Ted X (the X in this instance stands for Lausanne) is alive and very much provoking. The 2015 event held this week on the UNIL campus in Lausanne offered over 200 attendees a remarkably diverse selection of presentations in English. But this is to mislead – because it’s often not just the presenters who are important it’s their ideas as much as anything.
A dozen presenters shared their take on how to make things better for humanity. From the creepy to the heart-warming, participants were left musing ideas ranging from how to read super-fast to enhancing one’s charisma. The arts also hold an equally important place at TedX as science, the humanities and business. The mix risks being confusing and an unfocused mess, but the opposite was the case.
Ted delivered more than I had expected. My jaded views and my blasé intention to bail out after the break were firmly dispelled by the interactivity and stimulation that permeated the event. And the people! A bright, educated, enthusiastic, entrepreneurial, different and refreshingly authentic bunch all looking sincerely for change for the better. Ted is not a place where slick, super-smiling marketing geezers will smoothly convince you to lighten your wallet in return for their latest consumer “must have”.
The presentations most notable for being thought-provoking, enjoyable and embodying the Interface/Interact theme were all very different. There was Dan Acher an “artivist” from Geneva whose work focuses on creating happy cities by changing the way people engage both with their environment and with each other. You may have seen (and heard) his work around Geneva. His eclectic projects include pianos that anyone can play dotted around the city; and Neighbourhood Exchange Boxes also installed around town which spark countless personal encounters. In short Dan proposes a simple set of genius solutions to coax us away from modern self-centred, me-fixated behaviour.
Then there was the thoroughly absorbing (and frankly worrying) John Antonakis, a lecturer at UNIL, whose research has found that looks can determine a leader’s success. He believes that Charisma allows leaders to overcome the simplistic and connect more effectively with audiences via words and actions. He explained what charisma is, how it can be measured, why it matters, and how to deliver it – even through that most frugal of media – Twitter.
And offering a very different tone and pace was Théoriz, an art and technology studio founded by Jonathan Richter and David-Alexandre Chanel. It created an electrifying adaptation of its Noisy Skeleton piece especially for TEDX Lausanne which did what it said on the tin – “immerses the audience in a reality where images and sounds echo human motions in real time”.
According to Gabrielle Marie, a member of the Lausanne Bounces Association that licensed the event this year, selection of the presentations is key. Ideas can be submitted via the website and the selection is rigorously conducted by a panel. There are a few clear and unbreakable rules designed to ensure true creativity and relevance. Ted relies on high calibre volunteers to promote and run its events and anyone interested in being associated with this top quality organisation should get in touch.
The organisation is looking to organise a few smaller events during the year so look out for them.