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TEDxCincy to highlight city’s diversity and ideas

Local creative minds have organized a day-long conference that will feature innovative speakers, entertainment and more at the first TEDx Cincy event that will gather intellectuals from the fields of technology, entertainment and design. TEDx Cincy is scheduled to take place on October 7th in downtown Cincinnati at the Aronoff Center for the Arts.

In 1984, Richard Saul Wurman collected intellectuals from the fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) to discuss their life’s work and new ideas.  Now in 2010, the TED conference has grown to four sold-out yearly conferences, and is now coming to Cincinnati as an independently organized TED event.

The mantra of TED is “ideas worth spreading,” through riveting talks given by remarkable people that are accessible to the world.  Since 2007, the speakers at these conferences have been recorded and available free to listen and watch as podcasts on the Internet.  For the last several months, David Volker, Michael Bergman, Emily Venter and their colleagues at LPK met for “Breakfast and TED” – getting a start on the day by nourishing their creative spirit through learning about topics they were not necessarily familiar with.

“Being in design, branding, and marketing… it’s really great to get perspective in non-related fields,” Volker explained.

The three learned that TED was expanding its reach by allowing independent organizers to collaborate in different cities, and they knew they wanted to bring the experience to Cincinnati.  So they, along with colleague Mary Riffe from Procter & Gamble, reached out to their employers to obtain backing and support on this new endeavor.  “P&G and LPK were very excited about the opportunity. We had their complete support,” said Ms. Venter.

The first TEDxCincy event will take place on October 7, 2010, and will feature a day-long conference with 21-25 speakers covering four different themes which are yet to be released.  Organizers expect the speakers to consist of an incredibly diverse collection of people with passionate and engaging stories, all of whom are connected to Cincinnati and the region in some way.  The conference will also feature entertainment as well as a selected number of podcasts played from the original TED conference.

Compared to initiatives such as Ignite Cincinnati and Pecha Kucha, which have swept the region within the last year, there are distinct differences between the events, but that is not necessarily a bad thing according to those involved.

“This [TEDxCincy] is more structured – the speakers will have between three and eighteen minutes to speak, instead of a rigid six minute presentation,” Michael Bergman explained. “The speakers’ passions will come through – for example, if they’re a musician who’s been practicing for years and years. Their history, research and learning experience will be very apparent.”

With over 150 people nominated to speak at the event already, it has been a difficult task to narrow down the list.  Venter says that the final list of speakers will not be released until a later date, but feels that the group of individuals selected will be a unique group that you will not be able to go anywhere else and hear what they have to say.

“I think we all agree that we’re a little too humble in this city.  There’s some great, great things happening here, and we are too nice to brag about them once in a while,” concluded Volker.  “From global and national perspective, we hope it sheds very positive light on Cincinnati, and shows some of the amazing people that are here.  If people can go to this and learn and hear all the stuff that goes in and go back and bring it into their daily lives, I think it’s only going to make this city a better place, and frankly, more appealing to people who might want to move here or relocate their companies here.”

TEDxCincy will take place Thursday, October 7, 2010 at Procter & Gamble Hall in the Aronoff Center (map) in downtown Cincinnati.  Those interested in attending TEDxCincy are asked to register in advance online.  Those interested in volunteering, submitting a speaker idea, or sponsoring TEDxCincy can do so on the event’s website.  Stay connected by following @TEDxCincy on Twitter, or by becoming a fan on Facebook.  Specific event details are expected in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

By Jenny Kessler

Jenny is a local designer who has a passion for people and for Cincinnati. She began writing for UrbanCincy in September 2009, and served as the website's operation manager until March 2012. Jenny currently works for ArtsWave and manages the OTR Urban Kickball League.