Denmark’s First University TEDx Inspires & Educates

Original Article for The Local Denmark, available here

 

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Technology, Entertainment, Design; TED – an acronym that many readers are no doubt familiar with. Founded in 1984, the TED brand operates on the maxim “ideas worth sharing” and usually consists of elaborate, well -prepared talks that are often filmed and unleashed to an eager online public. A powerful communication platform, it has branched off into numerous worldwide franchises operating under the TEDx banner, with the “X” denoting events that fit under the TED umbrella but are independently organized.
Paradigm shifts
TEDx KEA, Scandinavia’s first ever university TEDx franchise, brought a wave of inspiration and knowledge to the city on Thursday at the Nørrebro campus of the Copenhagen School of Design and Technology (KEA).
Featuring a main event at the adjacent Empire cinema and a live stream inside the campus (and to a worldwide audience) TEDx KEA ‘Emerge’ aimed to unite businesses and local leaders in the fight for a better tomorrow, provoked and emboldened by the up and coming talent of our generation.
Within this frame, speakers ranging from industry heavyweights such as author and serial entrepreneur Lars Tvede to Syrian refugee and women’s rights activist Noura Bittar Søborg gave TED talks that touched on a broad spectrum of topics. The latter received a standing ovation at the end of a compelling talk that told the epic tale of a struggle against violence in a war-torn nation, proposing a change to the status quo with verve and indefatigable emotion.
Others took a less serious, albeit compelling form – as was the case with sports marketing guru Stefan Pflug, who decried the short attention spans of internet-based information consumption. From fashion psychology (Manou Messman) to the need for a better understanding of social entrepreneurship (Lars Hulgård), each of the ten talks given during the course of the day told a personal story that merged with a call to arms within various subject material, asking questions of the manner in which we as a society operate.
More to come
For franchise holder Doug Costello and a massive crew involved in everything from speaker scouting to live stream recording and rhetorical training, the day represented the culmination of many months of hard work and a learning experience for future events of the same kind under the TEDx KEA banner.
The ten talks from the day will be edited and put online at some point, in itself a demanding task, but one that prolongs its longevity as a source of knowledge and inspiration for years to come.
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Speaker Announcement: Natasha Friis Saxberg

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Interconnectedness, globalisation, movement – all of these are buzzwords of our millennium and a focal point within the TEDxKEA narrative. Humanity took its time getting to where we are today, yet we still have a long way to go. The process of innovation, however, can and needs to be quicker and more effective, according to Natasha Friis Saxberg.

A globetrotter and a tech-frontrunner, Natasha has lived on three continents and has been exposed to many different cultures throughout her lifetime. Pursuing meaning on a global and human level rather than merely a local one has therefore become a mantra for her.

Natasha kicked off her career working within the art and craft industry, showing entrepreneurial guile to open her first business at the tender age of 18. Her talent and understanding of the industry paved the way for early success as a garment designer – but an economic recession had other plans for her. Forced to abandon her business and devoid of a strong academic foundation to fall back on at the time, Natasha’s instincts led her to pursue an education as a systems engineer in 1997.

Natasha saw huge potential in the Internet in its early years, which “back then was about establishing servers and networks; making sure that people could communicate”. The young systems engineer rose quickly through the ranks – swiftly ascending to the position of operations manager for the Danish rail company, DSB S-Tog.

Operationalizing information technology within a company such as DSB, whose clientele is extremely diverse, was not without its challenges, and neither was being a forerunner for the arguments in favour of providing Internet services to commuters. Her ideas, whilst impressive, were too premature for many of her bosses and colleagues. Natasha left the company with her wits about her and valuable experience in the bag, whilst her efforts would soon prove to be instrumental in bringing the personalised Internet communication experience that Danish transportation companies are renowned for today.

Since then, she has gone from strength to strength and is now the anchor of the increasingly popular television show “Tech and the City”, based in bustling New York. She has also authored several books, and plays leading advisory roles in various capacities within the tech industry.

Currently an industry icon with a knack for trendspotting and tech-savvy swag, crafted from years of hard and passionate work within the digital sector, Natasha feels that we need to go back to our roots when it comes to innovation:

“If you only innovate based on the symptoms of a need, as opposed to the actual need, it will take a long time before we optimise humanity”. Building on this, Natasha’s speech will focus on the creation of value in society, based on an anthropological approach to understanding human needs, rather than merely through changes to what is already being done.

Brace yourselves for a talk from one of the most talented professionals within the tech sector, an exceptionally creative individual with a doctorate from the school of real-life experiences. Natasha Friis Saxberg will motivate you to perceive the world in a different light, by focusing on the future through visionary thinking, as opposed to creating incremental change by reproducing the past.