Micro Snapshots and Key Insights into TEDx Macquarie Uni, September
Topic: Breaking New Ground
I was very excited to be at the TEDx Conference at Macquarie University on Saturday 27th of September to listen to an array of amazing and inspiring speakers and personalities from a wide range of industries, areas, backgrounds, locations and experiences, each sharing their own insights into how they 'broke new ground.’
Luckily, all of these talks are not lost! You can find them online and I recommend that you view them as everyone can benefit from their content. However, as a snapshot, below is a micro-summary of the main points I took from each presentation.
Professor Bruce Dowton
“What does it take to lead?”
Leadership lies in five key elements: building identity, ethical behaviour, motivating innovation, creating connections and the interpretation of complexity.
We cannot be effective as leaders unless we are true to ourselves and accept who we are first. By understanding ourselves, we are then able to lead and understand others and the environment around us.
Arvin Bayatpour and Cohen Bosworth
“So they told you age is a brick wall.”
These two boys were fifteen years old and had already begun their journey into gadgets via their company Arcod.
Innovation can start at any age. Don’t let societal pressure tell you anything else!
Don’t be afraid and don’t wait. Start now!
“Want to innovate? Become a now-ist.”
Don’t be a “future-ist, be a “now-ist.”
Deploy or die: Getting tangible innovations out into the market is the only true way to measure success.
Educational methods need to keep up with the times. We are all so connected by technology that we don’t need to read and study the entire dictionary before we set out. We can research everything at any time on the internet, so education should focus on adaptation, and not rote learning, simply because that’s the way it was always done.
Compass over maps- know your direction, rather than every street.
“Challenging gender selection.”
Even though we, as a society, assume that we have complete gender equality, it's not really true.
A new trend is emerging, called prenatal gender selection, which is the predetermining of the sex of a baby using science. It is illegal in Australia, but parents can go to countries where it is legal, such as the USA. Whilst it can be valid for specific medical reasons, couples are beginning to adopt this technology and specifically deciding the gender they would prefer. While most do this for an innocent reason, such as “family gender balance”, the repercussions in the future could lead to adding to gender stereotypes that should be phasing out, rather than being strengthened.
When we decide to have a child, it is different to deciding gender. But some parents are starting to demand more selection based on their traditional biases (i.e.: they want a girl because they want a baby who can be dressed up like a princess and get married, or they want a boy because they want a sportsman). By allowing this behaviour, it may be reinforcing gender stereotypes that hinder and bias future societies, as well as distort their views on what is right and wrong.
Leave gender stereotypes behind and let children grow up to be individuals they want to be.
“HIV illness narratives”
Presenting her three-minute thesis, Cheryl was investing homosexual men suffering from HIV/AIDs to piece together the real history on the past and future of the disease.
“I am the son of a terrorist.”
Zak was the son of one of the terrorists involved in the New York World Trade Centre bombings in the 90ies.
Most members of society want the same things out of life, however, in a population, there are always a very small group that adhere so closely to their beliefs that they will do anything in their power to get others to believe what they do, even if by force.
His story goes to show that being raised in that kind of hostile environment can still produce a family that can gain the independence to grow beyond the narrow minded ideas of past generations.
“Designing cities for women.”
Urban planning has shifted from desiring driving accessibility, to favouring closer proximity and walking spaces. In addition, the traditional idea of separating work from home locations no longer meets the societal needs of today.
New apps, like “Walkability Score”, are clear indications of new urbanism trends and illustrate the importance of the ability to walk to desirable locations. The cost of housing closer to central hubs is rising like it never has before, simply because people appreciate proximity over other considerations.
Unfortunately, this means it’s pricing out half of the market, which is a complex issue that requires solving. Individuals, families and couples part of the lower economic bracket have begun to move close to the city, as opposed to the past, where they all centralised further out in the suburbs. This is because all of the jobs are located in central jobs and so, they want their homes now closer to this than ever before.
“The elephant in the classroom.”
Humans love and hate change! This applies quite prominently in work and school settings. Learning and business environments suffer from balancing between rigidity to encourage productivity, and innovative flexibility.
Reforming public education lies in culture and economics. Schooling ‘educates’ children, but does it really teach them to be active contributors of society? Does it prepare them to live in an adult world?
So called ‘gifted students’ are just ones that thrive in the current learning paradigm. No student is unintelligent- they just need a more catered environment.
We need a different model to engage each individual student. The education system needs to adopt a “personalised learning matrix”- where the teacher and the student ‘negotiate’ the best way to meet their individual needs, within a dynamic, engaging space that achieves curriculum objectives.
Mr Speaker and The People Party
The struggle for your dreams is a hard reality. Therefore, we need to change whatever it takes to position yourself to achieve your dreams
Surround yourself with positive people that have the same passion as you, and whatever you do, believe believe believe!
“The secrets of nature’s grossest creatures, channelled into robots.”
