TEDGlobal 2012 started yesterday in Edinburgh for 700 people from 71 countries. With the theme “Radical Openness”, we have been treated to the first 23 short presentations from TEDUniversity, which are given by audience members who apply and are informed 3 weeks before the event that they have been selected to speak. 

These talks give a sense of who is in the audience, and it ranges from Julian Treasure –  a four time TEDU speaker who talks to us about designing with your ears, and how noise can affect everything from accuracy in hospital staff to levels of helpfulness in employees in open plan offices – to a Minnesota Librarian Ann Treacy, a first time TEDgoer, who implores us to use “Ready, shoot, aim!” to promote agility and support more iterative learning processes.

I am watching this from the simulcast area, and there is also a lot of activity going on here. In addition to the seemingly constant supply of warm cinnamon buns, there are people shaking glass vials of bio-molecular self-assembly (this below is a tobacco plant virus that I have managed to assemble myself), and explaining different kinds of tea and coffee collection, and brewing processes (the peony white tea is delicious).

The screens everywhere tell us that today at 5pm, the singer Macy Gray is doing a book signing, and people every are talking or blogging (like me) or tweeting (hashtag #TEDglobal). The main stage programme starts in a hour with 79 speakers scheduled to give their TEDTalks in the next four days.  It seems relatively quiet now here in the main simulcast room outside the main stage, the calm before the ideas storm.

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