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TEDxMontreal: an experience worth sharing

TEDxMontreal: an experience worth sharing

On Saturday September 14th, I had the privilege of spending the day at Société Des Arts Technologiques with 290 vibrant and stimulating individuals for the 2013 edition of TEDxMontréal immersed in ideas worth spreading. In the spirit of TED, and f. & co, I share with you a brief summary of my highlights of the event. Comments, and additions, are welcome! 


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The day began with inspiring Montrealers who are reinventing their respective areas of medicine. Geneticist Ken Dewar, Biochemist Alexis Vallé-Bélisle, Optical Engineer Caroline Boudoux and Medical Rehabilitation Technologist Justin Tan provided a glimpse into the evolution of medicine and the changing role of technology within the industry. Each of them reinforced that Montreal is a city of ideas and innovation.


Of particular interest to me was Justin Tan’s inspiring story of how he and his grassroots team are reinventing rehabilitation treatment through motion sensors adapted from the gaming industry. By leveraging existing technology, they are integrating gamification into rehabilitation treatment and creating an online environment where patients, doctors and families can connect.


The charming Harold O’Neal, multi talented pianist serenaded us with his philosophy of improvisation. His entertaining philosophical talk made me reflect on how much of life is improvised. We are always improvising and with improvisation comes risk. "When we are really improvising, we can never be wrong... But it means we can never be right either". In improvisation, there is never right or wrong. The question is do we do what we want?


My main discovery of the event was Ruha Devonian from PeaceTones, an organization which empowers musicians in developing countries to become social entrepreneurs by providing the skills to create, protect and sell their music throughout the world. PeaceTones focuses on communities torn apart by war, protracted conflict and natural disaster. Their mission in part is to rebuild culture after devastation. As Ruha mentioned, no one focuses on rebuilding culture after a disaster. It is widely believed that culture is free and it will just take care of itself. However, Ruha argued culture should not be free. There is a cost to maintaining culture, especially quality culture. Her point was made loud and clear when she presented the case of Haiti. After Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010, $7.6B dollars was poured into the country. Half of the money went to immediate relief; water, tents and food and the other half was dedicated to long term infrastructure rebuilding. How much of the $7.6B went towards rebuilding culture? Zero dollars. As the famous proverb goes “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. Peacetones is empowering and teaching musicians how to propel their music leveraging the power of social media for the good of their community.


Congratulations and thank you to all the speakers who extended my intellectual capacity. Thank you to everyone I had the privilege to meet. A huge congratulations to the organizing committee for hosting a successful bilingual event in true Montreal fashion at one of Montréal’s most creative and inspiring venues, the SAT.


See you next year!


Lisa Waizmann (@waizwomann) is Product Marketing Manager at iPerceptions and holds a Masters of Science in Administration from HEC Montréal.


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