Inspired by the cockroach (which can adapt to pretty much every challenge and environment), robotics of the future is adopting Robust Systems, which can perform multiple, challenging tasks, rather than one specific purpose. These robust systems include fault tolerance and damage resistance, so they can be utilised in more complicated scenarios such as search and rescue applications, amongst other functions.
“Creating the most influential you.”
As a magician and entrepreneur, how a magician practises their act is a good lesson for any individual to learn and adopt. It’s something most people never get to see, as it spoils the illusion of the tricks, but the method can be used in improving the way someone prepares and delivers a presentation.
Showmanship lies in three principles: Sight, sound, sync.
Sight: what the audience sees.
Sound: what the presenter says and how they say it.
Sync: How the first two work together.
When you are inconsistent (out of sync), people don’t trust you and you come across as insincere and not genuine. Therefore, actions, confidence and words all need to be in balance.
A way to improve your showmanship lies in the following method:
Video record yourself, then leave it for a day (to avoid critical bias). After a day, turn it on and mute the sound, watching only for visuals. Check your posture and take notes.
Watch it again, however turn your back and just listen to the audio. Do the words offer value? Is the message clear?
Watch the video for a third time with both sound and sight. Are both your actions and your voice now consistent?
The stage is a sacred place, as it's where a performer goes to influence and inspire. Always give it your best and treat that privilege with respect.
Dr Joanna McMillan
“Eat for a real change.”
One pill that provides absolutely everything we need to survive in a healthy way is not what we want. Food is much, much more than just about nutrients and essentials: food is culture and interaction.
She worries that nutritional science is ruining the cultural side of food, as we are now over analysing every bit of information, and, as a public, we are completely confused with this information’s interpretation. In addition, western cultures are suffering from obesity, diabetes and other food related conditions. Diet choice is a large contributing factor of all of those negative conditions. The way we eat is so engrained that bad habits are hard to shake.
70% of Australian people are confused as to what healthy eating actually means because the media skews all knowledge, and research can be greatly misinterpreted. E.g.: “low fat” doesn't mean healthy. It gave rise to a misinterpretation and it’s heavily impacting our society.
The real key to healthy eating is large amounts of plant food and stay away from the processed products.
“From unknown to expert.”
Presenting your ideas to an audience and being in the spotlight is a very challenging thing to undertake for most people. However, Catriona says it’s time to redefine the spotlight; it’s a responsibility and a privilege to present, and not only for the loudest and boldest.
Freedom comes with saying “yes”. No one should feel like their story is not as worthy as others, and so it is up to people that usually shy away to turn the tides and say yes to spotlight opportunities.
It’s deeper than just general excuses- it’s a personal issue. Everyone should have the confidence to present their ideas and find the strength deep down. You deserve to be in the spotlight, if what you have to say will help others.
The spotlight isn’t about the speaker, but the audience and what insights you can provide for them. You must give yourself permission to speak; only then can you unleash your potential.
Connect with your ‘why’: think about your higher and deeper purpose for the audience.
Be of service: gain confidence by knowing that listeners will help them.
Be yourself: it’s not about changing yourself, but being genuine and brave enough to be vulnerable.
Believe in your own stories: stop competing. Everyone has their own road and you can never compare your own situation to others.
Be open to yes: who are you not to shine your own light?
“Redefining the ordinary to the extraordinary.”
Everyone is extraordinary because everyone has their own unique story. To most people, someone might be ‘ordinary’, but for someone else, that person may mean the world. Next time you feel ordinary, remember that you were born extraordinary, you still are, and always will be.
Dr Steven Lin
“The power of smile.”
We often underestimate the power of a smile.
Good oral health is such an important, and such a neglected area of healthcare. Unfortunately, however, we are not educated enough as a public to see the true value of dental care, which means that the government is not motivated to make a change for the benefit of us all. This increases the negative and flippant culture toward dental health, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
The key to a better future dental industry can be promoted using newer technology via social media. These avenues create awareness and education with the public which, together all start to make noise and therefore create a change.
Changing from reactive dental treatment to preventative methods is necessary in the future, and it’s up to the public to start the ball rolling.
Susan Redden Makatoa
“Stop pandering to working mothers.”
We could and we should extend flexibility to everyone in the workplace, not just females.
'Workplaces with heart' is a reformation of the standard business model, and is all about inclusion and equity. Giving choices to how people work and offering them more choice, such as allowing different start times and end times, could end up putting less stress on the transport problem and reduce pollution, as well as increase employee satisfaction.
There are three elements to this kind of working paradigm:
Assumptions- assume that employers want success and satisfaction, and employees want to do well for the business. Both sides need to be working together positively, first and foremost.
Acknowledgements- the essential operations for the business in generating profitability effectively are still the core of a business. Feedback and measurements will still exist, no matter what.
Arsenal- Negotiation skills and willingness to accept flexibility.
