All posts tagged TEDx

taking a TEDx break

Taking A TEDx Break | Resetting The Sights

taking a TEDx break

Why TEDxWellington isn’t happening this year.

A few weeks ago I had to share with the TEDxWellington leadership team that I needed to take a break. A venue had already booked for the 2018 event and we were days away from announcing. It was a tough but right decision to make.

For a little over 6 years I’ve been the licensee / creative producer for 5 main TEDx events here in Wellington, plus the two livestream TEDxWomen events and also 8 Salon evening events (which keep the community engaged in between the main ones plus celebrate the success of our previous speaker / performers). Every event has been sold out and all finances are run through the xWellington Charity (which was set up with myself and fellow trustees Helen and Hannah).

*The chunky time commitment has also been matched by a personal monetary investment with three trips to attend two TEDActives (the first to enable us to get the city license and name) and one TEDFest (whereby nearly every other TEDx organiser I spoke to knew about our creative efforts with the TEDx format, specifically our 2016 trust event which sold out in two minutes flat, did things no other TEDx had ever dared and got featured on ted.com).

So why take a break now?

Especially after the massive success of last years 1,000 strong event (with 5,000 souls watching online)!

Well, it came down to three reasons:

  • needing to pay the rent—as you can imagine producing events at that scale is a full time job in itself. Under the TEDx rules (see General > Funds) no TEDx and its organisers are allowed to make money as it’s a voluntary venture only. Very much agree and champion this, although, at the moment there are other things which need to take priority (like paying the rent sustainably);
  • reciprocal energies—on occasions we’ve literally had to expend so much energy just to get access to certain venues or to available dates that it impacted on other aspects of our endeavours. We were hoping for a growing support from certain sections of the community based on the demonstrative success achieved rather than diminishing assistance. Obviously, big learning opportunities for doing things differently to get different results, and another reason to take a break to reflect on future strategies;
  • continued impact momentum—with any growth you certainly don’t want to retract and the 2018 plans, due to some odd factors, meant we were left looking at significantly reducing the event size (which would have a massive negative effect on other areas like sponsor / partner agreements). As a capital city event we were hoping to continue the legacy building and I’m certainly not interested in leading something that is less.

So the public announcement was made at our last community Salon event and the feedback was vastly positive plus highly compassionate.

Special thanks to the leadership team who have been so courteous in supporting my decision as it came so late in the day.

After a few months sights will be realigned for the 2019/2020 events and a slow run up will begin with new ideas / approaches to hopefully get to that desired different outcome.

Efforts will be made to gain support for a sustainable TEDx in the nations capital, a cornerstone in the calendar which uniquely amplifies the regions talent through the talks / performances / global platform, continue to build the social capital via the amazing community, plus proceeds to provides opportunities for the organisers to craft experiences that develop our city’s reputation as forward thinkers and audacious doers (and all the while developed / delivered by volunteers).

*financial support was received from a TEDxWellington sponsor for the first TEDActive to cover flight costs plus contributions from the charity towards attendance / accommodation costs also.

TEDxWellington 2017 Videos | Giving Voice

A labour of love.

For the past 9 months TEDxWellington has been a massive focus of mine. Above are the final thirteen talks which are the highly public product of the event and which rock!

As the licensee, my job is to be across all aspects of development and delivery whilst ensuring all the rules are adhered to plus also build / communicate / inspire the volunteer delivery team to deliver upon the vision (on top of leading the speaker coaching as well).

Phew!

The reason I devote so much of my time to such an endeavour which none of us get any kind of monetary remuneration for, is to give people voice.

There’s the obvious voices on the stage but also those in the audience who to come together and experience a TEDx event, then share as a community plus discuss and connect around the topics presented. There’s also enabling a core team of disparate strangers to collaborate and build something within the confines of the format. And finally, there’s the idea of giving a city an expressive platform to illustrate its own wonderful story (as most of our speakers / performers are always drawn from the region itself).

This year was all about scaling:

  • to a 1,000 person event
  • the team to deliver such a beast
  • in the complexity of interactions between all of the above

Along with my co-organiser Hannah, the learning and insights of what to do and equally, what not to do, also expanded in scale.

Even though nearly every external aspect of the event was a success, there’s always stuff to improve upon and do better, and there are many aspects to change and tweak for the next annual event in 2018 (with a few adjustment to trial with the upcoming TEDxWellingtonWomen event in November).

And as I start to reflect further and write up the review blog post for the event plus finish off the finer details like paying invoices, following up with partners / sponsors, ensuring all the speakers are happy etc., I can’t help but feel that twinge of excitement for next year, as hungry to revisit the theme of doing something unique like in 2016.

Life’s to short not to be audacious!

TEDxWellington 2017 Review | Our Closing Perspective

Hacking The Red Circle | Learnings From TEDxWellington

A chance to share our inside story to the wider TEDx community.

