The Power of Positive Innovative Ideas from Detroit at TEDxDetroit 2011

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(By Amy Ewald)

You’ve probably heard of TEDxDetroit, and you probably know it’s a conference, but what is it really?  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.  TED’s mission is “ideas worth spreading” The “x” stands for independently organized TED events.   These events or conferences are held all over the world!  TEDxDetroit’s primary purpose is to discuss and promote positive ideas for the world from Detroit.   The third annual event was held at Orchestra Hall at the Max M Fisher Music Center on September 28, 2011.

There were a wide range of presenters and entertainers.  There were entrepreneurs as young as 9 years old who spoke for us. Dr. Claude Pruneau the Director of Wayne State University’s Planetarium taught us about “The Perfect Liquid”, Quark Gloun Plasma.  The Detroit Tap Repertory Tap danced for us as well as Violinist/Digital Effects Master/Shaman Dixon played his violin that he modified with a power drill and wowed the crowd.

It is impossible to leave the event and not feel inspired, empowered and raring to get out and start something new!   Presentations from Sebastian Kuiper the 9 year old Gourmet Lemonade Entrepreneur, Randal Charleton of Tech Town telling us it’s all about confidence or Josh Linkner CEO of Detroit Venture Partners, founder of ePrize and New York Times Bestselling author of Disciplined Dreaming telling us that “Playing it safe is the riskiest move of all”.  You leave wanting to start pursuing dreams that you have been afraid to live!

Sometimes you have simple idea such as wanting to make something your child will like and possibly stop them from crying. Next thing you know can turn into something big, and Disney might want to buy it! It happened for Julie Aigner-Clark of Aigner Clark Creative she created the Baby Einstein video series which started in her basement with hand puppets, dolls, classical music and a borrowed video camera!  Most recently she’s just conquered cancer for the second time and she says that, “When you can beat the odds it feels miraculous!”  Former President George W. Bush even mentioned her in one of his State of the Union address (see here).  She also feels that we should all practice thankfulness.  She is currently working on a project with John Walsh called “The Safe Side” a group of products aimed at 5-9 year olds about personal and Internet Safety.

Other times you want to get out of the corporate world and strike out on your own.  Take Tara Michener of Tara Michener, LLC for example.   She was bullied in school, and decided to help other children and teens with this issue.  Wish she had been around my high school!  I was the subject of bullying instigated by one boy.  I am “height challenged”, he was about 1 inch taller than me however he needed to feel bigger than someone.  Oh the times I was locked in my locker, or dumped in garbage cans!  I was lucky though, a big football player saw it and told them to stop it otherwise they would have to deal with him.   Magically, the bullying stopped for me!   However, other children and teens are not so lucky. Tara writes an awesome series of books call “Who I am series”  These books are to help children build confidence and deal with bullying and diversity.

Other awesome presenters were Jeff Jorge CEO of and triathlon athlete telling us about his experience during a triathlon you realize that your body keeps going it’s your mind that stops you!  Veronika Scott of The Empowerment Plan who developed a water proof, self-heating coat that turns into a sleeping bag at night for homeless people also spoke.  She recently had so many requests for coats she opened up shop in Cork Town and employs homeless women to help make the coats.  Most recently the Red Cross wants to buy 20,000 of them for disaster situations!

If you would like to feel some of the inspiration of TEDxDetroit they are currently in the process of uploading videos to YouTube for you to watch.   I highly recommend it, especially if you are having a bad day!   If you would like to attend next year’s TEDxDetroit, follow them on Twitter @tedxdetroit, visit their Facebook page go to their website at



About Amy Ewald

Amy Ewald: I have worked in the IT industry for over 12 year. In my free time I have a tech blog, where you can find helpful articles for beginners to advanced users for computers, smart phones, iPhones, iPads, Blackberries, and the Amazon Kindle! I also am a Revision3 Television Street Team Ambassador and an Editor for Girls In Tech-Detroit. Follow me on Twitter: @aimee1002