by Ryan Miller, TEDxUtica Organizer
The process for planning our first main TEDxUtica event has been a pretty amazing experience, and one that’s been unfolding over the better part of a full year. I personally have learned a lot, especially when it comes to things such as being part of a team, promoting something you really believe in, and working to build something that’s a bit audacious in its scope. But another thing I’ve learned through this process is that we as a community are underrated. More to the point, we don’t give ourselves enough credit and too often give in to a prevailing perception that not only do big things not happen here, but WE are not capable of accomplishing them.
Recently I’ve spoken with quite a few folks who are excited about an event like TEDxUtica actually happening, but when asked if they were planning on attending responded with:
- ‘I don’t think I have anything to add to the conversation’
- ‘I don’t have a big idea’
- ‘I probably won’t even get in’
Yes, we are limited in our capacity for TEDxUtica to 100 folks, and it’s the team’s job to curate that audience (for those who we aren’t able to accommodate in the main event we’ll be inviting to attend one of two live stream viewing parties) – but I was quite surprised to hear statements like this from people whom I think are doing amazing things locally, who DO have great ideas, connections, and whom I personally look up to and respect.
I got to thinking that maybe this is a pretty apt metaphor for our area. In many ways, we don’t think we’ve got what it takes to remake our area, or that (as Richard Florida said last week) we have the Technology, Talent and Tolerance needed to build a community that is a place conducive to creativity and innovation.
But in working to plan TEDxUtica I’ve seen that the seeds are already being sewn if you just know where to look. Small businesses, Social Enterprises, Art and Design Spaces, Green Spaces and more – these things are all slowly growing locally and I feel lucky to have met some of the amazing people behind it all. I hope that we can help to share more of what’s happening at and beyond TEDxUtica and that more folks will build upon those ideas or find someone else’s big idea that they can latch on to and run with.
So I guess the purpose of this post is part invitation, part challenge. If you’re at all interested in attending TEDxUtica, on behalf of the team I’d like to personally invite you to request a ticket – we’ll do our best to make sure that everyone who wants to experience this event is able to do so in some way.
But more importantly whether you’re interested in attending TEDxUtica or not I hope that we can all start giving ourselves a little more credit as a community, and challenge ourselves to develop and deliver our own big ideas, or to actively seek out someone locally who has a big idea that we can latch on to.