Anja Waleson 05/24/12
TEDxROI and the Power of X
With the help of a Micro Grant, ROIer Anja Waleson had the opportunity to attend the TEDxSummit in Doha, Qatar along with a few fellow ROIers.Ever wondered what it would be like to give an ROI-infused Open Space style 'Unconference' session of rock paper scissors and speed networking in the desert? That's exactly what Beto, Lindsay and I did with TEDxOrganizers from all over this wild and wonderful world.
You might wonder, what were we doing in the desert (and hadn't we been through that whole shpiel before)? We ROI-unioned in Doha, Qatar for an extraordinary opportunity to participate in the TEDxSummit along with more than 600 TEDxOrganizers. The TEDxSummit was the first ever combination of a TED conference and several intensive TEDxWorkshops for TEDxOrganizers. With the support of an ROI micro grant we were able to come together in real life and connect with the TED team and TEDxOrganizers from all over the world.
Let's backtrack for a moment here. As you might have heard through the cybergrapevine, TED is all about ideas worth spreading. A few years ago the people at TED realized that their exclusive conferences in Palm Springs and Long Beach were bursting at the seams and they needed to scale in a sensible way. Of course, they had been sharing their 1100+ TEDtalks (viewed more than 700 million times) at TED.com (here are some of my favorite TEDtalks). Besides expanding to TEDGlobal, TEDWomen and TEDYouth, they also wanted to empower passionate TEDheads around the world to create their own TED events in their communities. So they introduced this TEDx program two and a half years ago (the x stands for independently organized TED event). TEDx empowers people to create TED events in their own communities and provide a platform for local unheard voices of innovation and inspiration. Ever since the kickoff of the TEDx program in June 2009, more than 3500 TEDxEvents have been organized from Buenos Aires to Berlin, Soweto to Seoul and Johannesburg to, very soon, Jerusalem.
At the TEDxSummit, TEDCurator Chris Anderson explained the evolution of what the x stands for. While it started off as refering to a superscript, the x quickly became a multiplier of ideas, connections and communities. TED taps into a deep human need to connect and share through the power of storytelling while warming our hands and hearts around a campfire. He compared the passionate people that invest their scarce time and abundant energy into creating TEDxEvents and communities to firestarters; Those that spark curiosity, creativity and connectivity by bringing people together to share their ideas, dreams and visions.
Inspired by this expanding global community of TEDxFirestarters, I’m excited to share with you that several TEDloving ROI'ers came together with an extraordinary idea worth sharing and doing: to bring TED to Jerusalem. TEDxJerusalem aims to give voice to the exceptional, creative and visionary byexpressing the mosaic of innovation and wisdom that embodies the spirit of Jerusalem. At the ROI summit 2011 Michalya, Beto, Lindsay and yours truly joined forces, high fived this idea, continued to expand our dreamteam with ROI'ers (most recently with Liz Nord & Brachie Sprung) and together we have been working our tucheses off to create the first ever TEDxJerusalem which will take place on November 8th, 2012 at the YMCA in Jerusalem.
At the TEDxSummit I was reminded that what is exceptional about the TEDxCommunity is that it is based on trust; trust in people to create extraordinary events, to cultivate ideas worth spreading and doing, to connect ideas, individuals and communities. One of the core pillars of the ROI Community is its focus on reciprocity. What TED and ROI share is that they are dynamic, evolving and expanding communities with a strong emphasis on empowering people to connect and create. I feel blessed to be involved in two incredible communities where passionate people create meaningful connections together based on trust and reciprocity. Both communities have a lot to offer each other and I'm positive that TEDxJerusalem will continue to be the x which connects the TEDxROI communities. Both TED and ROI understand that the real magic happens when you bring passionate people together to create a trust based community. That magic spark is what I would call the power of X.
If you feel inspired to become involved in TEDxJerusalem and join a passionate team of TEDxROI firestarters (e.g. by volunteering, by suggesting speakers, by sharing your ideas, by hosting a livestream simulcast in your communities), please find more information on our website and join the conversation by following us on Facebook and Twitter.