TEDx Glasgow – the Theatre Royal Spiral Staircase – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
We began with a haunting, unaccompanied folk song from Kathleen McInnes, which took us to the first session. James Watt (@brewdogjames), Founder of BrewDog, spoke about his companies disruptive approach to customer culture, imploring us over a pre-10am can of lager ‘Don’t fuck up the culture’. By bringing the external internally, the dedicated customer base (of which I am one) have helped drive BrewDog to international success.
Such openness has its risks, illustrated in animated fashion by James Lyne, Global Head of Security at Sophos (@JamesLyne). The hacker of old has gone, having been replaced by the smiling social engineer of the modern cyber-criminal. When buying credit card details is as simple as visiting a dark-web online shop, itself customer rated and more secure than the banks they’ve breached, it’s clear that the traditional reliance on others to maintain our privacy has gone.
My clear first interest is Digital Health, and to that end I was particularly interested in hearing from the medical TEDx speakers.
Dr Ravinder Dahiya (@flexsensotronic) from University of Glasgow introduced the audience to the importance of touch in robotics, sharing the groundbreaking work he and his team have been undertaking in wrapping flexible ‘e-Skin’ over advanced robots and prosthetics. The critical importance of returning this sense to the wounded, and delivering it to the robotic, cannot be underestimated and bodes well for the future of both fields.
- Dr David Harris-Birthill, Senior Research Fellow from St Andrews University, demonstrating touch-free pulse and oxygen saturation monitoring of up to 6 people at once using Microsoft Kinect. This could be extremely helpful in remote monitoring waiting areas in urgent care centres and emergency departments, improving safety and saving staff time and resource.
- Dr Pablo Casaseca, Senior Lecturer in Signal & Image Processing from University of West Scotland, whose team is cleverly using a mobile phone app for audio analysis of coughs to help monitor respiratory health and predict exacerbations.
The appetite for disruptive and proactive innovation was absolutely clear. As one person described it, ‘We’re moving from asking permission first, and doing it then asking for forgiveness, to just doing it and not stopping until they taser you’ – I may well put this on my coat of arms.
Of course, TEDx isn’t just about medicine. Part of the magic of the event is the wide variety of speakers they assemble on one stage. The subsequent wild mixture of topics stimulates the mind and conversation even further.
So, from the art world we heard from fashion designer Pam Hogg, (@PAMHOGGcouture) talking about ‘Divine Disorder’ and the chaotic muse she serves in delivering her incredible and personal work to the catwalks of the globe. From NVA(@_nva_), Creative Director Angus Farquhar premiered a mystical video of his art installation at St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. He spoke of ‘healing the wounded giant’: a choral piece ringing through the illuminated skeleton of this post-modern ruin. Brianna Robertson-Kirkland (@BreeRob_Kirk) explained how the Castrato, the eunuch rock-stars of the classical operatic world, led to the development of a vocal training methodology that shapes singers today.
- Risk assessments for sleepovers.
- Sitting on the shore while your friends play in the sea because the wrong kind of staff are present.
- Being denied a hug, or even being told that someone loves you, because you’re not a child, but a child in care.
A more stark example of the need for disruption, and to rise about fear, could not have been given. As her speech closed, the whole auditorium rose as one to give her a standing ovation.
The day finished as it started, with clear blue skies and warm early summer sun bathing the massed audience. Conversations with strangers continued into the evening, and it was clear that the mission statement of TEDx was being delivered. What is interesting about the TED approach is that, in contrast to more traditional conferences, answers aren’t provided. What you get instead are hints at solutions, and encouragement to communicate, collaborate, and boldly experiment. The call to disruption of the world starts by accepting disruption within.
Post TEDxGlasgow – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
You can find out more about TEDxGlasgow and the speakers, including videos of some of the talks, on their website:
Declarations of Interest: I attended TEDxGlasgow as a guest of the DHI, with whom I have worked in the past in my role as salaried employee of IC24 ltd. All other expenses were paid for personally.