During this Session, each participant was given only two minutes to get the crowd excited about their idea, creating a rapid-fire chain of proposals for the audience to think over.
At the end of the Session, audience members were asked to vote for the “pitcher” with the most compelling idea—pledging to have this project adopted and realized by the community.
Prior to the event, the team at TEDxFactory798 sifted through dozens of applications—all submitted by people anxious to share their ideas for a future China with the TEDx community. Somehow, they narrowed it down to just five, but surely it wasn’t easy.
Below, the five Beijingers selected to share their ideas at TEDxFactory798 on TEDxCity2.0 day, including the generator of the winning project:
—A writer who has been walking across China and Southeast Asia volunteering in rural schools during earthquakes, working in hospitals for AIDs sufferers, and assisting orphanage centers.
—A journalist who has been recording the changing values of younger generations in China for four years, and advocates that all citizens dedicate 20% of their energy to projects dedicated to making communities better places to live.
—A 21-year-old girl who lost her ability to speak after a car accident, but after 15 years of rehabilitation, began to speak again. She plans to create a website dedicated to sharing outstanding stories from regular Chinese citizens.
—A college student spreading the values of the liberal arts in rural China by asking citizens to eat a meal you dislike once every week. Through this, she believes people can learn to deal with things they don’t like, and learn to bear hardship and control fickle emotions.
—“Mr. Rice Wine,” a winemaker dedicated to the traditional method of Chinese rice-wine making, who hopes to meld the rural with the urban by opening a rice-wine museum in his hometown and a rice-wine shop in Beijing.
The selection was nail-biting. “Mr. Rice Wine even opened up a piece of graph specially prepared for canvassing,” said TEDxFactory798 organizer Ellen Cheng. “Ultimately [he] became the winner.”
“Mr. Rice Wine” shows the audience his plans.
Passionately, he told audiences:
“I am a peasant, originally from Hunan Province. I am 36 years old. I feel the relationship between city and countryside, should be like the black and white keys of the piano — only when they are in harmonious chords, matched well, can a piece be made.”
To encourage this harmony, “Mr. Rice Wine” hopes to integrate the culture of this traditional Chinese drink, historically associated with rural and peasant communities, with the modernity of the city, to spread appreciation of its artistry beyond village walls.
To do this, he will open a rice-wine shop in Beijing and a rice-wine museum in his rural hometown. He hopes the shop in Beijing will introduce city-dwellers to a piece of often-ignored Chinese culture, and that the rice-wine museum will introduce younger generations to the process and meaning behind it, in hopes that this crucial Chinese history will never be lost.
Action pitchers stand before the TEDx audience.
The pitches weren’t all about winning, though, Ellen said. “The most amazing part of the Action Pitch, for me, is that all the people speaking on the stage were part of the audience themselves,” she said. “That’s almost the spirit of the City 2.0 itself—like Web 2.0, the essence of City 2.0 lies in “user-generated” and “radical interaction.” We embody the belief that individual action can bring collective and colossal change.”
“Most of all, it’s calling for real action,” she said. “I think, for Mr. Rice Wine, the meaning of his winning is that he is taking action—that is he starting. The dream is being built, and we will all give him back-up.”