Crowds are gathering for technology talk from TED

Crowds are gathering for technology talk from TED

Curiosity gets the better of Marc West who attends a global phenomenon that is challenging the way our world thinks

Only recently was I introduced to Ted. Who’s he, you may ask – as did I, much to the amusement of my more tech-savvy friend.

Well, TED is actually a global phenomenon that is changing the way our world thinks. Established in 1984, this non-profit organisation is dedicated to discussing the three emerging fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design and has since become a universal hub of intellectual curiosity. So, when the opportunity to experience a whole host of these now legendary talks first-hand arose, I just had to satisfy mine.

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Independently organised by students from Oxford University, TEDxOxford differs from other events in one major way: instead of the one-day conference being exclusively for the leaders of today’s world, this sold-out audience consisted of nearly 2,000 of the most passionate, engaging and innovative youths – the leaders of tomorrow’s world.

Hosted for the fifth successive year at George Street’s New Theatre, a dozen ground-breaking individuals – including an F1 engineer, a clean water activist and a best-selling author – utilized TED’s innovative format of “18 minutes of inspiration” to enlighten us on a world of ideas.

I’ll admit some of it went straight over my head. But, it’s really all about exploring opportunities to spark conversation and if you take just one pearl of wisdom away, then it’s fulfilled its remit. Their passion made my heart swell and left my mind blown! You get the feeling that this ever-expanding community really is capable of anything.

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Acclaimed screenwriter Ewan Morrison explained why our Utopian dreams will only leave us miserable, James Humberstone composed a Wagnerian dubstep masterpiece live onstage and Theodore Zeldin provided a fitting finale entitled The Art of Being a Couple.

The adorable Oxford-based professor is a world leader on the study of happiness – a subject that no university (currently) teaches. He describes himself as “an explorer of what we can do but have not yet done” – encouraging us to converse with strangers and in doing so discover the world. His witty and wise words neatly sum up the entire ethos of this enlightened exchange of ideas. And, while we may not have left with all the answers, I for one was certainly inspired to at least now ask the questions.

For details about next year’s conference and how you could get involved visit tedxoxford.co.uk. In the meantime, be sure to download the TED app to your smartphone – then you can carry these little pearls of wisdom with you wherever you go.

If all this inspirational talk has left you hungry for even more, I know just the place for the incurably curious. Held annually at Said Business School, Oxford Inspires is the city’s largest conference of innovation – encouraging us to meet, learn and network. Taking place across this weekend – with speakers including Sir Patrick Head and Lord Karan Bilimoria – it’s an ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in an entrepreneurial ecosystem.