TED Circles with CN&CO 2020

Hosting our first TED circles – “Who has the Power”

Last night I had the opportunity to host CN&CO’s first TED Circles event. A virtual get together with friends, family, and colleagues from around South Africa. The broader CN&CO team and associates use TED to expand their thinking, generate ideas and to get inspired. You can check out the weekly TED Tuesday blog series to see a few of the favourites that have been shared over the last 4 years.

TED Circles with CN&CO
A few of the people who joined our TED Circles discussion last night

Community and collaboration, enabled by technology during these challenging times will help us to think creatively and explore the opportunities that will be created as a result of the constraints we face.

TED Circles is one of these enablers. It is an open platform of small groups that engage in conversations about ideas that are sparked through watching and engaging with the TED environment. Fortunately, circles can take place 100% virtually so they are helping communities stay connected and motivated during the current circumstances. They are hosted by volunteers and provide a framework for communities to watch and discuss a TED Talk.

The beauty about conversations is that everyone has something to contribute, we can learn loads from different perspectives and from people with different backgrounds than ourselves. TED Circles is a global initiative and you can find a community to join in your town.

TED Circles around the globe in 2020
TED Circles Map

We launched a TED circles initiative for CN&CO, because it aligns with the Confab concept that was hosted every few months at CN&CO HQ in Illovo. We would get a group of people together for a ConFab session: an evening of wine, insights and networking. Each event we invited a guest speaker to chat about whatever they wanted to in the company of 20 or so clients, colleagues, friends, friends’ friends, and the odd gate crasher.

Each month the team at TED Circles selects a theme to guide the conversation. For the month of March the theme was “Who has the power”. We were eager to get the most out of our 60 minutes with our guests so we kept the intro succinct and allowed for discussion time. Below are the two talks that we watch and chatted about.

Talk 1 (6 Mins): How to understand power – Eric Liu

This talk linked well the current circumstances that we find ourselves in.  We all have the agency to contribute to the change that is needed to refine and invent the new normal.

Here are a few of the questions we discussed.

*Can you think of a time when you had power in the civic arena (e.g. you led a discussion, volunteered to help others achieve a goal)? If so, what checks and balances, if any, were in place to keep you from abusing your position?

*The role of active listening – do we even truly just listen to responses when we ask questions or do we already have our mind made up?

*How does defaulting to truth influence our interpretation of power– “Talking to Strangers”, Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book elaborates on this point well, it’s a worth while read.

*In the civic arena, which source of power do you experience most often? How does it affect you?

*What does it mean to be a citizen and what is your obligation to use your power sensibly during the current global COVID-19 crisis?

Talk 2 (16 mins): Why COVID-19 is hitting us now – and how to prepare for the next outbreak – Alanna Shaikh

This talk is part of the special programming feature that was added at the start of March to help grow awareness around COVID-19.

Here are a few of the questions we discussed.

*Constraints drive creativity and opportunity. While the current circumstances are difficult, we can grow from the lessons we learn during this time to help build a better future.

*Lessons from the virus? Connectedness of the world and how data can be used to fast track health care. Contact tracking through a cell phones location data has been instrumental in helping governments around the globe combat the spread of the virus. I am convinced that we will see more data from wearable data being used in health care services going forward.

*How can we change the way we live? Can we be more conscious in our decision making and recognise that the world is all interconnected…

*What can we do? We all have agency, so be sensible and don’t be selfish. Health care workers and essential service providers are on the front lines, respect them and do you best to stay at home.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the March edition and we look forward to hosting you in April. The theme for April is “A changing world”, we will share details with you during the course of the upcoming week.

One last thing before you leave. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. The TED team have created a phenomenal TED Connect series. It’s hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers, TED Connects: Community and Hope is a free, live, daily conversation series featuring experts whose ideas can help us reflect and work through this uncertain time with a sense of responsibility, compassion and wisdom.

I found all the conversations from the last week extremely insightful and learnt a lot. The interview with the CEO of the South China Morning Post, Gary Liu, gave me an in-depth view of the history of events linked to the spread of COVID-19.

Head over to TED Connect to get the latest breakdown and sign up to receive reminders for the sessions.

Let’s stay physically distanced, but remain connected through using technology to collaborate, share ideas and design a sustainable future.

Ps. I enjoyed the words in this Instagram post that Carel shared and thought you may too.