TEDxBeaconStreet is a very special conference and it has set very high standards for TEDx events around the world. Since its inception in 2012, it has followed the unique theme of ‘Ideas in Action’ and has been carrying out “Adventures” throughout the year. These Adventures are what took me to Boston.
So what are Adventures? They are anything and everything that can be done with groups of people that sparks innovation and conversation. An Adventure could range from going to a farm that practices sustainable farming to going to the MIT Media Lab where you can find the most innovative and cutting edge technology. I was fortunate to attend such a day of Adventures. TEDx organizers (or Adventure Catalysts, as they called us) from around the world were invited to attend a TEDx workshop on November 14 where we shared best practices and discussed ways of adding Adventures to our TEDx events. To make this day even more special, we got a chance to have our own Adventures by taking a tour of the MIT Media Lab, having lunch at the Google Cambridge office, and checking out an Observatory built inside a private school. There were many such Adventures throughout the day and small groups split up to check out what attracted them the most.
I can’t describe each Adventure I had that day or the days following it, but I can surely describe the impact it had on me. Leaving aside the awesomeness of being at MIT or Google, this experience really helped me understand how small Adventures like these can lead to incredibly powerful ideas. It wasn’t hearing about the technology or walking around the prestigious Google offices that led to these ideas, but it was being around like minded people from around the world that sparked incredibly moving conversations. If there is one lesson I took from these Adventures, it was that bringing people together in an area where innovation is fostered would lead to powerful ideas, and if you around the right people, they will make sure you turn those ideas into action.
Other than these adventures, the two-day conference was jam packed with over 70 amazing talks. It was tough to keep up with so many ideas, but there were definitely a few that have resonated with me. I would encourage you to find a talk or two that spark ideas in your mind that you can later turn into action.
As a city, I absolutely loved Boston. It was quite different than what I had envisioned. What I expected to be a New York-style big city turned out to be a very warm (not weather wise) and welcoming place. You can take a stroll and cover most of the city and the best part doesn’t even begin until you cross the Charles River into Cambridge which houses some of the most brilliant minds of the world – Harvard, MIT, and Boston University. It’s amazing to see how much intellectual power that 10 mile radius has! So if you’re thinking of your next trip to the East coast, make sure Boston is up on the list.
Madhav is a fourth year Management Information Systems and Finance (Hons.) student and is currently finishing his co-op work term at TELUS. He is passionate about ideas and action, which led him to organize the TEDxSFU conference as well as attend TEDActive. His other involvements include international case competitions, Enactus SFU, BASS FROSH, and RADIUS SFU. He is also a foodie and nature lover, so you can find him hiding in food joints or the mountains.