Trash as fuel, flying robots and happiness….TEDx 2013 in Boston

John Osbon - July 4, 2013

For the fifth year, Fidelity sponsored TEDxBoston, an event “catalyzing innovation by sharing ideas with citizens around the world.”  I think I speak for everyone there last week when I say that the TEDx speakers are an impressive group.  Most of us, I believe, were positively overwhelmed by the creativity, boldness, drive and vision of these Boston locals.

The event’s speakers are “luminaries who hail from the Boston area, are driven to make the world a better place, and are devoted to implementing their game-changing ideas at scale.” That’s impressive marketing language for the event, but in no way an exaggeration. They are authentic visionaries, pioneers and leaders by thought and example.

Here are a few highlights from TEDxBoston 2013, held on June 25th at the Seaport World Trade Center.

A few favorites of mine:

Paul Sellew of Harvest Power, aka “the compost king’” who documents how “the recycling revolution is here” and what it means to run a biogas and composting recovery company.

Helen Greiner of CyPhy Works, who wants to do for drones what she did for vacuum cleaners (Roomba, when she was CEO of iRobot), which is to put them to work without scaring the heck out of everyone.

Nataly Kogan, who asks “how can we be happier?”….and answers with www.happier.com, the happiness site.  Yes, “happier” is something you can act on, now.

More mind-opening presenters:

Nikita Bier of www.outline.com, who can show you, and any politician, how votes affect one’s pocketbook and economic self-interest.  No guesswork here, just real facts.  Never seen anything like this.

Sam Aquillano of Design Museum Boston, who means it when he says, “because design is everywhere, so are we.”  DMB can be and is anywhere, like in Logan Airport, the Factory 63 apartment building, and Fort Point Channel.

Vanessa Kerry of Seed Global Health, who is tackling the seemingly hopeless task of delivering health care to places almost without any care.  SGH is sending out its first two dozen young health care pros, so called “doctors training doctors” with the goal of putting an end to the shortage of health care professionals in places that need it the most.

Videos are coming soon, so I recommend visiting the website regularly, while also reading up on the individuals. I think you’ll have the same reaction that I did: you’ll feel good, be amazed, and marvel at how many talented people we have in Boston.

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