Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Today’s world is not a smooth, easy space.  There is disruption everywhere — thus, an apt theme and headline for this year’s TEDxSMU, the third and most satisfying event yet.

If you decry upheaval and cling to the familiarity of the past, you will derail from the mainstream — and miss out on much of the fun on the way to the future.

TED encourages us to embrace change and celebrate new ideas.  It introduces us to key game-changers who share a perspective in tidy and compelling 18-minute packets.  You see the best thinkers, doers and presenters of our time.  Those who play on a global scale.  And those who impact the smallest sliver of a community.

To live today is to keep shedding the boundaries of our comfort zones.  Advancements can lead to unexpected destinations, creating both solutions and ethical questions that no one expected, as relayed by Juan Enriquez, one of the world’s leading authorities on the economic and political impacts of synthetic biology, genomics and other life sciences.  An eye-opener.

Kate Canales, creative director at the vaunted frog design firm, showed the process of observation and out-of-the-box thinking that innovates products designed to satisfy customer comfort levels.  Some can be low-tech, i.e., portable belt stanchions that prompt civilized queues at airports — solving crowd chaos.

Internationally-acclaimed artist Jaume Plensa showcased sculptures that jolt observers into active experience, contemplation and participation.  His Crown Fountain in Chicago’s Millennium Park combines animated photography, glass bricks, LED lights, water and more.  Spectacular.

Sustainability topics prevailed.  Jeff Fulgham, of Banyan Water, presented strategies for improved usage and conservation.  Mant Hawkins of Enoetics, showed a disruptive business model making “net usage” (no utility bill) facilities a reality.  Military installations are pioneering impressive beta sites.

The sadness imparted by Maya Ajmera, founder of The Global Fund for Children,  with her recount of statistics regarding abused, neglected children of the world – those without a voice – was tempered by the pure joy of singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb, who entertained with tales of camp and new works for kids, plus her breakout song, “Stay (I Missed You).”

TED and TEDx events offer a Niagara Falls of ideation.  This is just a spritz.

So get out of your comfort zone. Scope www.TEDxSMU.orgto learn more. Explore the opportunities of disruption.  Better yet, become a disruptor yourself. In a positive way, of course.

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Copyright © 2012 Nancy Keene