Recently, I was doing a search for “transformation” – one of those words that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
In my head I was thinking “of course it means change” – and it does, but change of what? A google image search for the term “transformation” yields a much different result than a google image search for the term “change.” I didn’t care for either for my purpose, which is communicating about change. This morning I was walking to work and, as usual, I walked by a bunch of Canadian maple trees and I scooped the above leaf and decided that was a great metaphor for change – the fall is all about a shift in what we do and how we do it. Trees do this every year – they shed their leaves and all the stuff they do with those leaves as they prepare for winter, which I imagine is like tree vacation for them since they don’t have to do anything in particular.
Actually I just read that trees shed leaves in order to save water. Wow eh. #learning
“For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go. For the blue is not in the place those miles away at the horizon, but in the atmospheric distance between you and the mountains. ‘Longing,’ says the poet Robert Hass, ‘because desire is full of endless distances.’ Blue is the color of longing for the distances you never arrive in, for the blue world.
We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire, though often it is the distance between us and the object of desire that fills the space in between with the blue of longing. I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation on its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as blue is to distance? If you can look across the distance without wanting to close it up, if you can own your longing in the same way that you own the beauty of that blue that can never be possessed? For something of this longing will, like the blue of distance, only be relocated, not assuaged, by acquisition and arrival, just as the mountains cease to be blue when you arrive among them and the blue instead tints the next beyond. Something is always far away.”
– Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
I just took down all the “get tickets” links for Emergence on TEDxVictoria.com and changed the language to be past tense. This means we have reached the point in time where we have largely accomplished what we intended to do when we started planning this event. There are so many people to thank for this that even writing an update is an intimidating idea.
The short form is that the event was the combined forces of an engaged city, exceptionally supportive partners, courageous thinkers, brilliant performers, and some of the most outstanding organizers I have ever had the privilege to work with.
The longer form is that it has been a significant amount of work, and it’s not over yet. The fruit of this is not just the day, but of course the photos and speaker videos (talks) from the event, which give the ideas worth spreading a far larger wingspan. This year’s theme was very strong, and the speakers were equally as strong and brought it to a new level. We are fortunate to have these brilliant minds asking the hard questions and exploring possibilities.
Effectively doubling the size of the event (from 400 people to 772) meant that there was more hands needed on deck, and a different strategy for marketing and communicating about the event. We made a new communications plan, a new marketing strategy, designed a new website, made a new eNewsletter campaign, made stretch goals for media relations, developed a great relationship with a new media partner, increased advertising spend, designed and activated new volunteer roles, and broadly participated in more community engagement through our Salon events. We had an open house for people interested in getting involved that attracted even more people than most TEDx events.
So much has developed over the last year that it’s difficult to articulate it all short of writing a book. Putting on an event of this scale requires serious attention to detail, vision, time, energy, and perhaps most importantly, relationships. I am deeply grateful for the people I worked with, as well as the opportunities and experiences; quite simply, I was challenged and I grew.
Those who worked on TEDxVictoria have a lot to be proud of; we have accomplished a hell of a lot. The potential of the team is massive, and this was demonstrated.
- For serious conversations, email is bad and texting is worse
- For the best relationships, telephone/skype/google hangouts provide tone, which is essential to understanding one another on an emotional level
- When working with volunteers, emotions largely govern energy, which determines the power of the team
- Social nights are important with the team
- I still like building and designing highly functional websites
- I got excited when I saw other team members post on our blog
- Most of my responsibilities were prior to the event
- Proof, proof, proof
- Speaker coaching is time well spent, and understanding that aspect has given me more insights on how to market speakers/talks
- The stage design was brilliant, on-theme, dynamic and powerful – I was impressed by how it came together
- I took the image above from the balcony the night before the event
- The night before the event is a lot of work for the day-of crew
- The day-of crew does so much work it’s difficult to comprehend
- We were spoiled at the after-party, which was also a tonne of work by another talented crew
- No matter how much social media you do, you’ll always feel like you can do more – same as with the recording label
- The McPherson is a beautiful venue
- The Zone has been an awesome and creative media partner
- Royal Roads University is a kickass Title level sponsor who put myself and 3 other organizers through their Strategic Leadership Program as part of their support for the event
- Our presence at Rifflandia was awesome and our booth looked better than ever
- We did a free event about the future of cities in city hall’s Council Chamber
- We had absolutely incredible emcees
- People are still hungry for this type of event according to ticket sales
- Change is inevitable; attitude makes an extraordinary difference in times of transition
- People grow when you give them the chance
- There are so many chances to develop professionally as a volunteer – many of these are opportunities that are not available at the workplace or school
- Some of the TEDx rules inhibit the potential of partnerships and events; this may be by design, and it can be frustrating
- Watching so many TED talks on the Internet and then seeing new talks in-person felt like being at a live recording of the Internet
- I am forgetting something, but that’s okay
- One thing leads to another
Not sure when this photo was taken, but I managed to repair it a bit and make it into this in illustrator by tracing, extracting, separating, colourizing and re-compositing. Dad’s lookin’ serious.
I would normally crop out the space above their heads, but that house looks cool. Here is what it looks like un-traced, recolourized and re-composited. Shadows look better, mom’s sandals are clearer, but overall it’s a pretty blurry image, which actually lends itself well to this process.
This image is a hybrid of paperclips, filtering and photography by Adam, and more photography and vectorizing, scaling, recolouring and layering by myself. creativity!
But what could it mean?
“…the world impoverishes itself by spending half a trillion dollars a year in preparations for war and by employing perhaps half the scientists and high technologists on the planet in military endeavors.
How would we explain all this to a dispassionate, extraterrestrial observer? What account would we give of our stewardship of the planet earth?
Fundamental changes in society are sometimes labeled impractical or contrary to human nature: as if nuclear war were practical or as if there were only one human nature. But fundamental changes can clearly be made. We are surrounded by them. In the last two centuries abject slavery, which was with us for thousands of years, has almost entirely been eliminated in a stirring world wide revolution. Women, systematically mistreated for millennia, are gradually gaining the political and economic power traditionally denied to them. And some wars of aggression have recently been stopped or curtailed because of a revulsion felt by the people in the aggressor nations. The old appeals to racial, sexual and religious chauvinism and to rabid nationalism are beginning not to work. A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet.
We have heard the rationales offered by the superpowers. We know who speaks for the nations; but who speaks for the human species? Who speaks for earth?” – Carl Sagan, 1980.