Magic behind the event – the TEDx team!

Wondering if you should join our TEDxUoN team?

Maybe this will help you out a bit.

TEDx events are so much more than your run-of-the-mill talk shop, and they usually attract certain types of people. On our team you will have the opportunity to work within a diverse and passionate group of people who all believe in the ideals of the community and in the power of ‘ideas worth spreading’.

We will look to form teams around the different aspects of the event. These would draw on a variety of skills and capabilities, and we’d most probably have room for anyone willing to join.

More importantly though would be your drive, your desire to contribute to something bigger than just this event, and your willingness to work toward producing something truly creative and unique.

Teams from TEDxUCL and TEDxMidAtlantic

Don’t take our word for it though. To give you an idea of how the rest of the community approaches this, here’s TEDxLahore’s message to its volunteers:

Oh, you lucky few,

As TEDxLahore volunteers, you have the opportunity to work towards bringing a remarkable event to life with a diverse group of passionate individuals who are on a whole new level of insane. In fact, it just may be that they invented the thing, because you will find them working for the event at all sorts of ungodly hours, often only surviving on cafeteria food, Fox’s mints and the goodwill of their peers. They do not do this because they like to torture themselves, they do it because they believe in what they are doing, and they believe in the power of collective genius to turn things around. This is why TEDxLahore is going to be an event and an experience to remember. You seem to have the same kind of spirit, and this is why you have been called upon to be a part of it.

So please check the ego at the door, read and agree to the following, sign over your freedom for the next month and a half, and let’s begin.

The Oath:

By agreeing to work as an official TEDxLahore volunteer, I agree to the following:

1. I will believe in the power of collective genius. I will learn and share and walk the talk with pride.

2. I am not the All-Knowing, and I don’t have the All-Seeing Eye. This is exactly why I will stay in touch with my team members at all times and make sure I know what is going on with other teams as well.

3. I am going to do the assigned tasks better than expected; that’ll tell the team leads!

4. I am going to research TED and TEDx like it’s going out of style, and know what I’m talking about when I open my mouth about all things TED, TEDx and TEDxLahore.

5. I am going to exercise my right to be awesomely cool and show up for all meetings and tasks ten minutes before they are supposed to begin.

6. I will not quit, no matter what. Once I’m in, I’m in. There is no option of divorce in this relationship, unless something apocalyptic like a zombie takeover happens. Even then I will reconsider my decision to quit.

7. I will discuss any grievances in private with my team leader and try to resolve any issues with the kind of dignity that will set new standards of class.

8. If I can’t be there for a meeting or a task, I will alert my team lead a day before so that the poor thing can arrange for something else.

9. I will maintain team spirit by being supportive, constructive and respectful of other’s opinions. I will question things and give suggestions to make thing better, not to randomly rip them apart.

10. I will try my best to preserve our collective resources and make the most of what I have.

11. I will aim big, and dream bigger. I will not let pessimism take me over. I will defeat negativity with my optimism and with my genius. If things get tough, I’ll get tougher. I’ll give help and seek help without delay. If there is one thing I take away from this whole experience, this must be it.

12. I will have so much fun, my friends and family members will volunteer next year just to see what I’m on.

Adapted from TEDxBeirut blogpost

So if you’ve liked everything here so far, we encourage you to drop us a message at and we’ll get to work on including you in this promising experience.


Breaking it down

TEDx events may be one-day affairs, but don’t be fooled. To pull them off to the high levels of professionalism and creativity that they’ve come to represent takes a great deal of commitment, passion and behind-the-scenes work.

So what exactly is it that we’re working towards?

The Speakers

At the core of every TEDx event are its theme and speakers. TED talks have grown massively in popularity in the last 6 years since they’ve been released online. The format developed over the lifetime of the conference has been tuned to almost an artform that now attracts some of the world’s brightest and most talented to the stage. As is said in this Fast Company article,

” .. (includes) a roster of speakers that runs from Bill Clinton to J.J. Abrams, from Desmond Tutu to Isabel Allende — anyone who’s driving change across the globe.”

For our event, we’ll look at taking concepts and ideas from our very own within the University, and presenting them along the lines of this format. The challenge here would be not just to find interesting stories, but rather to showcase these stories in a way that a broad audience could both understand and relate to.

The benefits?

The information within talks can have a much wider reach both through their appeal from the TED format and the global network of viewers that the TED/TEDx brands have established.
The Experience

A TED conference is much more than just a series of talks. The day is designed to engage the audience in a full spectrum experience that spans from the stage, through the theater, and on to the social spaces within the venue.

TED and TEDx events aim to not only inform, but also to inspire and entertain. Spaces are designed to enhance the theme and on-stage talks, and to encourage interaction between audience members.

To pull these off, team members must consider the entire experience that is the event. They must be creative in their execution, and must incorporate elements that co-ordinate which each other to provide a coherent and engaging message to attendees.
The Community

With all of the focus on the event, it is key to remember that most TEDx’s aren’t just about this.

The events are usually collaborative efforts by people who have a shared interest in TED’s offering and what it represents. The events also serve as a platform to engage others within this ethos as attendees or just simply as observers.

