June 2, 2016 — Winnipeg inspires with “Ideas Worth Spreading”
If you’re looking for inspiration for your business or professional career, you’ve come to the right spot. TEDxWinnipeg is an incredible inspiring one-day event held each year in Winnipeg as an independent event stemming from the famous TED Talks.
This year’s event took place at the Tom Hendry Warehouse Theatre in Winnipeg. It is completely volunteer-run and TEDxWinnipeg a not-for-profit organization with no appearance fees paid to the speakers. For the past four years I have proudly sat on the Speaker Committee, helping speakers prepare for this big event. For us, it’s all about spreading great ideas.
Since our first event in February 2011, we’ve hosted more than 75 TEDx Talks, each one representing an idea worth spreading. Originally known as TEDxManitoba, the annual event changed its name in 2015 in keeping with changes to the TEDx naming guidelines.
The speakers come from a variety of technology, entertainment and design spectrums in Manitoba, and all 13 of these incredibly talented and intelligent presenters are featured on stage with the unmistakable red TEDx logo glowing behind them.
The audience was packed and the hottest ticket in Winnipeg tech was no disappointment. These seats were hard to come by — each attendee needed to apply early in hopes of being chosen as a lucky audience member. The selection process is part of the experience, since demand is so high to attend in person.
In fact, this year we had such an overwhelming amount of people who applied to be in the audience that we arranged viewing parties throughout the city, and the event featured a livestream of all the amazing presentations, as seen below.
And if you’re wishing the event didn’t stop at one-day, then you’re in luck, as related events take place throughout the year. Keep an eye on the TEDx Winnipeg website for updates.
Here are a few notable talks I’ve selected from this year’s event. If you have your own selections, let us know in the comments section. It’s great to hear feedback about audience favourites.
Daniel Blair: Reforging Reality
Daniel talked about one of his areas of expertise, virtual reality, as the founder of Winnipeg-based company, Bit Space Development.
Not VR in the sense of the cool new toys and gadgets that are being developed, but more about the way we are going to be using this new medium to build the most immersive storytelling experiences you can imagine. We’re reforging what reality is to us.
Virtual reality is already disrupting our industries with amazing training experiences and taking people places they could never imagine. It is about telling your brand story. He challenged the audience by asking, “If you could put somebody, anybody inside your story, what would you tell?” I was lucky to be his speaker buddy.
Alex Drysdale: It’s time we put bugs in our pantry
Alex discovered the concept of crickets as a sustainable and viable source of nutrition, and was convinced that insects are the future of food. These critters also have a low environmental impact and no animal welfare issues due to overcrowding and pollution.
Less than a year and half after its start, Crik has gone from a successfully crowdfunded company in the first 24 hours with sales in 22 countries, to being named one of the World’s 20 Hottest Startups for 2016 by MSN.
And yes, I did eventually eat bugs.
Alexandra Hasenpflug: Hearing in Technicolor
Synesthesia isn’t something negative. Alexandra Hasenpflug explains how this misunderstood term, which describes how one sense can impact another, is actually quite powerful and positive.
Often, synesthesia is referred to as a ‘condition’ or a ‘mistake’ in the brain, but that really isn’t the case. It’s a natural phenomenon, and it’s beautiful. Alexandra describes, for example, how the 80,000 audio sounds she hears every day will actually have colours attached to them — a form of synesthesia. She describes this experience with magical wonder, and more eloquently refers to it as a a ‘trait’ she possesses.
But in the past, Alexandra used to keep it to herself and would never talk about it — even with her closest friends and family. The minute she started to open up about it, she realized how backwards she had it. We need to celebrate the things that make us unique. Each of us has something that makes us who we are, and it’s a waste not to share it.
Alexandra is my new superhero.
Dwight MacAulay: Protocol, Who Needs It?
Dwight MacAulay is the Chief of Protocol for the Government of Manitoba. His idea worth sharing is that protocol is not what you think it is — and that everyone, everywhere needs it. I also had the honor of being Dwight’s “speaker buddy” this year, and was amazed at his wonderful talk.
As Chief of Protocol, Dwight has organized and worked on many special projects, including several Royal Visits. He explained how protocol has changed, is changing, should change and why we all still need it. And he gave us a very humorous view of this commonly overlooked term. Starting off with a snippet audio clip of O Canada sung to the tune of Oh Christmas Tree in an American-based football game, he demonstrated the need for protocol, even in situations we wouldn’t expect.
A life-changing event
TEDxWinnipeg is indeed a life-changing event, and when I tell people we will change the world it is no exaggeration.
As a result of a previous TEDxWinnipeg, AssentWorks (now North Forge Fabrication Lab) was created and is now the largest MakerSpace in Canada.
Derrick Baxter gave a talk last year on Native American Language Apps and has now helped over 30 tribes in Canada and the United States and revitalized Native American Languages.
To the audience, it is a performance that just works.
Like protocol, we started this year’s project at least six months ago with hours of meetings, arguments, tears and laughter. And it couldn’t have turned out better. The talks have the power to change lives, creates new businesses, help other businesses take-off and develop friendships that last a lifetime.
And we change the world.
Daniel Blair (Bitspace), Marney Stapley (me), and Dwight MacAuley (Government of Manitoba)
A packed house applauds.
Israel Idonije and I on stage for a quick photo.
Caity Curtis and Stephen Sim, Winnipeg improvisers and comedians, emceed the event.
Behind the scenes with the Speaker Committee
As mentioned, I have been on the Speaker Committee of TEDxWinnipeg for the last four years. Our process begins in January by finding people with a story that is: 1) interesting 2) never heard before and 3) from an expert in their field.
The Speaker Committee is comprised of a leader and five members. Each leader is assigned two to three speakers that we work with for about four months. This involved six rehearsals and numerous meetings, emails and sometimes middle of the night texts of reassurance.
The goal is to be a buddy to the speaker. We are their single point of contact and we help them to make a talk that will be one that could potentially change the lives of many. I do this for as long as I have because I see firsthand how it changes lives.
It isn’t just a presentation. It is so much more. It is speakers bearing their souls, and sometimes in a very raw manner. You’ll see me next year helping another speaker to change lives.
We’re fortunate to have a province filled with incredible minds who are taking innovative ideas to the next level. And there isn’t a better way to celebrate this community than through events like TEDxWinnipeg.
Did you attend this year’s TEDxWinnipeg? Tell us your highlights in the comments below. And if you’re craving even more inspiring talks, check out last year’s event coverage below: