With TEDxGlasgow now in its 5th year, we’re over the moon to have been able to experience the buzz and energy of the day for our third year running. The After Digital team were out in force again this year, with colleagues from both Glasgow and Manchester in attendance in the TEDx audience and some of us helping out behind the scenes as volunteers (not to mention our Head of Strategy, Cat who is part of the leadership team who run TEDxGlasgow year-round). To be honest, there’s far too much to cover in a simple blog, so here’s just some of our highlights from the day.
So, what happens at a TEDx event?
TEDx events can involve either a program of speakers, videos of previous talks or a mix of both - and that’s exactly what happened in Glasgow on Friday! This year’s theme ‘A Disruptive World’ challenged speakers and audience members to consider how disruption can be used as a force for positive change and innovation.
When the audience weren't captivated by the fascinating speakers, they were exploring super-cool interactive demonstrations and labs or traversing the Theatre Royal's beautiful spiral staircase and roof terrace (all crafted by Scottish workmen and materials) - where we all enjoyed tasty local treats from the likes of Vanilla Black & Tantrum Doughnuts (who closed their popular shop to come feed us gannets on the day). The stations and workshops offered everything from virtual reality to live 3D printing, hosted by a range of innovative local businesses such as Soluis, JP Morgan, Wildhearts, People Make Glasgow, Maklab, University of Glasgow, Innovation Centres, Nullmighty and more.
Mel, from our marketing team and who was also working with Cat on comms all day at TEDxGlasgow 2016, would like to thank Nullmighty for the bottle of whiskey they gave her as a prize for being the most active #TEDxGla2016 tweeter!
Talking about Twitter - did you hear that #TEDxGla2016 was trending at number one in the UK for more than 8 hours? That was all down to the sell out crowd present at the event, with a little help from the TEDxGlasgow comms volunteer team - half of which was made up of our very own Cat, Mel, Mhairi & Mike!
Now to hear more about the talks we had the pleasure of witnessing.
Ellis Watson, DC Thomson
"Don't eat, sleep and spectate your way through life."
Judging by the eruption on twitter, Ellis' talk was a lot of people’s highlight of the day. Taking the ‘disruptive world’ theme, he told us that it was up to ourselves (and only ourselves) to disrupt our lives for the better. Ellis challenged people to put down their smartphones, log off Facebook, “stop watching cats on YouTube”, question their routines, get out there and participate.
However the real sticking point of his talk was the idea that your destiny isn’t dependant purely on nature or nurture, but rather both. He illustrated how his life could have turned out very differently by telling his touching and inspirational story from birth through adoption to his reunion with his biological mother later in life - who it turned out was sitting in the front row of the crowd (cue tears all round) - who disrupted her life in order to bring him into the world.
James Watt, Brewdog
“Integrity is today’s currency.”
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so naturally James kicked off his 10am talk with a can of beer. Other than sipping cerveza, James told us how he believes that a business’ internal should equal their external, thus creating a “naked business”. Who said naked? By naked he meant that your company should break down the walls between you and your customers and in the process provide them with a sense of transparency that truly resonates. To put it simply, James said that “integrity is today’s currency”. Digital marketing is the obvious outlet to achieve this transparency and with the recent successes we’ve witnessed on the likes of Snapchat for business it’s easy to see where James is coming from.
Laura Beveridge, Who Cares Scotland
"We all just want to be loved.”
Following on from Ellis’ emotional insights, Laura brought the entire auditorium to tears again whilst talking about transforming the care system in Scotland, putting the children and people at the heart of everything, instead of cold processes and bureaucracy. Through her personal tales of her challenging time spent in care as a child, Laura showed us that no industry or sector is exempt from disruption and the status quo should never go unquestioned. Her talk was so powerful that it ended with a very well-deserved standing ovation from the full 1,200 audience members!
"They put me on the cover of Vogue when I couldn't afford to buy it.”
Pam Hogg highlighted the stark reality of her creative career in fashion and talked of how he father was her biggest influence turning everyday rubbish into magical creations. In an industry where catwalk outfits are worked to perfection and showcased in order to generate millions of dollars, we heard how Pam Hogg would often arrive at shows without her pieces even being completed and make her models wear signs that read ‘this collection is not for sale’ round their necks - talk about disruption, we loved it!
We can’t believe it's been a week already, but we can’t wait to put some of our learnings into practice and hear what’s in store for TEDxGlasgow 2017!
Here's what our team had to say
“I've been part of the team that runs TEDxGlasgow for 3 years now and am delighted that AD has been so supportive of both me and the organisation throughout this time. This year's event was absolutely incredible, full of energy and a true inspiration. I'm incredibly thankful to everyone who helped make the day such a success and to my comms volunteers who really knocked it out the park.”
- Cat Leaver, Head of Strategy at After Digital and Comms Lead at TEDxGlasgow
“Well done to the TEDxGlasgow team who all work incredibly hard to make these events as far reaching and exciting as possible and year-on-year we've witnessed them getting even bigger and better. For the past few years various members of the team have attended and volunteered, but I was pleased to take the whole Glasgow team, and even some of our Manchester members (and partners), along to this year's event. What an energising and emotional day - we can't wait for next year!”
- David Johnstone, Managing Director at After Digital
Want to know a little more about TED and TEDx?
What is TED and why does it exist?
With its first conference back in 1984, TED is a non-profit organisation with the sole mission of delivering short yet powerful messages from the movers and shakers of the world. The aim - to inspire positive change.
With the TED part covered, what does the x mean?
In order to project the message even further, TED took the conscious decision to open their brand up to local influencers. In short, TEDx is essentially TED’s international franchise programme. In doing so, not only did they enhance their global reach, they provided communities in over 190 countries with more than 12,000 events, in 49 different languages - an impressive expansion to say the least.