Trunk goes to TEDx Manchester

Posted by Nathan Broadbent
For those that don’t already know, TEDx events are independently organised events under the TED brand, they take place all around the world and have been for over 30 years. Initially, TED stood for technology, entertainment and design, but as the brand has grown the topics covered have also evolved, covering areas such as politics, ethics and philosophy to name a few.  
For the past 3 years, TEDx Manchester has taken place at the Bridge Water Hall, organised by Herb Kim (who’s also responsible for other TEDx events around the north of England). We were lucky enough to attend the most recent event in Manchester on Sunday (3rd Feb 2019) and wanted to share some of the talks we found most thought-provoking.  

Mostafa Nabawy (UoM)

Mostafa is a bio-engineer from the University of Manchester. We often hear how some of our most creative engineering feats have been inspired by mother nature, who has had years to perfect certain biological functions. Mostafa talked us through his latest project, where he set out to learn how best to design and manufacturer micro-robots. Small scale robotics have an almost infinite number of applications, from deploying them to the most remote regions of the planet to study the environment, or work collectively as a group to find survivors after a natural disaster.    

Rory Sutherland (Wrongitude)

Rory delivered an excellent talk about how being wrong, can make you right. When we work for an organisation, we’re somewhat institutionalised. In this environment, we naturally gravitate towards using logic and rational to solve a problem. Typically, because we can justify our thinking much more easily with our peers, managers, colleagues, etc. Logic makes sense, right? …but, will only get you so far. Rory described how real innovation and creative problem solving is based around fresh thinking, something which challenges the norm and often originates from a different perspective.    

Ged King (Charitable Baber)

Ged talked about his challenging upbringing in North Manchester, how he looked to the military for guidance and came out with some self-worth and his head held high. After training to become a barber, he decided to use his trade to help homeless people in Manchester – the number of people sleeping rough in has drastically increased over the past few years and has been widely publicised. Ged describes how a haircut is more than just that, a short period of normality is brought to someone’s life who has suffered many difficult experiences. Ged now works closely with local authorities to tackle homelessness. He’s even paid visits to refugee camps abroad, where other asylum seekers are taking inspiration from him by giving free haircuts to those in need, all thanks to Ged donating his equipment.    
  Other talks throughout the day include:    
  • Sarah Carlick, whose research uncovered that amongst all the technology we use, only a marginal number of digital services exist to help safeguard children. She’s looking to change this with her MeSafe product.
  • Chris Baily described how after a close friend had a near death experience, he was committed to challenging his biggest fear – public speaking. A shy and recluse individual he overcame this fear by doing it every day, as he pretended to be a stand-up comic in the US under the alias Irish Dave.
  • Jon Carmichael talked about how he convinced a commercial airline pilot to make a detour in order to capture the best shots of the lunar eclipse.
  • Maisie Williams (the Game of Thone’s actress) spoke of her unconventional upbringing which made it challenging to get her “big break” at acting school. She’s since created a tech start-up which helps creatives from all backgrounds collaborate, in an effort to promote equality and level the playing field.
  • Katherine Ormerod, a social media influencer who identified that the projection of the “perfect life” is unhealthy for our society, and boldly begun exposing the truth behind her social media profile.

It’s refreshing to hear how some people are helping make the world a better place. Even small-scale work can have a large impact, which certainly helps to restore some faith in humanity. We’d highly recommend attending if you get chance, there’s plenty of opportunities to attend upcoming events over the course of the year. Head over to https://www.ted.com/tedx/events to find out more.