovative “The Birth of a Word“, which chronicles the first two years of Deb's son's life and the discovery process he experienced as he attached meaning to language and learned to communicate verbally.  The video captures the iterative learning process that led from babble to communication. Deb goes on to use his event and semantic analysis techniques to visually represent media consumption around events and bits of content via social graphs.  Deb's innovative research is giving us new ways to look at interactions of people and data connecting context and social dynamics.

“I am richer for this experience”

Mark Berman shared with us the remarkable micro word of bugs and spiders, surprising us with the intelligence of a jumping spider and it's view of Mark. The relevant message is that we live in an astounding world of near infinite detail that we overlook at our macro-level.  The solution? Take a moment and look closely and what appears mundane will reveal the exceptional.

Lunch was provided in every corner of COSI, and  the challenge was finding “your place” and then the pleasure was sharing and enjoying a meal. What began as simply eating lunch with a small group of strangers became a memorable experience with new friends. Excellent conversation ensued and new connections with vibrant individuals were made. I took the picture as we were deep in conversation; it is my favorite TEDx image.  My time at lunch and during the breaks allowed me to reflect, discuss, learn and bond with several individuals I might not cross paths with normally.  I am definitely richer for this experience.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of TEDxColumbus is the opportunity to interact and learn in an environment unencumbered by email, phone and the everyday demands of work.  I reluctantly left COSI and TEDx; I was simultaneously tired from being stretched, refreshed with new ideas and invigorated with a handful of action items.  It was indeed a day of Discovery, Innovation, Experience and Pleasure; and conversation and connection, enhanced it. I'd love to have you share your experiences and thoughts via a comment!

To learn more about TEDxColumbus and become involved:

NOTE: Photo of Theresa Flores from the TEDxColumbus Live Blog.

I work alongside emerging companies on business formation, commercialization strategies, and capital planning. My passion is to find, support, mentor, coach, incubate, & fund start-ups engaged in innovative technology businesses.

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