Change as a Result of Radical Openness, Highlights from TEDGlobal 2012

Change is uncomfortable and often disruptive, major change results in stress. Don’t believe me? Check out the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale measuring the impact of 43 life change units – pretty heavy stuff.

On the flip side change can be positive, resulting in personal growth, innovation and new solutions. It’s this perspective on change, as a stimulus for collaboration and improvement, that I believe was the catalyst for the TEDGlobal 2012 theme of Radical Openness. The ability to embrace new ideas, look at everyday situations differently and collaborate with unexpected allies is all part of radical openness and driving positive change in our world.

The second TEDx OrangeCoast session I attended via live simulcast was titled Long Term and focused on just that – long term changes that are needed in our world. Six people shared their ideas for the future via the TED famous 18-minute talk. The initial session, see my post on Shades of Openness, was all about challenging yourself to throw out everything you know as fact and simply be open to what could be.

The Long Term session took a very structured look at significant changes six people feel are needed in the world. Here’s a recap of the Long Term session ranging from climate change to some awesome guitar playing.

Vicki Arroyo, Environmental Policy Influencer, focused on what she calls the ‘wrenching’ changes needed to combat global climate change. Don’t believe in global warming? Vicki offers some compelling reasons to assess your personal impact on our global climate and how small changes in your community can make a difference. Jonathan Trent, Scientist and Biofuel Guru, offered game changing energy ideas with Project Omega from NASA. The idea is to grow algae for biofuel via a solar powered system in the ocean.

I was most intrigued by Susan Solomon a stem cell advocate from The New York Stem Cell Foundation. She shared the concept of stem cells being the ‘black box’ of disease management. Stem cell research truly puts us on the threshold of personalized medicine.

The highlight of this session was Usman Riaz, a 21-year-old percussion guitar player that was nothing short of amazing. He learned to play watching his guru Preston Reed on YouTube. We were lucky enough to see them play together!

Looking at these sessions from a business perspective it’s easy to see the importance of looking outside your box. It makes you think why not in place of that’s the way we’ve always done things. As the co-founder of a medical technology company I’ve had to push myself outside of my comfort zone and explore new ways to meet customer needs.

At InCrowd we have brought a new tool to the decision support industry  – that tool is real time information. We’ve developed a platform that enables a company to get answers to market research questions from industry experts in hours. It’s different than traditional market research; it leverages mobile technology and a do-it-yourself component to access immediate information from a highly targeted sample.

Is this new market research tool going to change the world on the same magnitude as Project Omega? Probably not. Can it be game changing to businesses using the new technology? We believe it can. Brining an innovative product to market does however highlight the need to remain open to new ideas and solutions. As we work with clients and investors it’s interesting to see their reaction to a disruptive technology. Some are open to a different way to access quality data faster but some are truly resistant to change. It makes you wonder, if a person puts up a barrier to accessing data faster how are they going to react when faced with a radical change?

My lesson learned from TEDGlobal – stay open to what’s possible. Don’t let new and different be unsettling; let it be exciting and empowering.

This post originally appeared on CROWDTalk.

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