We're Back!

by Matt Lawes on 2014-02-08

Did you miss us?

After taking 2013 off, TEDxUW is coming back this March to bring the best in technology, entertainment and design to the Waterloo community.

Wondering just what TEDx is? It's an independent branch of TED that takes the “spreading ideas” mission of the globally-renowned TED conferences and implements it on a community level, presenting innovative ideas to locals while also being available online to the world at large. Thousands of TEDx events are held all across the world, including places like Toronto, Cambridge — the British one —, Egypt and Sydney. But you're not here to read about TEDx stuff happening across the pond or down under. Let's talk about our very own TEDx event — TEDxUW.

The University of Waterloos' TEDx conference has all the benefits of all the other TED talks — The association with a massive network, the millions of people online waiting to be inspired, the focus on assembling the diverse & exciting discussions you won't find anywhere else — but it also has the bonus of having access to the talented minds in the uWaterloo community. TEDxUW speakers come from all walks of life, and in the past have included Olympic athletes, technological savants, accomplished entrepreneurs and more, along with University of Waterloo staff and students.

TEDxUW began in 2011, with the goal of bringing together the most interesting members of the UW community to make a change in Waterloo. Hosted by comic Ron Tite in the Humanities Theatre at Hagey Hall, the event was a massive success, featuring speakers such as negotiation artist Dr. Wendi Adair, wheelchair innovator Safwan Choudhury, and quantum physicist Krister Shalm. Hundreds of people watched the show live, whether in person or online, and since then the conference's videos have been viewed by millions. TEDxUW 2011 featured Larry Smith's “Why you will fail to have a great career” lecture, which currently has nearly 2 and a half million hits on TED's website and was featured in a playlist of 6 speeches that became a phenomena in 2012.   

In November 2012, TEDx returned to the university, this time with TEDxUW being held in the Quantum Nano-Centre. The theme of the conference was “EDGE”, with a focus on pushing the envelope and making the audience ask themselves “What if?” The event was hosted by Denise Conlon, and featured presentations from local entrepreneur Michael Litt, Heather Moyse - who won the gold medal in 2010 for the women's bobsleigh competition - and UW student Andrew Wong, among others.

This year's event will be on March 15, and instead of happening on campus, the conference will be held at the Tannery Event Centre adjoined to the Communitech Hub in downtown Kitchener. The 3,500+ sq. ft convention space is a monument to both collaboration and modernization, created by converting a former Waterloo mill into the state-of-the-art technology hub and conference centre that it is today - with the help of provincial and national funding. It is the perfect site for TEDxUW, an event that seeks to inspire others towards innovation.

Sound interesting? Want to find out more? Keep coming to the TEDxUW site for info on this year's speakers, videos from the conference, and of course, more blog updates!