TEDxBrighton 2016 Live Blog – ‘Oh Behave!’
8.30am, the doors are open and the auditorium is filling up fast. Floods of people take their seats, 10 minutes to go. The hard work of everyone involved and the anticipation of an awesome event bottles down to this. The icononic red lights and the ‘We Can Be Heroes’ graphic shines proudly at the forefront.
Team ready? Audience ready? Speakers ready?
With the sound of faint music filling the room, everyones attentions are drawn to the screen. We see a free runner jumping around the streets, flipping and diving off buildings – but wait, these streets look familiar. Of course, it’s Brighton. This guy has a tenacity to get somewhere (in the most slick way possible) – and the familiar surrounding tells us, his destination in site is (here) at the Brighton Dome’s doors.
The heroic music changes to a thundering D&B soundtrack. Cue the Street Funk dancers. Popping and locking with extreme ease. The impeccable performance is sure to animate the audience to attention.
What a way to open the show.
Event Director Toby and TEDx Sensai Marc are on stage to introduce TEDxBrighton 2016. Firstly Toby reiterates why we are all here, and what to expect from the show. Today he promises the audience will walk away with “ideas worth talking about.” The speakers and the general theme will help “change the lense we look through in life” and above all inspire us to take unwavering risks, chase our dreams and see what sort of impact we can make in our own journeys.
Kicking off the first section, a line-up of psychologists, scientists and neurologists – are ready to scientifically prove or disprove what we know and don’t know about human behaviour – and why we make the choices we make.
First up is Professor Karen Pine. As a psychologist, author and co-founder of ‘Do Something Different’, Karen’s mission now is to get millions of people around the globe to do something different everyday, through the use of behaviour change and technology. Interesting stuff!
“How many of you do not know if you are an introvert or an extrovert?” she asks the audience.
She proposes the new term – The Flextravert. But more of that in a bit.
Outlining how humans tend to go along with the social norm, she reiterates how usually everyday we follow mindless behaviour that ‘fits the script’ of what we know – showing a metaphorical image of us waiting in a formal queue.
Flipping to an alternative ‘queue’ we see a picture of how they do it in Thailand. Shoes instead of humans can represent your place in the line here!
Karen describes how we can flip the script, and do something out of the norm – stand on a table to gain another perspective – suitably represented by quotes from Dead Poets Society.
And back to the new term – these people are described as Flextraverts. Now to the stats: Flextraverts are healthier, have a lower BMI, mentally less stressed, and more tolerant of people who are different.
STOP, FLIP & USE are they three action points Karen leaves the audience with. Those who STOP going with the script, FLIP the norm and USE it – are those who form better relationships, better mental health and a more harmonious world. An inspiring thought for the first speaker of the day.
Next up is Wolter Smit. CEO and co-founder of TOPdesk. Widely recognised for his achievements as an entrepreneur and his approach to employee satisfaction. He is here to talk about the approaches businesses can take to create working environments based on genuine trust and a sense of care.
“Why is it so many of us have s*** jobs?” He asks. Great way to start, and a pretty dam good question.
Looking around, I think some can relate. Wolter goes onto talk about starting up TOPdesk and the kind of company he wanted to create – whilst questioning the kind of staff he wanted to employ. He says that there are two types of people, the X-type and the Y-type. The handful of us who are X-type don’t enjoy work and don’t understand why we have to work – namely those who are unhappy in their jobs. The Y-type are those who like to work because it’s fun and they want to work. Which one are you?
Giving some thought provoking advice to the CEOs in the audience, and the X-types – he says the Y-type employers must handpick the right employees that are going to self-propel. At the same time, you must give them the freedom to do so.
And to the X-type employees – DO SOMETHING YOU LOVE.. It might pay less but it’s more rewarding in the long run – “you don’t want to spend your life in a s*** job.”
Now lets talk about IQ. Richard Summers, scientist, entrepreneur, video games expert has done a lot of great things, among them, working with Stephen Hawking. He will be discussing how we approach education in schools with the help of understanding the brain – and the stats we can gather as data has become more accessible.
“IQ is inherited – but also learnt at school.” Richard explains how we retrieve some of our IQ through genetics and some through our educational experiences growing up, but the reality is, the majority are not trying to increase or improve their IQ.
We have an abstract intelligence, and artisan intelligence and an aesthetic intelligence – which in turn feeds into our overall behavioural choices.
With a handful of stats and figures showing the complexity of intelligence, we can start to understand how to approach education, and Richard comes up with two factors to take away.
1. Focus on artisan intelligence – We should be inspiring kids to take a creative journey – playing guitar for instance. The development is all about the importance of ‘practice’ and discovering how something works – whilst progressively improving.
2. Schools play a pivotal role in personality development. If you’ve been nourished – your personality is well rounded and smooth, if you haven’t – your personality is a bit off-set, but we can measure that. We can see how well the school is supporting kids, which again in turn is how we can improve the way we educate.
A better understanding of data and the brain certainly is a powerful tool to help advocate change – and it starts here.
As the audience applaud, Marc says ‘wow amazing, I just wish I had the IQ to understand it” – brilliant.
Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, and an expert in consumer behaviour, Rory Sutherland takes to the stage to discuss how small ‘butterfly effects’ in behaviour can have enormous effects on the decisions we make.
Firstly he explains the ideas of ‘wealth’ and how wealth as an individual entity is a dangerous thing – “you can’t experience wealth in an impoverished area for example”. The common thought to wealth, is to create ‘more stuff.’ – right? but engage the possibility to make ‘new and better choices’ – then the debate becomes a different story.
By large human beings are trying to avoid catastrophe, just like you would take the longer A-road to avoid the risk of being stuck on the motorway – and on a side-note “why do motorways have no emergency exits”, he asks, and “how has no one noticed this terrible flaw in its design” – a funny and truthful statement for sure.
Now onto this thought. What if we had ‘less choices’ to make deciding easier. Set menus for example where you can substitute dishes – showing an impressive version of this in a portuguese restaurant. On the flip side, Rory angrily dismisses ‘wine lovers’ – asking “whats the point in wine menus having un-necessary variety?” – it bullies the ‘gin drinkers’ (like him) into having only ‘wine for the table’.
Reducing choice creates wealth without consumption.
A humorous and engaging speaker, Rory has the audience in stitches with some real life examples of unavoidably bad decisions, including repeatedly missing the exit towards the M25 (due to a terrible sign that only allows you to know you have made the wrong decision after making the wrong decision).
It’s also interesting to think how ‘collective choices’ for instance ‘stoptober’ can in fact help people to make the right decisions – and stick by it.
Do you think less choice makes for better decisions? – a thought provoking end to a wonderful start to TEDx.
It’s been a fantastic first section, with lots to think about. The audience head to the foyer for a quick coffee break before returning for section two – Making the Cut.
*We hope you enjoyed section 1 of our ‘live blog’, updates from the rest of the day will be published soon*
Photos by: Clive Andrews @