People are the key asset to any business; they’re important. Workplaces that are equitable and inclusive remove negative stigmas and add satisfaction because empathetic choice was provided to all employees.
“Let architecture in: Amazing things can happen if you do.”
The spaces we inhabit affect us all in so many ways. Iconic architecture, such as the Syndey Harbour Bridge, are uniting beacons of culture and add to the overall environment around you.
Embracing the impact your surrounding environment has upon you and everyone around you will increase your self-awareness. Being aware of it allows you to adapt to it, and you can make it adapt to you, too in order to achieve the optimal outcome. It can lie in something as grand as a city monument, or something in your own home.
“Touching tech- wearable technology.”
Technology can be quite distracting in today’s society. Whilst it is an advantage, sometimes businesses need to get back to the real world to create innovation.
Where we want to be next is taking over where we are now. We are all experiencing life through screens rather than life itself and our own senses. Technology needs to adapt to this, rather than add to the problem.
To show this, Ben and his team have developed wearable, fashionable technology, an industry advancing so fast that everything has to be developed straight off with little planning (sometimes spanning only 3 weeks!). such technology connects to your phone to your clothing for use in such applications as GPS. However, technology isn't always just about utility: fashion and technology have to meet correctly. For example, Google Glass is amazing technology but a fashion disaster.
The explosion of this type of technology starts with realigning with the real world again. Empathy for our environment is the key.
“Unmask your potential.”
Unmask your true potential. Stop locking yourself away. Don’t be trapped by your assumed “limitations.”
All of us are dying slowly and time isn’t infinite- we need to be more realistic with ourselves. Only then can we access our true potential.
“What are we doing?”
Take the fond memories of loved ones that have passed, and put one of their favourable traits into practise. Learning a favourable trait from someone is the ultimate honour to them and will help make you a better person.
A review of ‘Difference’ by Bernadette Jiwa
By Christopher Melotti
BComm:Mtkg, MCommLaw, AMAMI CPM
(This article was featured in the August/September 2014 Issue of B&T Magazine).
I’m not going to mince words here: this book is the very timely wake-up call that absolutely all Marketers need, and I highly recommend it. It’s extremely relevant to the current Marketing landscape, succinct, punchy and full of well-researched, supportive case studies.
With technology rapidly interconnecting global societies, and our lives racing at an even faster speed than ever before, it’s becoming obvious that today’s Marketing efforts as a whole are failing to evolve in sync with such a pace, which has meant that our target audiences are becoming increasingly resistant and more elusive when exposed to our ‘same-old’ practises.
Difference, by Bernadette Jiwa, perfectly summarises exactly what we are all starting to realise: Marketing just because ‘we can’ is not good enough anymore. Yelling “notice us!” more frequently and loudly to the masses is not good enough anymore. Communication strategies solely based on numerical statistics and quantifiable metrics are not good enough anymore. Marketing has lost touch of its empathetic, artistic qualities and has forgotten the humanistic roots essential to connect with an audience.
Today, all target markets are extremely well-informed, intensively focused and exceedingly time poor, leading them to become increasingly frustrated with blatant bombardment of intrusive, irrelevant and unengaging communication efforts, manifested from yet another uninspiring, mechanical Marketing strategy. This is not an emerging trend, it’s an unfortunate reality.
If you want a perfect example, look at all of the ads on YouTube (look anywhere for that matter): when searching for relaxing music, we are met with an explosively loud, completely untargeted ad that we grit our teeth through, our cursor hovering above the ‘skip-ad’ button that will appear within five seconds.
We need a wakeup call. We need difference.
Jiwa logically puts forward her theory of difference: people first. On the surface, this doesn’t seem ground-breaking, but therein lies the truth of our issue: Marketers think we know this, but we’ve completely lost touch of it when it comes to execution.
Marketing evolution theory states that our focus has moved from production, to product, then selling, marketing and finally to societal marketing. I believe we now need to shift forward to the next stage, which I have coined as Empathetic Marketing. This means not simply scoping out the consumer and surrounding society alone and throwing a blanket over it all, but to delve deeper to really connect and truly understand what the priorities of consumers are and what parts of their external and internal environments actually have relevant meaning to them. This is completely possible now too, given advancement in technology: it is us as Marketers that need to catch up, and this book shows us the way.
Our products and Marketing efforts must now actually matter to people, not bombard them because we now have access to more channels than ever before. We need to conduct our efforts to truly thrill by putting ourselves utterly in the customer’s shoes, rather than spam the market and hope in the statistics that tell us a handful may care: this is now a zero-sum game that doesn’t work anymore.
To quote Jiwa, ‘The P that the old Marketing Mix forgot was People. Today, [consumers] are powerful influences who discern and care and want and choose. Because [they] can.’ In a modern world with unlimited choice, Marketers need to wake up and refocus on ensuring the right people care, and this book is the way to realign and reacquaint our perspective with the progressive and individualistic humans we hope to engage every day.