TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. It is a nonprofit devoted to organizing conferences that have been bringing people together from the varied areas for over twenty years. TEDx is the localized version of the TED-talks and sets the stage for launching innovation and creativity in communities all over the world.  I heard about the TED conferences on Twitter and was very intrigued with the concept. TED-talks are by invitation only so I was really pleased to be able to participate in one held in Lexington, Kentucky. TEDxLex’s speakers and topics were both diverse and amazing.
The speaker line up was exceptional! These folks were the real deal. Their words and wisdom are swirling around in my head. I’m still processing this even a couple days after the event. I know I can’t do justice to their ideas so visit TEDxLex to learn more about the speakers: Britt Selvitelle, Stanley Hainsworth, Wes Keltner, Jim Bates, Todd Willey, Karen Gerstandt, Jim Embry, Christine Kuhn, Bill Cloyd, Marjorie Guyon, Ben Lacy, Kris Kimel, Matthew Higdon and Paige Hankla.
Throughout the conference what I kept hearing revolved around allowing ourselves to be creative, believing in ideas, and to live with passion. The speakers certainly did that; from Britt Selvitelle of Twitter focusing on human development not just software applications, to Karen Gerstandt working towards clean drinking water using osmotic processes, to Jim Bates who was one of the first members of ESPN who didn’t listen to the naysayers, to Stanley Hainsworth who is the creative mind behind iconic brands such as Nike, Lego and Starbucks, and who believes that life is too short to not do what you’re passionate about.
The speakers weren’t lecturing to us as to how to do it their way, but instead were sharing their stories and ideas encouraging us to explore possibilities. The purpose was to challenge us to think then act.
It worked for me. In many ways, I think we’ve become a culture where we’ve lost our way to be innovative and creative. That’s odd for me to write, but strangely I think it is true. We’ve put ourselves in a box. We’re so focused on not making mistakes that we don’t take any chances and venture outside the box. Making mistakes are OK, and are a form of learning, be it sometimes a painful one. We’ve allowed our educational system to discard the arts and forget about developing creative minds. We need to make the box our own either by cutting holes in it, or make the box into a launching pad for our own creativity and innovation.
Scientist turned artist, Christine Kuhn said, “Arts are important because they speak to emotion. Understand the past through art and the emotion it creates.” Technology, entertainment (or the arts) and design are all connected in moving a culture forward in solving community challenges.
TEDxLex really lived up to TED’s theme of Ideas Worth Spreading.

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