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Ideas Worth Spreading: Some Inspiration from TEDxToronto

Having been introduced to TED talks a few years ago, we here at Springboard Clinic admittedly assumed that most people have heard of them. So, when the TEDxToronto conference took place a week ago, we were a bit surprised but mostly excited to have the opportunity to explain to people that no, TED talks are not talks given by a guy named Ted, but are a series of speakers from the three worlds of Technology, Entertainment, and Design.

TED is a non-profit organization devoted to providing a “platform for exceptional ideas, and a catalyst for profound change”. Based on the concept that ideas have the power to “change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world”, their mission is to spread ideas. TED talks have attracted audiences from around the world, and are the place to be inspired and awed.

TEDxToronto is an independently planned and organized event, but is affiliated with TED and dedicated to that same philosophy of stimulating dialogue and sharing “ideas worth spreading”. This year, the theme of the conference was Alchemy – the “seemingly magical process of taking ordinary, common elements, usually of little value, and combining them to make something extraordinary of great value”. Based on this theme, TEDxToronto hosted a series of unbelievable speakers who shared their stories and ideas, from policy makers, CEOs, authors, and researchers, to Steven Page, formerly of the Barenaked Ladies. There was even a father-daughter duo who spoke about a video game they had created together, and the danger of underestimating children and their ability to create and use technology. Oh, did we mention that the girl was five years old?

There were many different ideas presented during the day, but the general theme that we noticed was a call to put the power back in the hands of people – we all have the ability to take a more proactive stance in our lives and in our communities, so we need to stop underestimating each other. This theme was threaded throughout the talks about e-health technology and giving people the power to take care of themselves, increasing resiliency in the face of adversity by stepping outside of your comfort zone, learning disabilities and not being content to just ‘adjust’ to the status quo, and so on.

We’re not able to do the talks justice, so our recommendation is to just see for yourself. The talks were not all available at the time of writing, but should be shortly. Be sure to check out the TED website as well for the most popular talks from conferences around the world – even if you have a few minutes to spare, there are talks as short as 3 minutes for you to check out.

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