The lovely John Hunter scored us free tickets for TEDxSheffield 2011. I was ecstatic.
The theme was Disruption. As Chris Dymond, one of the organisers (and excellent compere), put it, a sexier title than ‘novelty’ or ‘new’. Fair point.
In essence, change. Rocking the boat. Anti-status-quo (not the band though, my soon-to-be mother-in-law would not like that at all).
A creative destructionist, a brilliantly complex idea distilled into a succinct 15-minute talk. The one take-away phrase that really stood out to me was:
People need to be in a catastrophic situation to embrace change.
It’s so true. People are creatures of habit. It makes evolutionary sense: keep doing what you’re doing as it’s gotten you this far and you’re still alive – if you change it who knows where you’ll end up!
That’s the risk. You don’t know. It could be worse; but it could be so much better.
I LOVED this talk. But then I love the subject matter (I’ve turned into a bit of a personal development junkie, let’s be honest now).
It’s a familiar tale presented in a clear format. Answer these four questions to get clear on your Personal Vision:
- What are my Core Values?
- What is my Higher Value? (why do i exist?)
- What is my Audacious Goal? (where am I going? (+deadline!))
- What are my Core Qualities? (this is probably a blind spot! what are you so good at you just assume that everyone else is too? Ask a friend.)
When all these answers come into alignment (Venn diagrams on a postcard please**!), that’s your personal vision.
Why do you need a personal vision though? It’s ‘a way to create real and sustainable change in organisations and individuals’.* And also it gives you a great reason to keep getting up in the morning.
Brendan is the instigator of a truly lovely project: Storying Sheffield.
The main takeaway from this presentation (apart from the brilliance and effectiveness of the project) was the statement that “Universities should be porous”. Honestly, there’s a whole other article in this one single statement.
Adrian’s talk was inspiring. He actually apologised for being negative at the start but I took nothing away but a positive vision of the future of technology.
His basic premise is that ‘Technology is about labour-saving’. For certain tasks, and that task pool is rapidly growing, computers are just better than people.
They’re cheaper, more efficient, faster, quieter, etc. It’s a no-brainer. Apparently now there’s even a program that can write sports reviews, and whilst it’s not as good as the best human writers, it’s certainly better than the worst. It’s happening very soon (maybe right now) in film music (ugh). Some would argue it’s already happening (oh quit your griping ).
My takeaway from this is that we should expect computers to be able to do all our jobs very, very soon and put some serious thought into our exit strategy/find other ways to make ourselves useful (note to self…).
I plan to take these thoughts further in another post, there’s sooo much mileage in this…
Another point from Adrian was priceless. In a creative industry,”Where do you get your ideas?” has to be the most common question.
His answer was simple: We get them from each other.
Therefore… we owe a creative debt. In not so many words, he encouraged us all to share the love. As you were helped out to get where you are today, so too you can help out those who are just starting out, give a leg up to the deserving, help out a friend with a contact or two.
The other talks by Lee Strafford, Joe Cohen, Simona Francese, Tony Kennick and Tom Bloxham were all equally engaging and fascinating.
The afternoon was marred only by the angry glares of the next screening’s audience, waiting outside in hordes to see Tinker Tailor. A pissed-off Sheffielder is one of the scariest things IN THE WORLD. Terrifying. Now imagine 400 of them.
I mean, come on Showroom, maybe you need to take a wee look at your scheduling?
Afterwards, my was brain nicely frazzled from new, disruptive ideas and that lovely warm, fuzzy feeling that there’s hope for humanity after all. All I wanted to do was go somewhere quiet and process the data, to swim around in it for a bit. So we passed on the after show party (though I hear it was a blast!) and traipsed up to The Great Gatsby on Division St for in-depth natters (and a vodka or two to prevent overclocking some well-stretched neurons )
*from the TEDxSheffield.com site
** ‘answers on a postcard’ was a constant refrain on children’s telly when I was a little ‘un. It occurs to me that it’s only in the vocabulary now of people of a certain age (ie mine)… perhaps I should say ‘answers in an email/tweet/G+ status update…’