TEDx – Out There

TEDx Vienna’s 2016 ‘OUT THERE’ event happened. And it was amazing.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with TEDx, it is a conference based on the TED Talks format, organized locally by volunteers. Speakers at TEDx events come from all over the world and across every discipline. Impact Hub Vienna loves Out There ideas and so we decided to head out to the TEDx conference to see what it was all about. In this post we bring back some of the conference experiences for you and what we saw at our booth.

The Event Moderators

A group of us went to TEDx early on Saturday morning to set up a mini Hub at the event, complete with all the comforts of Impact Hub Vienna. There was a chill out corner piled high with colourful cushions, a table that people could work at if they wished, a charging station and iPads to view our new digital members wall (which was really cool). If you haven’t filled out your member profile then you are missing out! And so is everyone else at Impact Hub Vienna – pictures on the digital members wall mean that people will recognize you and can read up on your projects in advance. It is a little like being a celebrity. When my picture and profile came up on the board, I was astounded.

People kept stopping by and we made a number of connections and handed out free day passes. So do not be surprised if you see some new faces sitting at the Impact Hub co-workign tables or the hosts taking people on tours through out the Hub! We also had some interesting conversations as a result of the TEDx speakers – everything from Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity and the Twin Paradox to questions of medical ethics as a result of the CRISPR project, which uses viruses to perform a process known as genome editing, was discussed.

Jacob Smilg

The expert speakers came from a range of areas, including cosmoparticle physics and time travel (or theoretical physics as the discipline is actually known). The youngest student at Oxford University, 11-year old Joshua Beckford, composed a particularly poignant and poetic call to help the planet, which he read on-stage to an enraptured audience. A young American innovator named Jacob Smilg took the stage to tell us about his experiences making a communication device for his friend who suffers from severe disabilities. The final speakers of the day encouraged us to be open-minded about all of our experiences, including mortician Caitlin Doughty appealing to us to think for ourselves and become more involved in the processes of living and dying.

Caitlin Doughty

Remember, no idea is truly out of reach and TEDx Vienna proved that there is someone working on the ideas that you think are the most out there. Take inspiration from the speakers at TEDx and keep working on your idea, project, or venture. Every one of these speakers had to overcome obstacles in order to fulfill their dreams, from the belief that time travel is impossible, to the assumption that you cannot cure genetic diseases or overcome autism. So go dream BIG!

Jennifer Cornick Freelance journalist and blogger for various publications in Vienna. When I am not writing, I can generally be found with a book (or anything with words on it - even cereal boxes). Photo Credit: Aneta Pawlik