During last year’s TEDxGreenville I stood next to a woman scanning her first ever QR code. It was for a mobile game invented for the event. She wasn’t the most tech savvy and was having a bit of a time getting things to go. After a minute or so of different attempts, her friend suggested that she forget about it. She pushed back, “But it’s TEDx. I want to be part of it.” Eventually she succeeded in working the app, but lost the game, as we all did, to Big Jon.
That’s the great advantage and responsibility that we, the interactive team, have. Our job is to get people past the small talk and towards real conversations during the breaks of the event. It’s a lofty goal, but the folks attending the event are game. They want something different, are willing to get out of their comfort zone and be pushed a little. Let’s see how far.
This year we’re kicking things up a notch. Well, we’re at least taking up more space. We are taking over the lunch space from previous years and turning it into a cafe and bazaar (1). We want to create a space where people play–they talk and caffeinate and share great ideas for a better world.
Part of our plan is to encourage conversation through the design of the space. Around the perimeter are interactive elements designed to push you beyond small talk into a state of unzipped conversation. There will be a way to test your senses. There will be truth delivered straight from the horse’s mouth. There will be blood. (2)
In the center of the cafe is where the coffee and conversation lies. Our hope is that you are moved, if only slightly, through one of the experiences to share with others and to have a real, unzipped conversation. (3)
There will be a game again. Analog style this year (No QR code experience needed). But that hopefully doesn’t need to drive your time during the breaks. The game is a nice way to tie things together. It’s Lebowski’s rug. But the real energy and effort is focused on the conversation.
So that’s our grand dream–bunches of people and conversations running into each other in a single room, fueled by caffeine, creative experiences and a desire to be part of TEDxGreenville. We hope conversations move in interesting ways. It’s all right around the corner and we look forward to sharing more of the vision on April 11th.
Various notes and sundries
(1) If someone has the time and talent I’d love to see a piece of art called Babar’s Bazaar.
(2) Well, only blood if we hear this conversation,
“How are you?”
(3) This TED talk by Steven Johnson helped to inspire us.
Adam Gautsch is a member of this year’s Interactive Team. He is is interested in collecting and sharing as many ideas, big and small, to make cities better. He also cares about technology, making life simpler and barbecue.