TEDxGreenville 2014: Unzipped

By Tiffany Deluccia

A couple of us from JDPR attended the fourth annual TEDxGreenville conference a few weeks ago at the Kroc Center downtown. As per usual, it was a stimulating event. A few presentations got my mind working in ways that stood out above the rest. Here are my key takeaways from the Unzipped experience.

1) People respond in delight when you interrupt their everyday with something that reminds them to dream.

Jody Servon’s “art” is called Dreams for Free. For this project, Appalachian State art professor Jody offered passers-by on streets across the U.S. lottery tickets in exchange for their taking a moment to write down what they’d do if the ticket turned out to be a jackpot winner. The answers range from heartfelt to hilarious. (My personal favorite: “Make my brother (Stewart) my personal servant with a descent [sic] salary.”)Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 2.44.57 PM

The most inspiring thing? Jody’s conviction as she talked about the light she saw fill strangers’ eyes when they realized she simply wanted to ask them about their dreams. In everything we do, from business to play, we can cause people to dream simply by interrupting our routines enough to ask the questions no one else is asking.

2) There’s a journalistic sense of civic responsibility missing from the Web.

Eli Pariser’s TED talk “Beware Online Filter Bubbles” will really get you thinking. I encourage you to watch it, but it basically boils down to this:

We all thought the Internet age was tearing down the walls and freeing us from the gatekeepers who told us what to think about, but the truth is, search engine algorithms have become the new gatekeepers by showing us only the news it thinks we want to consume. For news junkies like us, this trend is a big one to watch.

3) Conflict leads to thinking. Most organizations don’t think because the people that comprise them are afraid of conflict.

Margaret Heffernan’s Dare to Disagree talk is one of my all-time favorites for professional communicators and idea people. Margaret preaches that openness alone does not drive change or good ideas of any kind. We must have constructive conflict and seek out people who are different from ourselves. Only through constructive conflict do we think well together and create ideas that advance our purposes.

Those were my big three from TEDxGreenville 2014, the ones that will stick with me and impact how I approach work and life. The brilliant thing about TED is its ability to keep your mind moving while giving you time to process what you’re hearing. (Many of the more poignant talks are followed by musical acts or breaks.) If you haven’t been, I recommend checking out next year’s event!