This last week I attended TEDxDetroit. An independently organized TED event held at Lawrence Tech University in Southfield, Michigan. The idea of TEDxDetroit is to spread positive ideas for the world from Detroit. Seating was limited and I was one of the lucky 150 hand picked attendees. Although the videos from all the speakers will be available shortly I wanted to take some time and reflect on the event as a whole.
All the speakers were either from the Detroit area or had some connection to Detroit. Charlie Wollborg along with a few others did an amazing job bringing in such a diverse group of speakers. The day was broken into four sections, powering, educating, perceiving and connecting.
The powering section started out strong with some inspiration and then got down to business with an alternative way to gather wind energy and a different way to think about electric cars. Mixed in was musical performances about Michigan and Detroit.
Educating section was a filled with local Detroiters who are really making a difference in the community. Chazz Miller stood out the most because of the amazing things he is doing with art, Detroit and the youth. He was referred to many times by other presenters as a “hurricane”, fundamentally changing Detroit with amazing force.
The perceiving section had some amazing stories about the current and future state of Detroit. Two presenters really stuck out, the first was a poem by D Blair titled “Detroit (While I Was Away)”. You can see an unofficial recording of it at the link. It’s a view that many of us have of Detroit, it’s what makes Detroit home. Although it’s not the best view it shows the passion, drive and determination of the entire city. The second was Lee Thomas talking about his struggle with vitiligo and turning all lives experiences into positive power.
The last section connecting was also highly inspiring. PJ Jacokes talked about demanding imagination. PJ runs Go Comedy, an improv theater and encourages all of us to take time to explore our imagination. He asks “When was the last time the floor was made of lava”? A world without imagination is boring and mundane, we cannot get caught in the impression of “adulthood” and just let go and dream every once and a while. It will make you focus on the things that are really important.
The attendees were amazing, everyone I met was very open, friendly and doing great work. All the speakers were very inspiring and uplifting and had a very clear vision for Detroit and how to move it forward. The ideas have to start someplace and these speakers took full advantage of their time to inspire us.
I am so glad I was invited to attend TEDxDetroit and have been inspired to go forth to inspire others and move Detroit forward.
I also posted a few photos to Flickr from the event.