I have attended TEDxVilnius in 2015, when I still lived in Lithuania. Yet, I missed half the talks, acting “Figaro here, Figaro there” between TEDx and overlapping work event.

This year, I did better. I’ve seen the entire conference, as well as got behind the scenes as representative of TEDxBergen team. The trip was so much more than one day or one blog post. So, here are just my key takeaways from TEDxVilnius 2016.

Ideas worth spreading

At first, the motto of TED may seem snobbish. As if they would evaluate every idea and see, if it is good enough. In fact, by 2009 TED talks gathered so much popularity that it made a spin-off into TEDx. There are several local TED-like events happening somewhere every day, which gives a fair opportunity to any striking idea to reach its audience.
TEDxVilnius 2016 theme was “Hide & Seek”. The conference was not only about the “games people play”, but also about hidden, restricted topics and taboos, intimate personal stories. Another dimension was devoted to what kind of future humanity seeks for: trends, innovations, environmental changes and so on.
Among the seventeen speakers, there were bright minds both from Lithuania and abroad. Ideas ranged from stunning outer space projects on global level (#AsteroidDay) to a touching call-to-action to improve the Lithuanian society’s understanding of suicide. There was also a speaker from Norway present on stage: Erlend Moster Knudsen who talked about the “Pole to Paris”-challenge, a marathon run from Tromsø to Paris to promote climate awareness.
The diversity of topics highlights how little is known to each individual separately. How many valuable ideas are outside our day-to-day focus and interests. It’s especially important to those locked-in in business school environment to discover, how many areas other than business may be in need of management professionals to apply their skills and knowledge and make the world a better place.

Network worth reaching out

The organisers made sure that idea spreading does not end even during the coffee breaks. Everything around the event was set to encourage communication and interaction among the visitors. Even during the talk sessions, attendees were asked to strike conversations with strangers sitting next to them, exchange opinions or just give a hug. There was also a chance to approach any of the speakers, share thoughts and ideas, and exchange contacts. For many participants, networking sessions were one of the highlights of the event that lead to new partnerships and collaborations.
On a personal scorecard:

  • contacts of TEDxWroclaw – because just internship in just Google is just boring;
  • contacts of TEDxVienna & satellites – because simply CEMS exchange is not enough;
  • a job offer back at home – because there is a grain of truth in every joke, right?
  • a bunch of other business cards, ideas and just memorable conversations.

Even if you are shy and not too communicative (like I am), the people around are so open, vibrant and full of ideas that you quickly become infected with passion and start talking. I have to thank again TEDxVilnius organizers for inviting TEDxBergen team to Vilnius and introducing us to TEDx community.

Roads worth taking

Of course, the final travel highlight was Vilnius. Even though I rushed away at first chance, I think it is a beautiful city. Well, sunny spring makes any city look stunning. So, enjoying the view over city from Gedimino hill, I’ve got an idea.
Do you travel for concerts or other events? Do you like weekend getaways? Why not combine those with a dash of inspiration?
There are numerous TEDx events happening a discounter flight away from Bergen. To name a few: Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Riga, Warsaw, Gdansk… Of course, you can also look up TEDxYourFavouriteCity and definitely find TEDx event happening there.
It does not have to be a pricey trip either. You could work as volunteer, getting not only in free access to the conference, but also a valuable experience and many new friends among the organizers’ team.
Pick a city, book your flight.

P.S. A re-worked and a tad less personal version of this post was also published in the last issue of K7Bulletin, NHH-based newspaper. Check it out here.

This post originally appeared at ‘Runaway Manager’, a blog run by our social media responsible Marina. Check out her blog here.