I’ve been volunteering as a TEDx organiser for five years.

Last year we did something special with TEDxWellington which we recently found out was being shared by the senior folks at TED with other event organisers, globally.

Enter, Mark Sylvester, another TEDx organiser and keen to champion the efforts of folks behind these events with his new podcast:

Hacking The Red Circle is a podcast created for and about TEDx Organizers and the TEDx Universe.

Was wonderful to celebrate also the voice and efforts of my collaborator and co-organiser of 2016 and current 2017 event, Hannah Wignall. Would also like to shine the light on the other actioneers in the TEDxWellington team who all give their time voluntarily to ensure the capital city and its community gets a fantastic event.

Thank you Mark for throwing your time and energy behind curating the voices and in effect the passion which makes this global event series such a success.

Oh and we’re again doing something special for TEDxWellington 2017 (again).

TEDxWellington 2016 | Trusting In Trust

TEDx experiences should be special.

The above was special. It was scary. And hopeful.

To be part of the TEDxWellington team who volunteered and put this together will remain a creative and significant high point in my life.

We started with an idea of trust which soon became a real action to be taken as more and more people (as part of building an event on this scale) had to be bought into the ‘inner circle’. Not one person let us down.

It was a year we intentionally stepped beyond our comfort zone, and:

  • sold out in 2minutes
  • tripled the amount of speakers / performer applications
  • doubled the livestream count
  • tripled the amount of volunteer applications
  • nailed something which has never been tried before with a TEDx event

Read about the other things we did in the TEDxWellington 2016 Review | The Story Of Trust blog post.

Oh and just wait till you hear what we got planned next year.

ADDENDUM 18.3.16: our little event got covered on the TEDx Innovations blog on ted.com.

TEDxWellington 2015 | Daring Acts Of Trust

2015 TEDxWellington

Today we announced the theme / date / call for speakers & performers for this years TEDxWellington.

This will be my fourth as lead producer of a TEDx event (not counting TEDxWellingtonWomen which I’m the license holder for although only mentoring the team there). Each previous event has sold out and built on the success of the previous one in terms of quality, scale plus experiential design.

The TEDx event format has a great deal of rules governing it’s production. This, quite rightly, ensures continuity of brand quality and assures the ethos remains intact (that of, ‘ideas worth sharing’).

“When I have something to work against, it liberates my imagination”
Jørgen Leth

This year, with TEDxWellington, we’re trying something which has never been done before (to our knowledge): we’re not sharing the most important parts of the event. That being the:

  • location
  • speakers / performers
  • exact number of tickets
  • programme for the day
  • breakout session details

Why?

It’s an experiment. A journey. An attempt to explore the ‘what if’ which was thrown out to the team who then made it better and gave it back. To bank in some of the trust from the previous years events and believe in the adventurous side of our community.

Here’s to trying something daring!

UPDATE (27.5.15): Here’s some stats from the first 24hours after our announcement:

24hrs updated

TEDx NZ Community | Open Sourcing Improvement

take the idea

An attitude and invitation.

When I first gained the TEDx license for Wellington, one of the best illustration of this great community came from the then license holder of TEDxQueenstown. Was attending their first event and commented how much I liked something they did, here was the response:

Take the idea. Make it better. Give it back.

It’s become a utility phrase for so many creative situations and always provokes a positive response.

Thank you Cesar.

Image credit and check out the NZ-based TEDx events coming up

TEDActive 2014 | A Review

nz tedx organisers

On the TEDActive stage with four other NZ TEDx organisers (left to right): Kaila Colbin (of TEDxChristchurch), Arturo Pelayo (of TEDxAuckland), Sheldon Nesdale (of TEDxTauranga), Trent Yeo (of TEDxQueenstown).

TEDActive is home to the curious souls and brave doers—a six day cacophony of delight and wonder.

A rich global citizenry of awesomeness and actioneers; gathered around a TED-orbit to collide magnificently in a blossom of conversations / intentions / hopes / purposes etc

Personally, hugs and listening were the currency of the week, and by the end, I felt ‘stretched’ by the experience in a way that I’ll never return to the original state.

Thank you TED and all the people who attended / shared / provoked / talked / listened / drank / sang / danced / signed / smiled / questioned / laughed / cried / hugged / high-fived / hid / exalted / winked / gave / took etc.

Here’s a sprinkling of some choice-quotes from the many talks which struck a chord for some reason or another:

The best vision to see the future is peripheral vision.
Nicholas Negroponte

Don’t tap into your design expertise but your humanity.
Amanda Burden

Leadership is a choice not a rank.
Simon Sinek

The cost of innovation is nearly zero.
Joi Ito

If you banish the dragons, you banish the heroes.
Andrew Solomon

Want to know anything specific? Leave a question in the comments below.