April 05, 2012
Kate Pope Hodel, KCSourceLink
TEDxChange: The Big Picture
Kansas City continues to talk about innovation adn change, with the latest a TEDxChange event today at the Nelson Atkins Museum. The program included an international broadcast from Berlin and a live closing talk by a "poet thief." For details on the presenters, go to http://www.ted.com/tedx/events/4498.
Jeff Chapin talked about minimizing diarrhea in southeast Asia through better latrines. A designer, he focused on design as a way of enabling conversation. He had six key points:
- build upon cultural norms
- look for analogous models: for them it was how people build basic houses and then improve; build a basic latrine and then improve
- prototypes must be culturally relevant (listen for subleties in conversations)
- listen to lead users
- be open to serendipity; be flexible to adapt from mistakes
- work on the process as well as the product; make it easy for people to buy/use/engage
Sven Giegold discussed green strategies for energy and the power of collective action. In Germany, Holy Thursday is called Green Thursday and he challenged the audience to think of today as a jumping off place in the discussion.
A group of young Indian kids from a very poor area of India has been working on getting their community vaccinated for polio. A video update on the project revealed that they'd gotten up to 80% but were shooting for 100%, which included mapping the community so they'd know what houses they had missed. Google didn't have them on the map. The smart phones and GPS technology allowed them to upload house to house data. And then they talked about how other communities could do the same. "If you can put on a big festibal, you can work together to solve problems."
Thea Sowa talked about how many discussions of HIV/AIDS/economy in African do not include African women in the discussion. Women are talked about but are not included in the conversation; and if they are, only a few select women are invited. "If we have to wait for African women to win a Nobel Peace Prize before they get a place at the table, we'll wait a very long time." Her presentation closed with music by Senegalese singer Baaba Maal.
Melinda Gates closed with a great presentation on why contraception should get back on the world health agenda. She focused on why contraception should be a couple's choice, why people don't want to talk about it, and how most of the world has 66% use of contraception, with the exception of sub Saharan Africa and parts of Southeast Asia, where she believes couples would make similar choices if they had education and access.
The final presentation was live, by Austin Kleon, talking about imagination and creativity. He says that artists are collectors, not hoarders; the collect selectively the things that they love. Then he went on to tell his story of writer's block, and how he started blacking out words of newspaper articles to create poems - the Newspaper Blackout process. He compared it to CIA files that are released to the public. When his book came out, someone told him he was stealing from a guy named Tom Phillips. After some research, he discovered that Tom Phillips borrowed ideas from William Burroughs...and then traced the whole thing back through several "thieves" to a friend of Benjamin Franklin. His point: nothing is completely original...everything is a remix or mash up. He closed by saying "imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery...transformation is flattery." He challenged the audience to take the ideas we get today, transform them and put them out into the world for others to steal.
The next big TEDxKC event is Aug. 28 at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center.
And here's a final thought...when you are watching a broadcast talk, do you clap for people who can't hear you?