Blogs Worth Sharing: An Inside Look at TEDxSeattle
On November 18, 2017 TEDxSeattle returns to McCaw Hall for an event that aims to spark thoughtful discussion and build community. This year, SHW is proud to partner with TEDxSeattle in support of our mutual value of bringing people together. We know that planning events is much more than just booking a space. It’s about creating a meaningful experience from start to finish.
This is the first in a series of three blog posts that offers an comprehensive look at TEDxSeattle, from where it began to what it is now. With the help of the TEDxSeattle community, we present this insider’s guide to TEDxSeattle.
So, what is TEDxSeattle? In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED created a program in 2009 that supports local, self-organized events that mimic the TED experience. It’s a full day of programming, featuring talks from 14 speakers that touch on this year’s theme, “Changing Places.”
Seattle has emerged as a center for flourishing innovation and idea exploration, where thought leaders have a stage to speak their minds. This is a city that historically has championed change and forward thinking, so it’s no surprise that, shortly after TED launched the independent TEDx events, Seattle chose to host one of its own as TEDxRainier. The event rebranded in 2016 to become TEDxSeattle. From the start, this annual event has maintained the goal of bringing the same level of quality, thought-provoking discussions to the local community that the TED brand is famous for.
This year is no different. The 2017 theme, “Changing Places,” plays into the idea of illuminating and supporting new ideas, and was developed by the TEDxSeattle team to reflect on topical issues from diverse perspectives. “The meaning behind ‘Changing Places’ is really tri-fold,” says Elizabeth Coppinger, TEDxSeattle’s organizer. “First, the idea of changing the place where you are; second, places changing around you; and finally, changing places with people who hold different perspectives than your own.”
The event comes at an opportune time. Hot-button issues like the current U.S. Administration, growing homelessness in Seattle, and booming growth in Seattle have fueled a current culture of divisiveness and passionate discussion.
The TEDxSeattle team hopes the speakers selected will engage audience members in a way to further their understanding of this community. Of the roughly 200 people who pitched topics, the team carefully chose 14 speakers who aren’t selling themselves but were aiming to further their compelling ideas.
Beyond sharing, TEDxSeattle focuses on engaging, as well. “We’re all so time-constrained these days that giving up a whole day of our time is a big commitment,” Coppinger says. “I want to stress to people that the time spent at TEDxSeattle isn’t a vacation for your brain—in fact, quite the opposite. The team has worked hard to design the event in a way that is informative, intellectually challenging, and passionately diverse.”
It’s not just the speaker lineup that’s designed to engage attendees and strengthen a sense of community, though. Everything from the name badges to the sponsorship booths to the after-party has been carefully crafted around that common idea, which we’ll dive deeper into next week.
For the second part of our TEDxSeattle Blog series, you’ll learn more about the logistical choices made by TEDxSeattle including how they source their speakers and how they work with sponsors to design unique attendee experiences.