The following was authored and submitted for publication by Brian Reynolds:
Twenty months ago in the dim and cold of December in Brussels, Paddy Ashton took the stage at a TEDx event. Informed by a lifetime of diplomatic service his speech carried the tremendous weight of someone who has spent countless nights unraveling politics as it played out over the world stage.
For eighteen minutes an audience of hundreds sat spellbound. Paddy, in a tone that somehow managed both delight and concern at the future, laid out the challenges our world faces as power moves from nations with fixed allies and firm laws to one less black and white.
It's an amazing thing that happens at TED. Speakers whose talents and disciplines are far flung from your own find a way to connect big issues to the very personal experiences of the audience. I'll never be a globe-trotting diplomat. I won't work in MI6 or negotiate with Bosnian rebels or worry that climate change in Russia will destabilize African nations but Paddy does and TED is the place where I can hear how these things will change my world.
TED is the tool that curates great thinking and puts it on the world stage so I can walk away firmly intimidated but still realistically hopeful in tomorrow all at once.
I've now watched that talk (and others) a dozen times. It inspires me and helps me think about how my business & my future could be impacted by people and events I may never witness or meet. TED helps me broaden my horizons to include the ways my world can change that no one ever taught me to anticipate.
These talks aren't a simple curiosity. They're a means to harness some of the greatest thinkers in the world so you and I can make wiser, more well informed decisions. For that reason I'm grateful to TED and the TEDx events... and to Paddy Ashton.