Thursday, October 1, 2009

TEDx Columbus - coming to town - the background

Milligan Communications » Blog Archive » TEDx Columbus

(After a sabbatical of sorts, I’m back to work. Coming off of the busy summer, a vacation and a child starting school demanded a break in most things routine like my blog entries here.)

I noted in an earlier post that I had an idea around TED, the conference that blasts out ideas worth spreading. TED, standing for Technology, Entertainment and Design, has intrigued me for a while as their TEDTalks are nothing short of mind-bending. They have now welcomed topics around public policy, medicine, science, and humanitarianism causes among others. On there are nearly 500 amazing talks archived; if you haven’t watched one, I encourage you to do so NOW.

So I’ll now admit that idea was not mine, but TED’s, to license their brand and experience for local communities to embrace. I got energized by the concept of finding people in Columbus who were “TED” worthy. For 20 years, I was quietly jealous of my dad’s affiliation with a local group that gave papers once a month on topics unrelated to their professions. I would have joined, but women were excluded. My degree in college was Speech Communication and as a single person in the 90s, my roommates would find me watching college graduation speeches on CSPAN. I decided this TED adventure was a great merger of all of my passion for my hometown and critically listening to compelling ideas from captivating speakers.

In June I was granted the license, after good friends Jack Jackson & Sherri Geldin at the Wexner Center agreed to be the host the event (on October 20), and Nancy Kramer from resource agreed to be my co-curator. Nancy has been to 4 TED conferences; she among all involved understand both the challenges and the power of a TED event. I’m grateful for Dave Ungar, Mike Curtin and Doug Kridler who are offering needed thought power (let’s face it, I’m skating in territory that may be above my pay grade) in the curatorial duties.

As we set forth in the next two weeks to try to finalize a speaker list (think about how a curator of an art exhibit must look at a lifetime of work of an artist and choose one piece to present) and establish guidelines for attendees, I’ll hope that this isn’t a vortex preventing me from doing my day job - but an opportunity and experience I’ll want to have again. And I will be front and center on October 20, ready to have my hair raised and head turned by half dozen of our most talented thinkers in town.

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