This year we were fortunate to get hometown tickets for TEDx Bristol 2019 – held within the walls of the lovely Bristol Old Vic Theatre! If you haven’t heard of TEDx then we recommend the TEDx website or Youtube channel. It’s a great source to broaden your horizons.
Over the course of the day, topics were presented within the themes of Reflect, Rethink, Reboot. Spanning Artificial Intelligence, Healthcare and Nutrition, Nature and Social Systems – it was a truly mind expanding experience.
We wanted to share insights from our favourite talks, that resonated with us personally and as a team.
Why Nature Is Our Best Leadership Model – Andres Roberts
Andres Roberts painted an idyllic scene of himself in the wilderness, detaching from society and embracing nature, with nothing but his camera. Spending the days listening to his surroundings, noticing nuances in light as the sun moved from east to west, and the balance within the environment, Andres found himself the happiest he had ever been.
Sharing one of his most memorable experience, Andres described catching sight of a stag one afternoon close to his camp. They would look at each other for a time and then the stag would disappear. To Andres’ surprise, the stag returned circling the camp every day, closer and closer until Andres could almost reach out and touch it.
This uniquely sensitive experience led him to reflect on the unbalance of our current purpose in business focusing on profit and gain – ultimately in order to generate wealth to afford what? Security? Freedom to explore experiences in nature?
Proposing that the current model follows a linear based approach, looking ahead with little consideration for the effect outside of its channel:
Growth, Winner Takes All, Take and Consume, Control.
Andres reflected on what nature has taught him is that we need to start to teach a new leadership, redefined by the rules of nature on behalf of the whole planet, an approach which values capacity and care, and fundamentally the protection of life. Where clearly our current system is not working Andres proposed that an alternative route is emerging:
Cycles, Optimisation, Regeneration, Relationship
Akin to a spider web, looking at the various interconnected business components where competition is less healthy, we should focus on the formation of relationships. This is key to optimising resources and doing balanced business with systemic awareness. If you’re interested in finding out more, Andres founded the Bio Leadership Project to connect an ecosystem of people and projects transforming leadership by working with nature.
Andre’s talk inspired me to remember one more thing, that is, and I quote – “If we change what we measure, we can change the world.”
Your Health Data Is In Your Hands – Stephanie Campbell
Whilst working as an Eye Specialist in 2014, a six-year-old patient prompted Stephanie to rethink how we approach health in the digital age.
With decades of experience as a Senior Academic Researcher, she has recently founded OKKO a digital health company. It’s focused on delivering effective healthcare to large populations with a person-centred approach for those at high risk of eye disease.
How does OKKO Health do this? Well, using video games.
Stephanie explained that using the software they’ve developed within video games they can obtain valuable information from user interaction data, combined with sensor technology.
As a big advocate for AI, or as she likes to put it – Augmented Intelligence, she believes that such technology can help move us towards a preventative healthcare system rather than one that is reactive.
The potential benefits include earlier identification of diseases and improved treatment of patients, with reduced cost to the NHS.
We love the idea of affordably ‘piggy-backing’ diagnostics on technology in everyday use. However, with the lure of medical technology comes the problem of data collection.
With little explanation of major questions around the ownership and ethics of data collection, access and storage I must admit it left me feeling a little uneasy.
Data acquisition and its use is a hot topic in product design right now. It’s an area that has been left unregulated for too long, with everyone relying on businesses to proactively address the issues to ensure that our data is safe and won’t be used against us.
How To Change Your Life In 30 Days – David O’Mahoney
Veteran of the British Household Cavalry, David O’Mahoney told his traumatic story from the day he was run over and never expected to survive.
Sharing that moment, David described how he stepped from the curb, to be suddenly hit by a car at 40 mph and pulled beneath the car, where his head ended up in the wheel arch. The emergency services at the scene of the incident had to put David into an induced coma having sustained a brain injury with a mortality rate of 97%. What followed was brain surgery and skull reconstruction, and the potential of life support being turned off. To everyone’s relief, he pulled through and immediately began to improve.
The road to recovery was not smooth, David found himself turning to gambling and alcohol as a coping mechanism for his deteriorating mental health. Finding himself depressed and struggling to cope with suicidal thoughts, made seeking help a difficult step.
Thankfully, this inspiring young man is here today to spread the message through his speaking career that waiting until you have a burnout or breakdown before you address your mental wellbeing is no longer a strategy for success.
I found the most valuable take away from David’s talk was that we truly can find strength in adversity and seek to live in gratitude and compassion through the opportunities offered to us in life.
Gratitude, Reflection, and Adaptation to Overcome! Check out the journal David used to get him through his darkest days – It`s Gonna Be OK Inner Truth Journal (by Knock Knock.)
One Million Online Harms an Hour: How Can We Reboot Social Media? – Drew Benvie
Drew Benvie, a social media dork, presented the topic of – you guessed it – social media and how he believes that it remains a positive tool for human connectivity and communication.
Drew addressed the harmful and negative material that lurks inconspicuously within our social media feeds. It not only affects us on a personal level but also on a societal scale – think fake news, political interference, terrorist propaganda!
He soundly gave advice by the way of 3 top tips on helping us to avoid and prevent our run-in with such material.
- Identify a Troll. A troll is someone who has a fake account and who more commonly will post divisive topics that also contain falsified information. These accounts are known as ‘David’s. This then is shared by potentially thousands of bots and, yes, bots too, are fake accounts. This is where you come along and start to like, share and comment unbeknown to you that you’re now part of the bot team pushing harmful information around online. To identify a troll firstly check the source of information you are about to share. Check how many followers the account has. The first warning sign is an obscure number of followers/friends (something that is inhuman to manage). The second warning sign is the accounts profile picture not containing a picture of a person (selfie, or you and your BFF). The third and final warning sign is that the account has the same material that its followers’ accounts do.
- Fake Filter. There is no such thing as a fake filter (yet) however you can be that fake filter. When looking at an account or posts from those you trust the most stop to think if the information you are reading is actually reliable. Check to see if the BBC is reporting on the topic or check to see what account the information is being shared.
- Positive Follows. Your Facebook or Instagram feed that is personalised to you every time you log on is due to an algorithm so that when you search, like, share a post based on, say, Trump then your feed will continue to be populated with more Trump-related stories. Drew’s tip for avoiding this is to follow at least 3 positive influencers such as National Geographic or Daily Zen. You’ll see your feed become lighter, friendlier and more positive to keep your mental state fresh and healthy.
Well, that’s quite a varied roundup of topics, that’s certainly got us thinking. If any of the speakers above interest you, or you want to find out more head over to TEDx’s Bristol 2019 website. There you will find the full line-up of speakers for the day and information on how to get in contact.
At Realise we make sure we’re getting out and about to listen to what’s going on in the world. There’s true value to be found in listening to others and this is one aspect that keeps the team here at Realise ahead of the game in developing human-focused solutions for businesses big or small globally.