Sunday, April 18, 2010

TEDxCam .. well worth the wait

For anyone who knows and enjoys TED talks, it had been a bit of a mystery why a TEDx event had not been organised in Cambridge. Thanks to the efforts of Cong Cong Bo and Dawson King (plus their team and sponsors), on Saturday 17th April, TED did come to Cambridge. And it was well worth the wait. There's no point my attempting to summarise the talks (which will be much better done elsewhere) but a few points are particularly worthy of note:
  • It was great to see a large community of 'new' faces at a networking event in Cambridge. Thanks to many factors (the brand pull of TED, the wonderful national TEDxCam Young Fellows programme, etc) the majority of the people attending seemed to be more diverse in age, background and outlook when compared with the 'usual' Cambridge cluster network attendees - though it was good to see so many of the regulars in attendance too.
  • TED is known for its focus on innovative ideas. But it was great to see that so many of the talks were not just about what 'might be' but also about ideas that were being implemented now (such as improved cancer screening, advances in cybernetics, and changes in the UK libel laws).
  • TEDxCam also brought with it a sense of US-style optimism and energy .. a sense that change for the better can be achieved if we all just get on with it. This was perhaps best summarised by the TED talk (tellingly selected as the TEDxCam team's favourite) from Richard St John shown via video at the end of the event.
  • Bruno Giussani (European director of TED conferences) also reminded the audience of what can be achieved with enthusiastic champions, supportive sponsors, and a great, open infrastructure. The TEDx events have exceeded expectations in both the numbers of events being organised and the diversity of franchisees. It is well worth taking a look at the TEDx site.
Well done TEDxCam team and sponsors .. and looking forward to more events like that in Cambridge.