Saturday, March 17, 2012

TEDxGranta 2012 - Inspirational

The 2012 TEDxGranta event was a joy to attend.  The event, one of many independent events organised around the world as part of the wonderful TED network*, managed to delight, inspire, amuse and cause jaws to drop. I was lucky enough to be one of the speakers at this event (wearing my 'We need more children to be interested in engineering!' hat; and if you want to know more  - with apologies for the shameless plug - come along to my talk at the Cambridge Science Festival on 24 March).  
David Constantine
Co-founder of Motivation
(Photo: vandym2002)

The topics of this year's TEDxGranta talks spanned music, homelessness, animation, Kung-Fu, linguistics, preserving culinary history, computer literacy, and design. (Reviews of all the talks can be found on Doug Shaw's blog, and videos of all of them will soon be available on YouTube).

This event illustrated the best of what Cambridge can do; it drew upon both the strength of the wonderfully rich Cambridge creative and innovative ecosystem, and its wider national and international network connections.  The TEDxGranta team did a superb job in bringing everything together; the venue (The Junction J2) was very appropriate; and the content wonderfully diverse and well-orchestrated.
Merlin Crossingham of
Aardman Animation
(Photo: vandym2002)
But attending this event reminded me of the dangers of getting stuck in a rut.  In common with many others in Cambridge, I am a regular attendee at the numerous high quality technology entrepreneurship related events that run every week across this city.  These events are a key ingredient in the success of the Cambridge high tech cluster, and are great at building our communal understanding and ability to accelerate science and technology to market to address new opportunities. But the majority of such events are, intentionally, deeply business and/or technology focused.  What events like TEDxGranta do so well  - and in fact what all TED events aim to do - is to bring together the worlds of technology, entertainment and design, to paint a bigger picture, using a much richer palette. Attending TEDxGranta was a day very well spent, and I suspect that the impact on me will last a lot longer than most other events I have attended in recent months. 

*If you don't know about TED, click here to access a staggering range inspirational videos.