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28.04.22 Business

9 THINGS WE LEARNT FROM TEDX BRIGHTON THIS YEAR

It’s April 2022 and with life feeling somewhat back to “normal”, we’re finally able to look to the future with confidence. It’s about time!

We were delighted to sponsor TEDxBrighton this year, curated by one of our most inspiring members, Toby Moore. Toby has been a member of PLATF9RM since 2018 and we’ve loved collaborating with him over the years. Alongside fellow Brighton business, Foodilic, we were honoured to host all of the Incredible speakers from this year’s event for dinner in our Tower Point location on the eve of TEDx. It was a pleasure to get to know the experts before the big day.

Bianca Cefalo

This Could Be Our Future

This year’s theme not only highlighted an urgency for change – it gave a positive view of what could be. If you weren’t able to make it, have no fear: your digital town crier is here to fill you in on the 9 most thought-provoking takeaways from the day.

Credit: Tom Tye

1. The Apocalypse is closer than it’s ever been

The doomsday clock has been set at 100 seconds to midnight.

As alarming as this might sound, it presents us with the unique opportunity to make a drastic change. Dr James Mannion, director of Rethinking Education believes that the issue now lies in how we make decisions. He suggests that the problem lies in the fact that too many major decisions are being made from a top-down perspective, which just isn’t working anymore.

So, what’s the solution?

Vertical Slice Implementation Teams

Vertical Slice Implementation Teams represent every layer of an organisation during decision making processes. While they might sound tech-y, they’re actually very simple and highly effective. Everyone across the board feels represented, leading to buy-in – and more buy-in means less apocalypse. A big win for everyone!

Credit: Tom Tye

2. The secret code to being heard

Dina Nayeri has always believed there’s a secret code to being heard. Her younger self believed that it was kept somewhere in the depths of Harvard Law, but she has unfortunately since confirmed that this is not the case.

Having watched her mother go from a respected professional in her home country of Iran, to barely being heard when arriving in the United States, she became obsessed by becoming the “believed woman”.

So why is it that we listen to certain people and not others? Who and what is worthy of being listened to? Do we believe senses, data, experts or instincts? There will always be doubt; so when it comes to being heard yourself, the first step is to listen to others.

3. We’re all affected by Ableism

Award winning adaptive fashion designer Victoria Jenkins exposed us all to an uncomfortable truth: the Disabled community is the only minority community that anyone can suddenly join at any time. If you’re lucky, then Ableism will be something that you’ll only really have heard of, rather than had direct experience of or have had to put too much thought into.

As conference host Adam Pearson put it, “you don’t get it, until you get it”.

So many disabled people are unable to dress the way they’d like, simply because they’re unable to get into a dress or pair of trousers due to accessibility issues. This issue, while distressing for so many, gave life to the beautiful concept of Universal Design. Universal Design means that everyone can enjoy a product or service, without sacrificing aesthetic appeal, at least when it comes to fashion.

4. The solution to loneliness at work may lie in our stomachs 

The pandemic has had a significant effect on the world of work in so many ways, but one of the most significant changes has been working from home. In many ways, the effects have been positive, allowing parents to work from home and instilling more trust in employees than ever before. However, with many of us glued to our sofas all day and only having our pets for company, loneliness has become a less positive bi-product of the new way of work.

Dan Sodergren, Future of Work Evangelist, gave us a talk on the future, AI and the post-pandemic world. In a world where we’re becoming more individualistic and alone, he stressed the importance of gathering together.

One study found that young people felt happier in lockdown as they were able to eat together. And where is most of our serotonin made? In our gut.

Whilst working from home and flexibility at work is in many ways a perk, we must try to gather and eat together to avoid feelings of loneliness.

5. It’s essential to allow yourself a good cry

Grace Latter started her talk by reminding us of the subtle power of breathing. She inhaled. She exhaled. In, then out. Filling and emptying the lungs. This calmness echoed across the entire room, as we all took a deep, collective breath.

She told us how she had never fallen ill, never broken a bone and never needed to go to a hospital. Until the day she did. Grace has a rare genome defect that led to her developing a rather large tumour in the left side of her brain. She explained to us how she rationalised the terrible situation by telling herself that if this was happening to her, then at least it wasn’t happening to someone else.

After years of being told that she was brave, that her relentless positivity was inspirational, she realised that she was indeed struggling. So she went to the Doctor. She spent what felt like hours explaining exactly how she felt and it was only as she finished that she looked up and took in what the doctor had to say. He said that the only thing he could prescribe was a good cry.

And with that, Grace prescribed us all a long, hard cry.

6. The future of the internet rests on equality

As we move into a world of decentralisation – NFTs and cryptocurrency, you’re probably wondering how long it’ll be before you live in the metaverse and only communicate with your friends and family as an avatar in a virtual world.

Tech Philosopher and Entrepreneur Somi Arian gave us her insight on the evolution of society, governance, democracy and money in the wake of the fourth industrial revolution.

Whether you’re ready to open a crypto wallet or not, with decentralised organisations and ideologies at the forefront of conversations about the future, women are being left in the dark. With less than 1% of women working in this sector, the inequality gap is increasing. Further to this, the gender data gap means that most products and services produced are optimised for men.

If this will be the future of the internet, economy and democracy, the needs of women and marginalised groups must be considered and education must be equal – or we’re at risk of taking a giant step backwards.

7. The Importance of Proactive Allyship

We live in a time where BLM and Trans lives matter movements are ever growing, so it’s ever more important for people to understand how to be a good ally.

Kaia Allen Bevan, advocate for Anti-Racism, spoke to us about the volatility of Reactive Allyship and the importance of its Proactive counterpart. Luckily for us, she also explained what that means.

Reactive Allyship

Is a quick reaction to a situation, with a long lasting impact that relies on feelings of guilt or fear.

Proactive Allyship

Is a long lasting commitment to allyship. This type of allyship requires awareness, commitment, understanding, learning and effort.

Through the promotion of Proactive Allyship we can achieve real systemic change. That being said, it’s important to remember, Audre Lord:

“We are not perfect, but we are stronger and wiser than the sum of our errors”.

8. There’s both “Good Space” and “Bad Space”

The Space industry has a publicity problem. When you think of space, your mind probably automatically wanders to controversial figures like Elon Musk, Jeffrey Bezos and Richard Branson. But there are pioneering women at the forefront of change. Melissa Thorpe is one of these women.

It’s easy to forget just how reliant we are on satellite technology; weather forecasting, geo-positioning, and television are but a few of the many functions we use on a daily basis that are dependent on satellites.  A major hidden feature of satellites is that they can significantly help with the climate crisis. This is what we call “Good Space”. A Canadian both in nationality and spirit, she strongly advocates for kindness in business, not just to people but to the planet.

Melissa is set to become a global leader in the Good Space industry by setting up a sustainable B-corp Spaceport in Cornwall. Because how we get to space is just as important as actually getting there.

9. Plastic reduction may not be the answer to climate change; but it’s a great place to start

If the ultimate goal is to reach a completely circular economy, then the best thing we can do on an individual level is to reduce consumption of pretty much everything.

You may or may not already know that plastics are so integrated in our lives that they’ve now infiltrated our bloodstreams. However, the advantage of plastics is that they are tangible, meaning that they are easily understood and disposing of them can provide instant gratification.

It’s exactly that mindset that we need to harness to keep on motivating ourselves to be as eco-friendly as possible. If fwe were to keep every bit of plastic waste we created for a week, or even a day, how much would we end up with? Or, put another way, what impact would carrying a reusable water bottle just for today have on the person sitting next to you right now?