I received my invitation and was thrilled to attend!
What INSPIRED you today?
TEDx Edmonton has inspired me Saturday, March13.
Attending ignited my creative mind, and writing this reflection has inspired me to action.
I am transitioning careers and I need to be creative as I approach my transition.
Attending reaffirmed the flexibility and ability of my personal skill set. Attending was intimidating and instigating. Attending will made a difference in my life and in the economy of this city as I am certainly going to work to cultivate a creative economy with in this city, and within my personal professional career transition.
The Information Age swooped down upon us late last century and necessity for a creative and entrepreneur economy has arrived. As Ken Batista says, “It’s a new world where ideas, knowledge, creativity and entrepreneurship rule. Where community trumps geography, where small is the new big, and where innovation and entrepreneurial savviness is so much more valuable.”
I have been working as a public school educator with Edmonton Public Schools since 1981, and intentionally working to prepare our current young generation for this new world since 1990 as we worked at shifting our traditional paradigm in education for the new millennium. It started in reality with me when I assisted in the opening of Mary Butterworth School in 1992 and took on a beta research project with Apple Canada using laptop computers. Each student in my classroom had one of their own and I was the administrator of our own classroom bulletin board chatroom which was used for homework help. It was ground breaking at the time. It changed our little learning community into a powerhouse of collaboration and cooperation. I was teaching within a kindergarten metaphor and had 12 to 15 year olds in my classroom. We integrated their required curriculum within coaching teams and created simulated experiences for practical application of the lessons taught. I was working 75 hours a week and was high on the experience. I know we made a difference. Then. due to public pressure and being in the wrong community, the opportunity evaporated. I felt like I belonged to the Church of Mary Butterworth, and there was no place left in Edmonton Public Schools to practice my religion.
But, I found my place. I found my places. My place was in the classroom fostering the building of each creative mind keeping near and dear to my heart the lessons learned and those yet to learn. The very same practices that were working for me worked for my students: Independent learning, team work, creative and critical thinking, metacognitive awareness, concrete application of creative thinking strategies to enable the jump over a block. And it goes on. I never expected my young students to go through any process I wasn’t completely and personally committed to as a learner.
I was overwhelmed with emotion when Grant Skinner stood up in his humble and unassuming way recalling his first childhood experience on the computer working with HyperCard.Â How old is he? I have taught “him”. It is definitely “him” I have been teaching: the new generation. The generation where independence, creative and critical learning and thinking, collaboration and cooperation are essential learning outcomes. I sat, not in the age group that artsScene Edmonton serves, but in the generation that hopefully enabled it. Knowing fully, that I also come from the generation that is pulling the stops out from under their feet almost as fast as they can stand up.
But these people don’t stand in the same place very long. They are adept at holding their place and keeping an upright balance. So, here I sat, watching Grant Skinner and thinking of past students and my earnest efforts to enable success through a compelling and creative future for each. Ken Batista’s words again: “… if we don’t [engage in creative change], other cities will continue to pass us by.”
He told us that our speakers were chosen to “show the world that Edmonton has been quietly outputting world class creative entrepreneurs and innovators for years…. Everyone needs to know that Edmontonians are working here and beyond, changing the world in their own ways ““ in science, technology, entertainment, design and more. We wanted TEDx Edmonton to be a spark that would ignite and connect the entrepreneurial and creative energy we’ve always had in our community.”
And, Ken, it has ignited mine.
Congratulations and thank you to Ken Batista (a few of whose photos I am using) and his team, for an amazingly successful, inspiring, and motivational day. Ken’s fellow hosts and creative planning team members include Cam Linke, Stephani Carter and Michael Brechtel.
And what does this have to do with FOOD, you may ask as this is usually where I write about food? EVERYTHING. Absolutely everything. I’m sure you will figure it out.
For an incredible recap, also check out Master Maq‘s reflections of the day.
Double click on any image to enlarge it.
Is brilliant, engaging and provided her fundamental message in a very concrete manner.
Share your ideas….
Dream… and conflict creates opportunity for creative solutions.
Nothing is impossible.
Copy this sentence down. Use it. Shawna’s Innovation Approach is brilliant. Simple. Effective.
Andrew Hessel hails from Edmonton. He is the founding director and CEO of the Pink Army Cooperative, the world’s first open source biotechnology company that is working to make personalized, affordable medicines for breast cancer. It is a brilliant concept. And, it will happen. Is happening. Check it out.
These little creatures are his friends, and as he has spent his life working to understand them, he has learned that he is able to design and grow almost anything. Talk about thinking out of the box. He is is not just thinking, he is creating and doing and changing the world we live in, as you read this, by acting upon his ideas.
Andrew is also co-chair of the Bioinformatics and Biotechnology program at Singularity University, an interdisciplinary university whose mission is to prepare leaders for accelerating technological change. Shawna Pandya is currently situated there, as well. Andrew is working with leading academic and commercial groups and is in the process of transforming DNA into an easy-to-use programming language for biological systems. He is committed to the education of our youth in this area, and consistently working with students to hone their creativity and to use the parameters given to grow or develop something new. And they always do. One group of students recently developed a cancer curing beer. He is clearly excited about the possibilities for this kind of thinking and work in the public education system.
