When TEDx came to Norwich
  • 27 April 2012
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When TEDx came to Norwich

A review of inspirational speeches

We're lucky enough to have a client in City College Norwich (CCN) our local FE/HE establishment. In a rapidly changing world for education, CCN are a savvy bunch of thinkers who look beyond obvious channels to stand out from the crowd. They work hard to build their local profile, have strong links with an array of businesses and entrepreneurs, and turn long term ambitions into reality and ultimately student recruitment.

We were not therefore totally surprised when a meeting brought about a mention of hosting a TEDx event in Norwich. All things TED are held in high regard across many industries, with the notforprofit organisation devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It began in the form of a conference in 1984 bringing together three worlds: Technology, Entertainment and Design. TEDx may be localised and independent events, but there are hoops to be jumped through and much kudos to be gained at meeting the requirements necessary to host an event. As said, none of this is surprising that it was achieved by CCN.

I personally had not attended a TED event before, but the American webcasts I had viewed were always extremely loud and highly engaging affairs. I was slightly apprehensive to see how this would work with our more reserved British culture. This point was almost seconded by the theme of #TEDxCCN, which was Social Enterprise and Philanthropy in the 21st Century. Without doubt a challenging matter in today's world where it's so easy to tighten your belt and just close the door.

I shouldn't have worried. The eclectic mix of crowd from students to young businesses to old established heads added to the mix of the whole event, and the speakers drew in the audience in such an all consuming way that it felt only natural to join in with the growing enthusiasm.

The four speakers took to the floor for their precise 18 minute slots.

  • local social entrepreneur & business speaker @robertashton
  • JP Morgan Jr an intriguing American speaker who specialises in how we make connections in our everyday interactions and developments
  • Richard Morris who set up a moral affiliate scheme - The Giving Machine (@givingmachineUK)
  • Charley Johnson, a second American, who gave up the 'perfect' corporate life to promote life changing simple human acts via the 'Pay it Forward Movement', where it is asked that a good deed is returned, via its reciprocation to another.

I won't go into details as to the content, as all the speeches are online at tedxccn.com. I would highly recommend that you take time out of your day and have a watch. What I will say is that all were inspiring, thought provoking and massively engaging. And this was no ordinary business speaker network type event.

It was refreshing to hear spoken out loud how easy it is for our everyday connections to break down and what we can do to do something about it. That we can go about everyday life but still do our bit even if we're online shopping. And that it is possible to work together to make the world better, by simply caring more and taking general notice of those that every single different day touch our lives.

Yes it sounds idealistic and even errs on the side of sycophantic, but when you see the momentum that has been gained and read through some of the experiences posted via pifexperience.org it makes you feel slightly less cynical about the current state of play.

I left the event feeling cheered and uplifted that society was not necessarily doomed, that we should simply all be more aware of our surroundings and actions and all try and do our bit. It was as I would have expected from CCN, a well put on event and extremely pertinent and well thought through. It was a privilege to be a part of it.

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