Our Vision for TEDxMiddlebury: Research, Rethink, Rebuild

By Guest Contributor

Part of our fascination with innovative people is the almost palpable buzz of potential that surrounds them. Every insight that slips out is valuable in and of itself, but each nugget of wisdom’s true value is as a clue to the thought process that shaped it.

These bright people have diverse identities, experiences, and intentions, but are unified by their ability to perceive where and how society is malleable. Many are relentless in pursuit of their goal. Many are also outsiders in one way or another.

One’s vision of a better world should not be misinterpreted as a rejection of the society around them, but instead a rejection of passive indifference. Visionaries disrupt the silent acquiescence of the majority, whether it be through a disruptive innovation, an incremental remedy for structural global injustice, or a new way of perceiving some element of the world.

Imagining a better world leaves one, by definition, constantly dissatisfied, but that is an insufficient justification not to do so. Unwillingness to accept the status quo as static may be irritating to those striving for blissful ignorance, but is a vital driver behind the development of society and its gradual arc towards justice.

Truly great entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs, policy makers and doctors, teachers and writers all rise above both expectations and conventional knowledge to reimagine a small piece of the world around them.

Research, when thoughtfully conducted and applied, can drive fissures in conventional notions wide enough for innovation to flourish.

Rethinking our own assumptions, biases and preconceived notions can make us more aware of the non-obvious, but widespread, societal deficiencies that offer opportunities for positive change.

Rebuilding society requires embracing risk, diligent commitment to execution, the convergence of imagination and a nuanced understanding of constraints and tradeoffs.

Our collective future is uncertain but malleable. If we are to achieve a world that is connected, cohesive and fair, the responsibility to fix that which is broken or tweak that which is flawed falls on each of us. Whether through social enterprise, a for-profit business model, activism or something else entirely, creative solutions of all kinds drive societal progress.

That’s what TEDxMiddlebury is about: it’s a forum for the exchange of ideas worth sharing. Our board has curated an event that touches on all aspects of the creative process, from investigating the topic, formulating an idea, to executing that idea. From urban farming to vertical farming, rural non-profits to seeking a better understanding of how empathy works, it’s our ability to Research, Rethink, and Rebuild small aspects of our world that will define our generation.

For future attendees, this Saturday, Nov. 9, eleven insightful speakers will challenge our assumptions, offer perspectives of how our world works, and offer visions of change in condensed 18-minute talks. Tickets are still on sale. The TEDxMiddlebury board looks forward to sharing it with you.


The TEDxMiddlebury Board