It worked – the entire experience including the Hive locations at both San Francisco and Washington, DC came together to make an energetic space that the attendees of TEDMED are really enjoying. We designed an intricate web of interactions that catch and bring together great thoughts and great minds. In the Hive areas in both cities we have “Speaker Meet Ups”, where presenters from the stage continue the conversations in a more intimate setting. There is a space called Campfire, where you can drop in and select a topic from a giant match stick, enjoy a s’more and strike up a conversation. Another area focuses on “Six Great Challenges” where meaningful conversations are happening and ideas are being born.
Throughout the space are many wonderful, cutting-edge companies both large and small, sharing so much interesting information and thinking for attendees to discover. I’m hearing a lot of good feedback that this year’s TEDMED will be the genisis for many great new conversations, efforts, and collaborations.
Photos courtesy of Imaj Photography.
Since my last post we have been busy designers! This year my involvement with TEDMED has been an expanded one. I am charged with both the overall experience design and the creative direction of this year’s event. It’s just a few short days away from becoming a reality. It gets a little trickier too. Besides my new role, which has been a blast, TEDMED is being hosted at two venues simultaneously. We jumped right in.
Our goal of creating a remarkable experience at each venue is on-track, but it has not been without creative and strategic challenges. Consider the two venues, The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco and The Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Both are amazing places. Truly landmarks. The Palace of Fine Arts was created for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition and has been nicely cared for and renovated in the past century. It is a grand facility. The Kennedy Center is an iconic structure housing multiple stages, halls, and performance venues. Also grand, but as a building designed in the late 1960’s it has a markedly different personality. Why two different locations at the same time? Both areas are hubs for medical research, innovations, leadership, policy, and funding. The live interaction between the two stages will be truly inspirational.
But you can see the challenge. How do we design two entirely different spaces to interact with each other and share content seamlessly, all while ensuring the right experiences are occurring at each locale? We also put high value on conversations and connections away from the shared content. We had to intentionally design for those experiences as well. In the end, we had to determine what needed to be closely replicated at each location and where we would let each venue’s personality nuances shine uniquely.
The additional challenges of these two spaces added complexity to our solutions but it will be a truly unique experience that was definitely worth the effort. It came together. We are counting down the days until we share this with the world.
Check out the website: http://www.tedmed.com/event/abouttheevent
“John F. Kennedy Center (7645507542)” by http://www.GlynLowe.com from Hamburg, Germany – John F. Kennedy Center
TED’s first foray out of the US recently concluded with many words of praise. The Vancouver Convention Center was an incredible venue with priceless views of the water and mountains. Great times, great talks, great feedback. But, one early fundamental challenge to this venue was the lack of a theater. So the challenge was presented to Steelcase and the Rockwell Group about a year ago: can we not only build one from the ground up, but can we also make it more amazing than any other theater space that is out there? TCondon worked with The Rockwell Group on the furniture portion of the theater, creating a blend of 15 different types of seating styles covered with muted blues, golds and greens.
In addition to the theater, we also designed many smaller simulcast gathering places that allowed TEDsters to experience and interact with the event even when they chose to be away from the theater. We are always considering different functional needs and multiple desired interactions at events like these, and we draw upon our experience to ensure the spaces are not just visually stunning but are very useful as well.
The response was great and it was another amazing TED!
I am currently at TEDGlobal in beautiful Edinburgh. TCondon designed the many social spaces here at the venue and I am sticking around to recharge and be inspired. A huge perk from collaborating on events like the TED series is having easy access to some of the best ideas and thinking in the world, unfolding all around me.
Day 3 is tomorrow and the stage has been set for a very engaging week. “Think Again” is the theme this year and the challenge is to open one’s mind to the possibility that old ways of thinking must evolve as the world is changing. The status quo is certainly being challenged: Could stress actually be good for us? Maybe. Can men be comfortable with not being the bread winner in the family? Probably. Are you open to loosening the hold you have on the way you understand the world around you?
As I mentioned, T. Condon once again designed the social spaces at this event. Always striving to create a great vibe, the design intent was to craft a unique experience. Imagine combining a comfortable lounge and café with a cool book store, coffee shop indulgences, a Getty art gallery and intriguing technology innovations showcased in the Autodesk Exhibit. This combination is a big hit – I am seeing many connections and conversations happening throughout this lively space. It is exactly the types of interactions we were designing for. And, if you are here be sure to see the other exhibits throughout the entire building. Great stuff.
A personal favorite this year — don’t miss the robot lab. Raffaello D’Andrea demos his flying quadcopters. These are amazing robots that seem to think on their own. They are solving physical problems by utilizing algorithms that help them learn. It’s incredible to watch these drones play catch and to work together using a net to toss a ball back. You have to watch the video to believe it. It’s certainly more than what you find on the shelves at any hobby shop, but who knows when this sort of technology may be commonplace? More great stuff!
What do you do with your ideas? How do you share them? Where do you go with great ideas that you don’t use ? Is there a new technology that can help ideas grow?
The TEDx space at TEDGlobal started as a blank canvas, slowly becoming a masterpiece of great thoughts as we encouraged the TED community to draw on literally every surface in the room. It’s a fun way to be part of a collaboration and sharing of ideas and people are actively participating. As some express themselves with markers, others are smiling as they read the messages on the walls, floor, tables and chairs. Inspiration and new ideas are shared on every surface and in countless conversations, all spurring on new ideas that will change the world.
Thanks to the Gates Foundation for bringing 15 TEDx organizers to Edinburgh and for continuing to help make this a great experience.