A city ready for change?

We all know TED for its challenging and inspiring stories and talks on technology, education and design. The 'x' is representative of an event which sits under the TED umbrella but which is independently organised. In Birmingham 2014 would be the third annual event in what was a blossoming movement in a city that had fallen behind the times a little but that was ready for change.

Having moved to Brum in 2000 to study, I'd witnessed the city's progression but had always felt some frustration at the obvious potential but a failure (in my mind) to realise it. Having been involved in the design community for some time, I was actively looking for opportunities to contribute. So being invited into the TEDxBrum team of talented and passionate volunteers for 2014 was an exciting prospect for me; especially given the groundwork previous years had done in developing an engaged audience in the city.


The inclusive concept

Led by Birmingham's champion for change; Immy Kaur. We as a team needed a new concept to hold the campaign and event together. One which would continue the narrative from previous years but which would anchor the next step in the journey for the city to push forward both commercially and socially. I worked alongside Lauren Bansal and Claire Hartley to lead the creative team; my role being especially focussed on the concept and the digital strategy.

The previous two event themes had cleverly but organically begun the conversation around change, both introducing the idea of change and possibly for the city in 2012's concept: The next revolution. Followed up in 2013 with 'Marking the map' and an invitation to consider that we as the people can take ownership of change in Birmingham; something that had already begun as an underground movement.

2014 then needed to capitalise on the previous two events but also evolve that narrative, that would be our challenge.


Do it yourself

In finalising the theme concept for the year, we as a team of 30 or so held a couple of workshops and discussions to both agree goals but also ideate key ideas and concepts that might inspire the overall theme for the year. And we knew from early on what we as a team we wanted to achieve but the all important name had not yet presented itself. We had initially come to the name 'Tipping point', defined as: the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change. But the name didn't exactly role off the tongue and we just couldn't find that one name that hit the spot until...

'Do it yourself', a phrase we're all know related to home improvements, which might not immediately resonate as representative of what we hoped for Birmingham. But looking deeper at the concept of DIY; it's about getting your hands dirty, getting stuck in and making change, no matter how small. The beauty in the concept is in the ownership we can all take on doing something to affect change and that TEDxBrum could be the catalyst for a passionate community Brumies to individually and hence collectively influence and make change.

Gavin AutyStrategy