Monday, 21 March 2011

Where Inspiration Meets Action

Lots of people spend their Saturdays playing or watching sports. The bunch of guys sharing my early train to London last Saturday were on the way to the football, bottles of beer clinking at 8am. I was on my way to check out one of my own favourite sports: ideas.

You’ll be familiar with the TED Talks events, there is now ‘son of TED’ - or TEDx - independently organised TED events. Saturday saw The Observer host their first TEDx event, a day packed of over twenty speakers sharing ideas. It’s such a great concept; going to a one-day event bulging with twenty speakers means you’re more likely to get value than from a one-off keynote. So this is the bit like a festival approach to ideas, rather than a single headline act gig, you get a whole day of it. With twenty minutes for each speaker, there’s enough time to listen to their story.
TEDxObserver delivered a big caffeine hit of inspiration and stimulation. So many different people, different emotions and one speaker even got us dancing. A real mix of names: Vivienne Westwood, Goldie, Sarah Brown, Jude Law, Russell Davies, 7/7 survivor Martine Wright, Baaba Maal (performing above), Mariella Frostrup.

The overarching theme of the day – for me – was that that simple theme of taking action to create change. Of how Martine Wright turned a tragedy into a catalyst for becoming an Paralympics competitor, of how Goldie used music and art to change his life, of how South African landowner Mark Solms did something about the injustice he saw around him and created a shared-ownership winery. Okay ‘taking action’ might not be the most sophisticated strategy for change or success but it’s a damn good place to start.

Many of us get moved by reading a book, watching a play, seeing some TV coverage, reading an article and yes, even attending a conference. Fewer of us actually do something as a result of being moved. We miss the moment and fail to take action. Me? I’m going to aim to do something with my scribbled notes from Saturday. I’ll let you know how I get on.

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