Andrew focuses on empowering youth and our new generation of young researchers “… to tackle big biology-related problems like sustainable fuel production, environmental cleanup, superbugs and cancer. Andrew was featured as a speaker at TEDxSiliconValley in 2009. ” And, if he had not already convinced us that his researchers really get into this, he provided the evidence, as every great scientist does.
I wanted to tatoo his contact information on my arm.
To say that he is a creative genius is not profound enough to capture the abilities and nature of Andrew Hessel.
Shafraaz Kaba is a local architect (Manasc Isaac Architects Ltd.) who shared a personal project he has completed within the city of Edmonton that was outstanding in its breadth as he designed a building where people could be healthy and happy to work in. He is on the Mayor’s Advisory Council and the founder of Media, Art and Design Exposed (M.A.D.E.) in Edmonton, which “creates public programs that bring design, art and architecture to the public”.
Theresa Howland leads Bullfrog Power‘s operations in Western Canada. It provides 100% of Canada’s green electricity provider. Theresa has led, worked tenaciously, and “participated in cross-functional industry teams to develop strategies and policy recommendations to support wind energy growth in Canada”. She is based in Calgary, and a powerhouse in her area of expertise. My question while driving through Europe is always the same: Why not more wind power in Alberta? Well, Teresa gave me some answers about how to address this issue. When we get out utility bill, ask for windpower. It costs about thirty dollars a month more. But, you pay for what you believe in, and the more of us that ask for it and buy it, the more that will be produced.
Alberta was the major producer and use of wind power at one time. We are far behind most provinces now. Others have put incentives in place to encourage the use of it. I say Bravo, Teresa, and I will be using wind power from now on. What about you?
And here is my metaphoric child. The student is every classroom I taught that I worked to enable. He did it on his own. I understand that. They all do. But, I still worked to provide endless opportunities, support, and strategies to enable creative and critical thinking. His title: Cultivating the Creative Economy Within the Framework of My Own Career.
I loved his introduction. He was not an entrepreneur. He just worked at what he loved and created something that others recognized and valued which opened doors for him. He doesn’t have a business card. He doesn’t advertise. He was challenged by the TEDx topic and the reflective time preparing for it inspired him to do some very personal soul searching. He was forthright and real. He was strong and valiant. He is rare and precious. His message was simple:
Be easily inspired… he is. He never forgets the miracle of flight when inside of a plane.
Share…. connect… do you sense a theme emerging here?
Engage… forget ego…
And as he closed and flipped up his “Contact” information, and card… the most important message of all was just that. Make Contact. Connect.
Cameron Herold is clearly a successful and sought after man. He “has been coaching, speaking to, or helping entrepreneurs build companies on five continents”. He launched BackPocket COO to mentor and help make dreams happen. According to his bio, he is one of the country’s most innovative business leaders and was a leading force behind one of the most successful businesses of the decade, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?. As Chief Operating Officer of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? he helped to build a presence in 46 states, 9 provinces, and 4 countries while being ranked the “œ2nd Best Company to Work for in Canada” by Canadian Business Magazine and “œthe #1 Company in BC to Work for” twice by BC Business Magazine. Cameron helped the leading edge company grow from $2 million to $105 million in revenue in six years with no debt or outside shareholders. He spoke on the topic of “œRaising Kids to be Entrepreneurs”. The video clip at the front of this post is his. That was inspiring.
I took exception to this speaker. A little bit. He told stories about lying and cheating his way through school because schools aren’t designed for kids like him. I hope we are, now. But, it is never all right to talk about lying and cheating as a means to an end that is OK if it works. Not in a setting like this. Call me old fashioned. Call me ethical. I am not alone in this view. The basic premise of a stellar character was the underlying template for the entire day. I was not amused. He shared a lot of really important ideas, but some of his personal stories discredited his character.
He was very forward thinking and sensible in everything he said regarding the importance of entrepreneurial opportunities and strategies for our youth.
I am in the third row from the bottom, on the far left, next to Jessie in her pretty red: evidence that I was really there. I will have to blaze a trail now, to put all of that inspiration to good use.
I am facing retirement from 30 years of education, in a formal sense, within the next year, or so. I am transitioning. Transitioning. I have an amazing skill set an avid thirst for knowledge and for creative applications of what is and an interest in almost everything. I have to slow down, take the Innovation Approach, and remember that Impossible is Nothing. I will realize my dream. I do believe. I can now get to phase two of “what I wanted to do when I grew up”… and I will find my way.
So, Tedx Edmonton, and Ken Batista… what is next? Maybe a TEDx support group, or think tank… or – what do you call them now? Something, I hope. Don’t let the connections we began to make loose momentum.