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Inspiration and challenge


You can’t just relax and let other people around the world spread inspiration. You actually have to take responsibility for it, and do something yourself.

: Teo Härén, TEDxStockholm

The inspirations for holding a TEDx event are many.

For us at TEDxCalgary, it’s about being able to connect with a dynamic, wide-ranging community of like-minded idea-builders across our city. Along the way, we have the opportunity to discover the hidden talents — and ideas — of many people that we might otherwise just pass by on the street. Whatever the size or thematic focus of a particular TEDx event, all are part of building a broader public commons for the sharing of ideas.

Throughout history, ideas have been the most important currency of humanity. Without them, or without ways to share them effectively, societies  stall and atrophy. There’s nothing assured about the trajectory of human development: for all of our current intellect and technological sophistication, we’re likely to soon face challenges (if we’re not already) that will test the limits of our capacity as a species to adapt our ways, be wise in our choices, and be ever more innovative in our ideas.

Accepting the challenge

Against this backdrop, the core planning committee for TEDxCalgary came together to try and engage our local community in a search for ideas that would engage our imaginations, and stimulate us to take action as citizens of a world-class city. Even before we knew of the quote by Teo Härén from TEDxStockholm, we had decided to take responsibility for spreading a bit of the inspiration represented by TED and TEDx.

The challenges to mounting a TEDx event are many. As volunteers, organizing even a relatively small 100-person event takes much planning, coordination, and the many hours of leg-work that goes with arranging speakers, working with participants, and finding the necessary support to help make the events happen. Unlike  watching a TED/TEDx video online, TEDx events don’t happen on a whim, and nor do they organize themselves.

But they DO happen when a group of committed people decides to take responsibility for reaching out to the wider community to ask for ideas and assistance. The TEDxCalgary team has been fortunate — and very thankful — to receive offers of support from an ever-growing number of volunteers and community partners. Everyone who has come forward to offer their time and ideas has decided to take a piece of personal responsibility for sharing the inspiration of TED/TEDx with their fellow citizens in Calgary.

Our event is powered by YOU… anyone who has benefitted from the wisdom and insight embodied in the TED process, and who has decided to contribute to making these local events a success. We’re very lucky to live in a city with such a deep pool of inspired, engaged, and committed people, and we’re seeing the benefits of that shared effort in the form of several TEDx events over the next few months.

As the speakers and participants at the recent TEDxYYC event amply demonstrated, Calgary is more than two weeks of Stampeding a year. Instead, it is a city containing many inspired, dynamic, and engaged individuals who want to think and act differently, and who accept the task of working to change ideas and perceptions for the better.

Whatever TEDx event you choose to participate in, our challenge to you is this: take responsibility for helping to spread the inspiration. Be willing to share your ideas, and to help others in our community find the voice to share theirs.

Our participant application process is now open, so go to our Participate page and start sharing your “Ideas worth spreading”

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