This is it for TEDxKC reflections, I promise, but I’ve never been involved in any two hour event which offered so much innovative thinking! Thanks to Kansas City’s VML and the other sponsors for bringing such an incredibly-rich experience as TEDxKC to Kansas City!

  • My mother once said I have a look which says, “Don’t bug me. Don’t get near me.” If that’s true, it must have been on display at TEDxKC. In an oversold event, in a supposedly jam-packed auditorium to see the live presentations, I walked in 10 minutes before the start and found two seats on an aisle mid-way back. After sitting down, the row consolidated, freeing up another seat, so there were still two seats by me. In the following ten minutes, not one person came in and sat down by me. Sorry everybody for “the look.” I try not to make it!
  • Watching the opening TEDxKC performance by Quixotic Fusion, it struck me how true it is that whatever your talents, you can create “art.” That’s the case whether in the traditional view of art or the art of day-to-day work and life. The difference is a person’s willingness to experiment, to be innovative, and to put themselves in the vulnerable positions which make one an artist.
  • The recent CEO study where creativity was identified as a critical success attribute in business was referenced during one presentation. Every time it’s cited, I always wonder: Did the CEO respondents REALLY believe that? It was probably viewed as a “hip” answer so everybody said, “Sure, a person needs more creativity…after financial acumen, a strict operational orientation, and a ruthless managerial style. Then, we need us some creativity.”
  • In her video presentation, Jane McGonigal of the Institute for the Future suggested the key to solving the world’s problems would be people collectively spending 21 billion hours weekly in online gaming. My question is, “What would happen to improve the world if we spent 21 billion more hours weekly praying?”
  • After attending a recent conference with nearly no diversity among presenters based on race, gender, and age, I’m even more conscious about diversity at live events. So at TEDxKC, of the 5 individual presenters (including host Mike Lundgren from VML) to take the stage, 4 were men, and 3 of the men were named “Michael.” While I always love listening to Mikes (and one other presenter’s last name was “Brown”), this was both homogenous and quirky.
  • My thought for the evening at TEDxKC: “Take the ordinary and attach it to something of significance to you. Then it’s strategic.”

Additionally, here’s the embedded video for the full TEDxKC program. Enjoy!  – Mike Brown

When it comes to conferences, high impact presentations, and live event social media content, The Brainzooming Group is expert at shaping the right strategy and implementation to create unique attendee experiences before, during, and after an event. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we can do the same for your event!

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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4 Responses to “TEDxKC – Reflections from an Innovative Kansas City Event”

  1. Doug Stevenson says:


    Nice post. I’ve not yet attended a TED event. Several colleagues have presented.

    Diversity is important.

    Funny, I had the same observation 3 years ago at an innovation conference in Chicago. It opened with an “open forum”, consisting of 10 men white men in gray suits.

    Also, there has been ample evidence that CEO’s are left-brain, A-types generally. That’s why/how they get there. Unless you’re talking new, entrepreneurial companies (Google, Amazon, Zappos, Tom’s Shoes, etc.) … There was an article in 1997 in the Harvard Business Review that noted that whole brain thinkers tend not to make it to the top. Notably, this company had to seek out “ugly ducklings” – so called because they were all mid-level management, whose ascendance was thwarted because they lacked the focus and decisiveness of their LB counterparts. (As “whole brainers”, they viewed life as more gray, complex & collaborative.) Turns out, when the company needed innovation, they turned to this bunch.


    Doug Stevenson

    • Mike Brown says:

      You’d definitely enjoy a Tedx event Doug! @Zards is involved with TedxNaperville, but I don’t know when the next one there is.

      It does seem the whole brain thinkers tend to top out short of the top levels in companies (or they’re viewed in the secondary tier of senior managers). Everybody plays a different role based on their strengths, so that’s probably okay. As long as whole brainers figure out the right career strategy to maximize their contribution and their own sense of fulfillment in their positions.


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