"We're trending!" - Stephen Sim
Winnipeggers often feel overlooked and unnoticed in Canada, so when our small group of local TEDx enthusiasts started trending on Twitter we got pretty pumped! This was just one small part of the awesomeness that was this year's TEDxWinnipeg.
PEANUT BUTTER SYNERGY
Trending for what? #PeanutButterSynergy of course! This is a testament to the quick-thinking genius of our fantastic emcees Caity Curtis and Stephen Sim. Local heavyweights of the improv scene, Curtis and Sim decided they would stir up the crowd by giving us a taste of what an improv-style TED talk might sound like. Looking to the crowd for overused motivational buzzwords, the words "proactive!", "out-of-the-box!" and "synergy!" came blaring through. Then it happened..."peanut butter!" Already recognizing that this year's group was Twitter-friendly, Sim suggested, "wouldn't it be awesome if we started trending for....peanut butter synergy?" The seed was planted and the crowd ran with it.
ENGAGING THE CROWD
In addition to social media sharing opportunities, strategies were developed to encourage attendees to actively engage with one another. Long and frequent breaks, conversation triggers such as a "people bingo" game and the "ask me about" sections on our name tags helped to facilitate networking among even the most introverted. While some grew tired of the extended space between segments, many appeared to appreciate the extra time to talk, eat and wander the nearby waterfront on a beautiful day.
CREATIVITY AT WORK
If I could summarize the overall vibe of the day it would be CREATIVITY AT WORK. Although speakers had very different backgrounds and topics, I felt that the ultimate message was this: how are you going to apply creative thinking to both enhance and develop a deeper connection to the work you do?
Here are some of my personal highlights from the day:
I was fascinated by Dr.Nicole Buckley's findings from her Space Health and Aging Research (SHARE) and how we can utilize the parallel data (both physical and psycho-social) of how we age on Earth and how Astronauts age in space to find health and well being solutions for both groups.
Alex Drysdale made a very clever case for putting bugs in our pantry. As the owner of Crik Nutrition here in Winnipeg, he not only made a solid case for the utilization of insects as a more nutritious and sustainable food option, but a brilliant sales pitch for his cricket and plant based protein powder. People who initially cried "ick!" lined up all day just to try it. Well played sir, well played.
Local filmmaker, Madison Thomas, made a passionate case for arts programming as a way to provide a positive outlet for at-risk inner city youth. Wanting to shine a light on both the struggles and possibilities of these youth, Thomas shared her own experiences as a young person growing up in Winnipeg's North End and her current observations of the economic divide.
"Get someone else to share their game book with you." This one phrase stuck with me all day. We often throw around the word "mentor", yet for many it can feel abstract and inaccessible. The visual of a football player asking for guidance so he can understand the play and therefore excel - perfect. Thank you Israel Idonije for a memorable and accessible piece of storytelling.
A SINCERE THANK-YOU
By then end of the day, everyone had collected at least one new friend and one new nugget of inspiration which, in my books, equals success! To all of the TEDx speakers and volunteers: ya done good!
Until next year...