Ideas and action in the desert: the TEDx Workshop at TEDActive

imagePhoto: Michael Brands

Every year, 700 curious and energetic leaders share an immersive week of TED Talks and experiences designed to inspire conversation, exchange and immediate action around ideas worth spreading at TEDActive in Palm Springs.

Among this group of wild and crazy changemakers are many, many TEDx organizers, who come together from all corners of the globe to take part in the annual TEDx Workshop at TEDActive. Here, organizers from almost every continent share ideas, food, conversation, and probe the minds of several brave TED staffers.

imageTED’s Kelly and Rives open the 2012 workshop. Photo: Michael Brands

Activities at this workshop include brainstorms organized by region; presentations by organizers on all the amazing things happening at TEDx events dotting the map — in places close to or thousands miles away from Palm Springs; sessions on  TEDx need-to-knows; and Q&As with and presentations by official TED staff.

imagePhil Klein of TEDxRanier raises a hand to ask a question. Photo: Michael Brands

Last year, over 250 TEDx organizers, from over 45 countries, gathered in the desert to envision the future of TEDx and the power of the collective TEDx community.

imageTEDx organizers use umbrellas to shade themselves from the desert sun during a brainstorming session. Photo: Michael Brands

One attendee, Areej Mehdi of TEDxKinnaird in Lahore, Pakistan, said of her experience at TEDActive in 2011:

It is perhaps, only at TEDActive that you can be inspired all ‘round the clock—an entire five days…The sense of rejuvenation that I felt as I came across the hard work and effort so many people are putting into their TEDx events all over the world is humbling and awe-inspiring to say the least.”

imageTEDx’ers explore the natural landscape of the Coachella Valley in Palm Springs. Photo: Michael Brands

The power of the TEDx Workshop lies in the power of TED — sharing ideas worth spreading — and when TEDx organizers come together, amazing ideas are spread — from culture to culture, community to community. Or as, Saad Hamid, TEDxMargalla organizer, puts it, “What’s the x in TEDx? Many ask…I believe that x is the mystery ingredient found in all TEDx organizers around the world. It is what encourages them to create marvels within their community, discover and present new ideas, and create a long-lasting change — all at no cost.”

imageOrganizers share a meal and conversation at the Sunnylands estate at the end of the day. Photo: Michael Brands

So, with February and TEDActive (February 25 - March 1, 2013) soon approaching, it is only a matter of weeks until the sea of good ideas comes from the intrepid and dedicated TEDx’ers descending onto the desert, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

TEDx at TEDActive Experiences #6: Many stories

Ellen Cheng is the organizer of TEDxFactory798, and is also a recently appointed TEDx Ambassador in China. This is her experience from Wednesday, February 29th at TEDActive. 

The surprise of TED today starts at the very beginning. The Lab session struck everyone with the most incredible power of science and technology. Regina Dugan shared her marvelous projects in DARPA and encouraged people to embrace nerds…The talk is not only about reasons and inspiration, but tells a perfect story of failure and achievement. 

TED is about story. Absolutely TED today tells an splendid story. From the robot playing music, to Karen Bass’s amazing documentary; From Reid Hoffman’s deep thought over network and entrepreurship , to Mayor Eduardo Paes’s passions and real actions on creating a new city. 

As all of TEDx organizers know that each TEDx also tell a story, and the TEDx community itself has been contributing to narrating this story. Lior Zoref, with his dream to speak at TED from TEDxTelAviv. He used social network to make his dream come true, ultimately with help from friends. The best part should be the ox weight experiment, and he used the crowd wisdom to get the right number. 

While Lior Zoref’s point is to demonstrate the power of crowd — it reminds me of what we are going for TEDx. TEDx has been a fabulous crowd. I still remember what Chris Anderson said on the stage previously — TEDx has been growing so fast, it’s out of control, but loss of control should be the real point for TED. 

But the biggest surprise is TEDPrize Winner: City 2.0. The magic of City 2.0 is it’s the perfect integration of the four sessions today: the lab, the earth, the crowd, and the city. It;s about the Lab of reinventing city, the Earth of greening city, the Crowd of caring city. And the most significant part of City 2.0 is its call for local community. The City 2.0 concept belongs to everyone who love and want to fully engage with own local community.

Gospel for Teens drew a full end for today. I laughed and cried and laughed again with them. It’s them who request again that story never ends.