Sunday, May 16, 2010

TEDx has its first confirmed speaker

It's been fun talking to potential speakers for our TEDx conference. It continues to amaze me how many people are addicted TEDsters through the web site. Who would have thought that a conference (and a very expensive one at that) could give away its product and still continue to flourish? Yet, by providing greater access to its content, TED has simply increased its popularity and brand identity. It’s yet another example of offering free content on the Internet and thus enhancing brand rather diminishing value.

This familiarity and respect has made the job of the Program Committee easier. Success came early with the confirmation of our first speaker, Anita McGahan. I first heard Anita speak at a Rotman event, and she wowed me with the clarity and power of her presentation. Anita is a respected professor at the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto, where she teaches the mandatory strategy course to all first-year students – a critical assignment in shaping Canada’s future business leaders.

But Anita goes way beyond teaching traditional business concepts. She opens students’ eyes to wicked problems of the world. Wikipedia defines a wicked problem as ‘a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems’.

Three of the problems Anita speaks on are the End of Oil, Global Health or Worldwide Migration to Cities. I want to hear them all – it’s like standing in front of a yummy smorgasbord and trying to decide which items you want to sample.

Anita has incredible credentials. She is a Senior Associate at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard University and the Senior Economist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health. She’s graced the staff of McKinsey and Morgan Stanley. She’s been a faculty member at Boston University and Harvard Business School. It was quite the coup for U of T to attract Anita McGahan, and a great feather in our cap to attract her to TEDx.


Catherine said...

I want to be the first confirmed attendee! What'sa girl gotta do to get a ticket?

ps Have you notice I'm working on a film?

Lib Gibson said...

I'm so glad you're keen on attending. There'll be information in a month or so about how to apply to be invited. We're following the standard TED format that the conference is by invitation only. But I'm sure an interesting person like you will be sure to be invited!!! :-)
I'll be keeping this space updated as we attract new speakers.

I saw you were working on a film. I'll be interested to see it.

Catherine said...

I'm actually hoping for something a tad more active. :)