I went to a really cool event this past Friday – called Ignite Lansing 4.0. Ignite is like a local TED event – except that made some small changes to move it along – since locally you probably aren’t going to have the same talent level as you would see at TED. Ignite isn’t special to Lansing, although Lansing does have one of the bigger events in the world, there are Ignite events happening in hundreds of communities all over the world.
- 5 minute presentation on anything you want. This event had preso’s on The Lost Art of Mac & Cheese, Roller Derby, hiring individuals with Disabilities, 52 Cups of Coffee (about meeting a new person each week for a year), From Daily Chai to Apple Pies: The Immigrant Experience, Failing, etc.
- 20 PowerPoint slides, that automatically change every 20 seconds – lose your place – too bad – it’s moving forward without you!
- A rock star like stage and atomosphere (lights, music and fake smoke), this one was held in an Airport Hanger, just a few yards from the actual runway – including an audience with access to alcohol, and a live twitter stream on the screen – so don’t suck!
- A very supporting audience – because at the heart of it all, it was about community – it was about a group of people coming together to say “hey, this is why I think it’s cool to be in Lansing, MI.” This is why it’s cool to be a part of a dynamic community – and how can we all connect.
Not everyone who came up wanted to change the world – but when I left Ignite – I got the impression that many around me felt like this was certainly a step towards changing our environment, changing perceptions of those from the outside of Lansing and Michigan. I coupled this with the recentChrysler SuperBowl Emeniem commercial about Detroit and really for the first time in a long time – I get the sense that Michigan reached it’s bottom and we got our legs under us again, a sense that we are slowly but surely coming out of a recession that arguably hit Michigan harder than any other state by far.
Will 5 minute presentations change our world? Every change needs a fire-starter, and I think events like Ignite, like TED, are really just that. They plant ideas, not everyone will go away with the same ideas – but someone will take an idea and run with it, and just maybe one of those ideas changes our world a little, or a lot. The whole thing reminded me of an idea I heard about Detroit – about why Detroit/Michigan is probably considered one of the best places to start a new business right now – why you ask? The reality that the recession has put us in: super low commercial real estate prices, high unemployment = low wages, local and state governments giving away crazy tax incentives, new Republican governor, etc. Right environment, Right Time, Right Energy…
5 minutes might not change the world – but I sure think it’s helping to change my world.