It's Christmas for Creatives: TEDxPhoenix is Tonight!

Tonight is my Christmas. It’s a night I’ve been waiting for a long time. That special day when a red and white icon enters your life and leaves you with gifts beyond your imagination. Yes, I know that Christmas is almost two months away (although judging by the number of displays in the big box stores already you’d think it is a lot sooner). The icon in red and white I’m excited about is not Santa Claus, but rather TED logo and the gifts are amazing ideas that will be shared at tonight’s TEDxPhoenix.

TED stands for Technology, Education and Design. It is an non-profit organization dedicated to “Ideas Work Spreading”  Starting in 1984, they have held high-profile annual conferences in Long Beach California and Oxford, UK, each year, as well as a new TED India conference that is occurring now in Mysore, India.  At these event,  some of the best and brightest in their fields gather to share their ideas and spread their passions.  For those of us not able to attend the events in person, TED has a great website where you can watch the  best of talks and performances from these (and other) events.

A more recent addition to they TED repertoire are the TEDx community events. TEDx enables local communities organizations such as schools, businesses, libraries, neighborhoods or just groups of friends to organize, design and host their own independent, TED-like events. Ever since I heard about the TEDx concept, I have dreamed that it would come to Phoenix. Well my dreams are answered.  TEDxPhoenix is happening TONIGHT at 6 pm in the Ikeda Theater at the Mesa Center for the Arts.

I can’t wait to attend. TEDxPhoenix represents a “dream team” of 6 of Arizona’s leading thinkers and doers brought together to “inspire, enlighten, and entertain via ideas worth spreading.” In 18 minutes, each speaker will give the talk of their lifetime as they share their newest and most unique ideas in plain English. Local organizer, Tomas Carrillo has described TEDxPhoenix as a “Cirque du Soleil for the mind,” One presentation I‚Äôm especially looking forward to, given my interest in community gardens, is Urban Farm founder and sustainability guru, Greg Peterson. A full list of speakers can be found here or here.

But the main reason I‚Äôm looking forward to tonight is not the presentations (afterall, anyone can watch TED talks online), but a rather the opportunity to hang out with the creative, innovative and community oriented people who TED attracts. It is events like this that illustrate that Phoenix is more than strip malls and golf courses. Indeed Phoenix is becoming know as an “opportunity oasis‚” a city that encourages people to follow their passions and create. As a result the city has some amazing talent. Alas, given the sprawling geography, it is sometimes hard to connect with each other. Events like TEDxPhoenix help overcome this geography.

Moreover, as an acquaintance of mine, Pamela Slim wrote in her Escape from Cubicle Nation blog: “When you come to a place where people are sharing good ideas, you will ask yourself‚ ‘what good ideas do I have to share?'” This has been my experience.

Me at IgnitePhx 5.  Photograph by Scot Rumery on Flickr

It was through watching hundreds of TED talks online, as well as hanging out with passionate creative people at events such as Social Media Club that I got the idea and courage to submit an idea to Ignite Phoenix. Watching people share their passions to a receptive audience inspired me to do the same. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had the opportunity to share my passions for urban space and social media earlier this week at Ignite Phoenix 5.

At this time, I believe there are still a few tickets left for tonight’s event.  If you are inquisitive at all, or want to connect with passionate, enterprise people, I suggest you go buy tickets now and come out to tonight’s event. (Don’t worry, the First Friday festivities will still be going strong after the event is over!)

If you are still unsure, you can check out the TEDxPhoenix Beginners Guide, or better yet, watch a few of my favorite TED talks to get an idea of what is in store for you this evening:

Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity

Bill Strickland makes change with a slide show

Hans Rosling: Let my dataset change your mindset

Hope to see you there!

The Mesa Arts Center is located at One East Main Street Mesa, AZ 85201 (Google map).  Tickets are $5

Yuri Artibise

Yuri Artibise is an experienced policy analyst, community engagement practitioner and social media specialist. I have a Master of Public Administration degree with over 10 years of public policy research, analysis, and advocacy experience.