Discussions at a TEDxPortofSpain event

The conversation around the event starts long before the actual day, and it continues on after it. Groups would meet up to share ideas sparked by talks that are relevant to their local context, and they would then contribute back to the conversation through talks hosted on the day.

Some TEDx communities even go on to organise actions from ideas presented on the day. These are more of an effort to take ideas out of the realm of just discussion, and have them go forward to have some real impact on a chosen situation.
Our task

So from these elements you should be able to gauge the nature and level of work we’ll be putting in, in the next couple of months toward our event. We will say this though. For anyone who has an active interest in TED, in our theme, or just generally in putting things together, the organising experience can be a very rewarding and fulfilling one. The opportunity to contribute our own bits to the online conversation, to create this experience for our attendees, and to join the rest of the global TEDx community more than makes up for the work that it takes.

We look forward to organising this event, and moreso, we look forward to the establishment of a proper TEDx community within the University of Nottingham!


Article tips:

  • Clicking the pictures takes you through to the respective TEDx pages where photos were taken from
  • Clicking ‘Spaces’ takes you through to the official TED social spaces pinterest board
  • Clicking ‘actions’ takes you through to a youtube clip that showcases the platform and some actions already done (from TEDxSummit)

Enjoy ;)

Our Theme!

We’ve been mulling over a couple ideas for quite a while now and we think we’ve finally settled on one that fits really well with the event we want to do.

So what is this idea for our theme?

” Sowing the seeds “


The University of Nottingham has a record for promoting entrepreneurship both in its operations and among its students. Our talks will come from people either within the University or affiliated with it in some way, and they will fall under our different proposed sub-themes below.

The Narrative

This particular theme gives us the flexibility to explore a lot of options.

Firstly, it is a play on the process of growing a plant from its earliest stages to a state of maturity. A lot of the metaphors from plant care and nurturing can be applied to the entrepreneurial process. For our talks, we propose four sessions.


  • The Granary
    Here we’ll be exploring the processes that go into developing an idea and evaluating its potential at the conceptual level. This may draw on speakers from disciplines such as psychology and philosophy among other things.
  • The Planter (nurturing the idea)
    Here we may switch gears and try to source talks about the business incubation process. Talks here could fall under a variety of topics related to what happens in an incubator or why they work. They could even come under what it takes to get an idea going at its very early stages (team building, startup strategy etc.)
  • The Fields
    Here we switch back to the development of the idea. The analogy drawn would be the work it takes to form and shape an idea after it’s been hatched and while it is still growing. Our approach would most likely be to look at interesting research projects around the Uni to try to find suitable ones that could make a great TEDx talk.
  • Off to market
    After the idea’s been sufficiently tended for, it’s time to take it into the world and start harvesting its benefits. Right now we’ll be looking for talks around the impact some idea is having or has had as a current venture.

The theme also allows us latitude in a couple other areas of the event. One for example, is the green image that it portrays. This could be worked into the sustainability of the on-day event or it could play off UoN’s green reputation for example. These are just initial ideas though, and more will come as we get into preparations.

What next?

Now that we have a framework within which to operate, we’ll start moving on to other stages of the planning process. Next up, recruitment. The event will be a collaborative effort (as TEDx-es usually are) between staff and students and there will be an array of roles and responsibilities to be filled.

Opportunities are plenty so spread the word! It’s a great way to get involved in the process that has been replicated all over the world, and that is behind the on-day experience and talks that come from a TED-style event.

Photo credit: eHow

Kicking things off

Hi all, and welcome to our blog!

We’ve got a fresh new TEDx event coming to the University of Nottingham in a couple of months time, so we thought we’d let you guys in on what it takes to plan and pull off an event like this. Think of this blog as a ‘behind the scenes’ of sorts for the next few months leading up to the event.

What is TEDx?

To start with, for those of you who don’t know, TEDx events are independently organised (and we stress this) events licensed from TED. The events are usually run using the format developed by TED over the past 28 odd years through their annual conferences in California. In these, speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds take the stage for no more than 18 minutes to give a talk around something they are deeply involved in or passionate about. TED started posting these talks online back in 2006 and they’ve gone on to amass millions of views from people all over the world.

Chris Anderson at TEDxSummit in Doha

The TEDx program, a huge step for TED, was started back in 2009. We say ‘a huge step’ because for a conference of such high regard with such a valuable brand, to practically open it up to strangers to take it forward could not have been an easy decision. Since then though, the program has gone on to spawn hundreds of events around the world, and some pretty amazing stories to go with them.

Our event

We ourselves have got some pretty exciting ideas and plans for our own event that we can’t wait to share with you all. It’ll be primarily student organised with some staff involvement, so if you’re at UoN right now and want to join us feel free to get in touch.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be releasing bits and pieces of these plans through here, and on our social profiles: Facebook, Twitter and Google+. We encourage you all to follow us in the process, and if you can, join us on the day when it all converges into our main event!

These first steps are always the most exciting and we can’t wait to get moving along on this journey.