Have you ever been in the presence of risk takers, go getters and dreamers but didn’t have the time or courage to ask them about their thoughts and perspectives? Perhaps you wanted to find out the events that led them to success, but just...couldn’t? At the TEDxLiverpool Conference filled with such minds, I didn’t need to ask a single thing.
TEDx events bring together some of the best individuals in business, arts and culture. Each presenter takes the audience along with them on their journey and, most important, helps us understand perspectives developing within their minds through the key decisions. As such, it’s great the theme for the TEDx Conference this year was "Journeys" - here are some of my favourite messages:
“Make your creations accessible to those that need them the most”
Helping preserve nature is an ideal some of us strive for but don’t always allow ourselves time to carry out. Professor Serge Wich, a primate biologist at Liverpool John Moores University, is a man with a different plan. Co-founder of conservation drones, his work has helped with the mapping of local land cover, surveyance of forests, its animals, rivers and more. Their drones cost no more than a decent pair of field binoculars, and the result? A birds-eye view of key activities taking place - be it wildfires, illegal forest activities and more - available at low cost to those that need it the most.
“We have to keep running all the time to stay in the same place”
Wanting to open a savings account for his young children, Graham Thomas approached several banks only to be met with paperwork, mistakes and just general inconveniences. So, along with co-founder Ian Wilding they created Join SAM; a bank that allows you to open a SAM savings account in less than a minute, child or adult. What did I learn from the man that once chaired the multiple award-winning agency, Saatchi & Saatchi? To just try things, and if they don’t succeed, at least it is a lesson learned. There is never a moment to sit back and think the job is done. With evolutionary change, you must constantly be adapting, evolving. So, let go of the big projects that take 4 years to plan and create. Instead, embrace smaller and frequent changes that may not always work, but will give you a chance to pick yourself up, brush off, learn from the process and try again. This is the mindset that has seen Join SAM evolve over the past year into a family-friendly, responsible bank for both parents and children.
“Don’t let life get in the way of your dreams and don’t let realism get in the way of a good idea”
Janet Harrison is courageous. It takes strength to make a leap from secure and familiar surroundings to the unknown, which is exactly what she achieved - successfully. Now Managing Director of COFILMIC, a talent network for comedy across TV, film and live performance, Janet made the leap following 22 years in the insurance industry. We all have a "when I grow up" dream - for Janet it was to be a film actress, but it was only recently she decided to work toward that original dream. She spoke about the process of discovering her real passion and setting goals for herself. For Janet, that goal is a feature-length movie. She spoke about her fears before she changed her career, the moment she decided to venture into filmmaking and finally - taking the baby steps that eventually became her giant leap. Giving herself a 10 year timeline to achieve her goal, Janet is already ahead of her progress and is truly on the road to success.
“Believe in the power of small actions”
Pam Warhurst, founder of voluntary gardening initiative Incredible Edible, discussed the importance of small actions. She wanted to make an environmental difference within her community and set about making small changes. Planting edible fruit and vegetables around the town of Todmorden in Yorkshire, Pam brought together the local community and businesses to share her vision of a sustainable and edible landscape. Over time, edible plants grown in public areas - be it the local health centre or police station - encouraged locals to venture out, ask questions, try produce, share food and much more. The initiative is now spreading throughout areas in the UK and Europe. In Todmorden, however, results can already be seen. Her "small actions" have changed the concept local 8 - 18 year olds have of their responsibilities. They are learning about where their food came from, finding out about agricultural apprenticeships and, most important, how they can help sustain their town for future generations.
“Never give up”
Closing the conference and perhaps providing the most heartfelt message of the day, Peter Hooton spoke about his journey through the Hillsborough disaster and his ongoing struggle for justice. As a long time Hillsborough campaigner and lynchpin of the Justice Collective who were behind the Christmas number one single ‘He Ain't Heavy, He’s My Brother,’ he raised money for the victims of the tragedy. Most poignant was his passion - he never gave up and this, for me, became the secondary theme of the day, perseverance. Be it a battle with our inner fears, a marathon challenge to change the community or environment, or a public stand against the justice system itself - throughout our journey, we must persevere for that which is valuable to us, whatever it may be.
Note: Thanks to Herb Kim for organising this great event and kindly providing us with the images.