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TEDx Dublin by Ann Treacy
March 14, 2010, 9:43 am
Filed under: Dublin

TED is an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. “TED” stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. Maybe you’ve seen some of the videos – they are all available online and they are really interesting! TEDx is an independent TED event. We attended the third such event hosted at the Science Gallery. Apparently it sold out in 15 minutes! But I’m that good I scored us tickets.

Here were the live speakers (one presentation was a video of a past TED speaker (Ken Robinson); none were dead as I realized the last statement might imply):

  • Margaret Wertheim, The Institute for Figuring – She started a project crocheting coral reef. Apparently crochet is the perfect medium because of hyperbolic geography in both. We’ll be learning a lot more as that’s the next exhibit at the Science Gallery.
  • Luke O’Neill, Professor in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology – he talked about how immunology has changed in the last 15 years. How they have been able t understand that the “inactive” part of the immune system is actually more important than the “active” and how they are creating new proteins to help the immune system protect humans.
  • Mark Cummins, Creator of Plink – He created a visual search engine application. You snap a shot of a work of art and the search engine can tell you what it is no matter how crappy the snapshot is. Very interesting to hear how they are teaching computers to learn images.
  • Simon Berrow, Founder of Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation – He talked about basking sharks and how they/he realized that you can get their DNA through their slime. Basking sharks are also called sunfish. They aren’t like sturgeon, but like sturgeon they are endangered and largely unknown.
  • Damini Kumar, Programme Director of Product Design at NUI Maynooth and Ireland’s Ambassador for the 2009 European Year of Creativity and Innovation – She created the drip-less teapot and talked about lateral thinking.

Each speaker has 18 minutes to talk about their thing. The focus, if there is one, seems to be on creativity and innovation. Or at least each talked about how they were able to be creative or innovative. I don’t know how interesting it is to have me paraphrase the talks, but here are a few things I noted:

  1. Each seemed to define creativity or innovation as a unique thought that provides value.
  2. One speakers said if you’ve failed, you probably aren’t being creative. It was remarked that America was more accepting of failure than Europe and that kids kind of get that freedom to fail knocked out of them in school.
  3. All of the speakers had a deep passion for what they did. Each knew the history, the science and the mythology of their industry as well as the ins and outs of their specific invention or innovation.
  4. They all started with research and motivation.
  5. Collaboration was also key. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel – but there may be ways you can make the wheel better.

It was a great night. All of the speakers were amazing. You’d think that given the jobs each had that there’d be some that were way more interesting to me than others – but each had that super passion that draws you in – even if you’d never really heard of a basking shark before. (Now I was to go to Donegal to see them!)

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[…] I’ve been a fan for a while but I have a renewed interest after attending a TEDx event at the Science Gallery in Dublin last week. TEDx are independent TED events. I wrote a post on it on our family blog, which may or may not be worth reading – but I will tell you that the presentations were great because the presenters had such a passion for what they did. I know a ton more about basking sharks after the event: https://10qs.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/tedx-dublin/ […]

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