Yesterday, at TEDxEdmonton I discovered I may still have superhero potential after all, at least by neuroscientist Paul Zehr’s logic. It requires not extraordinary giftedness, he says, but rather years of being a decent human being, and rather than being unusually good at any one thing, being pretty good at a wide range of things. This is good news to me, being a decent human being, but very unspecialized in our highly specialized world.
The event was an independently organized TED event held in Edmonton every year in the spirit of TED’s mission—ideas worth spreading—and, while the quality of the presentations varied, it delivered some really great ideas truly worth spreading.
It was an excellent reminder that the seeds and the soil provided by our poets and artists are as essential to innovation as the expertise and talent of our scientists and entrepreneurs. The ideas come first, then the technology, which made the poetry of Mary Pinkoski the perfect beginning and end to the day’s presentations.
Edmontonian Gerry Morita of Mile Zero Dance also captured this essential but often-overlooked truth about the value of the arts, with her focus on creative collaboration, as did Kris Pearn of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs fame, who presented a marvelously entertaining illustration of using art to turn failure into success.
Randy Marsden of Cleankeys brilliance illustrated beautifully how scientists who know little about biology can come up with a solution to our seriously high risk of hospital acquired infections, which is our fourth leading cause of death. Darrell Kopke of Lululemon success presented a convincing case for the value putting generosity before profits, and that this order of values need not be in opposition to profitable ventures.
There was much more, and the day’s pleasures included taking in some of the Pride Festivities at lunchtime, and a yummy lunch provided by Elm Cafe’s Nate Box, sitting at a little table in the street outside in the sunshine.
After it all, inspired and energized but slightly stiff from sitting for so long, we pretended to be French and enjoyed a lovely glass of champagne, and then went to check out the street festivities. The rain put a damper on things, quite literally, but we had a fine supper and soaked in the energy of Edmontonians happy to end their season of hibernation. The evening ended on the pleasure of watching my friend (whose strappy sandals had begun to hurt) run barefoot through the rainy wet streets of downtown Edmonton. She’d been complaining of feeling her age and not enjoying being the oldest patrons at Lit. Who cares about age, I wish I’d have thought to say; you’re at least as much fun as the young crowd.