Takeaways From TEDxMIA (Part One)

TEDxMIA Speakers and Organizers
TEDxMIA Speakers and Organizers
Courtesy of TEDxMIA, Photo by Armando Colls

As us locals will boast proudly--this town is quickly becoming a hub of diverse creativity and leaders of innovative thinking, the total package of brains and beauty. Trouble is, our smarts sometimes go unnoticed because let's admit it, we do look good.

To help demonstrate the city's wit, TEDxMIA (where x= independently organized TED event) brought the TED model of discussions and idea sharing to circles across Miami Dade in an effort to showcase and drive the cultural and intellectual vitality continuing to grow in the Magic City. When we spoke to Caroline MacDonald, curator of TEDxMIA, to ask her "why Miami?" she replied in a clever English accent, "Simple. It's the city of the future".

Last night, TEDxMIA's "Framing the Future" took forward-thinking Miamians on a tour of a future society where crippling disabilities are cured, music and cameras have the power to dramatically change lives, and businesses profit from leaving the world a bit better than they found it. The live discussion held at the New World Center presented acclaimed speakers to promote "Ideas Worth Spreading" to share these ideas that directly pertain to our backyard and have potential to fundamentally alter the path of the next century.

Sounds too good to be true, but each speaker took it upon themselves to break down the simplicity and possibility of each idea. The message was hit home by MacDonald who added, "This is a new city, a young city. People actually have the opportunity to shape our future here, that's rare for a city of this size." If you couldn't make the sold out event, we've pulled together a few takeaway ideas to plant in your brain. Read up, and go be the good citizens we know you are.

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One simple solution can make a huge difference.

In her presentation, White Roofs for Green Schools, Leisha John, The Americas Director of Environmental Sustainability for Ernst & Young offered a way for Dade County's Public Schools to save enough money to hire 1000 more teachers: painting black roofs white. The paint job will keep rooms 10-20° cooler reducing energy costs and also has an added benefit of extending the lifetime of the roof.

Don't eat the marshmallow.
We've all heard the story, and some of us have been lucky enough to see the videos. Joachim de Posada demonstrated that delayed gratification (and waiting for that second marshmallow) makes for a more successful and happy life. He also added that the US needed to focus now more than ever on NOT eating the metaphorical marshmallow to ease the debt we are accumulating every day.

Crisis gives us unique opportunity to reset.

Peter Coleman, a complexity scientist, simplified the theory of what mathematicians like to call "attractions" but we might call causes and effects. He demonstrated that past actions or events set the stage for future successes or consequences, and expressed that the first decisions you make can largely determine the trajectory. Coleman put this into context of politics in his talk Why We are Stuck: the attraction of a polarized America, saying that whoever is chosen as our next president is in a unique position to reset our track of polarized party divides so we can move forward together.

Activate your responsibility.

Nicholas Berardi conveyed another simple message in his talk Disrupting Philanthropy: Philanthropy needs more personal responsibility. His organization, TECHO helps to eradicate poverty in developing countries with three simple steps: 1. simple and mass engagement: his accessible organization is made up of 1.5 million volunteers who develop personal connection with their projects; 2. take a bottom up approach: get the poor involved in solution to the problem; 3. have a concrete goal to cease to exist: dream of a day when there will be museums of poverty. Berardi believes that change will come once people refuse to accept that there will always be poverty and realize that it's not philanthropy, it is responsibility.

We are not bound to our bodies' limitations.
Beyond Bionics, presented by Justin Sanchez, discussed the idea of sym-bionics which would connect the brain to actions, thoughts and goals. He spends his days "listening to the music of the brain" and is working to create new medical devices to implant computer chips into the paralyzed.

Think about connections.
Pioneer Winter's performance, SEARCH:_____ took the audience through a tech-y mechanical choreography in which a duo worked to connect through a "bandwidth of space" which we saw as a commentary meant to spark thought about communicating in our digital age.

We will have part II up for you tomorrow. If you want to read tweets from the live stream of last night's talk, check out @TEDxMIA

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New World Center

500 17th St.
Miami Beach, FL 33139



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