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TEDxUMN Fosters Ideas Worth Spreading

April 5, 2013

Four undergrads are coordinating an event featuring leading thinkers from across the University of Minnesota.

If the TED lecture series' combined 800 million views are any indication, users across the globe are eager to access opportunities for learning. TED has long stood for innovation, ideas, and insights, and to four Carlson School undergraduate students, TED stands for stepping outside their comfort zones and pursuing knowledge that stretches beyond a traditional business school education.

These students, Nadya Nguyen, Jon Keller, Daniel Cullen, and David Groomes, are coordinating TEDxUMN, a bi-annual conference that convenes great minds from all corners of the University of Minnesota and begs the question, where do we go from here? 

TEDxUMN will showcase notable achievements and discoveries from 10 University faculty and alumni. Presenters will predict the ramifications of recent breakthroughs, and recommend how to translate big ideas into real action. The topics will cover themes from social justice, to education, to technology. 

The student organizers are eager to share their passion for new ideas, especially those that lie outside the traditional spectrum of business learning.

Skirting business as usual
While Carlson School students are no strangers to spreadsheets, intelligent interfaces, and entrepreneurship, they don't typically encounter teachings on androgenesis or robotics. According to Nguyen, business students can only stand to benefit by opening up their minds to new knowledge, and TEDx is the perfect vehicle.

"In business school, we always learn about constraints," says Cullen. "But listening to TEDx talks is about limitless possibilities. The speakers are presenting new ideas that challenge what I currently think, and help me envision a brighter future."

Among the event speakers is Carlson School alumnus Adam Moen, who leads Real Empowerment Solutions, a young start-up that designs and develops communication platforms for Universities to have safe and protected mental health conversations in an online, moderated setting. More about Moen

Immersed in research
Ranked among the top 10 public research universities in the country, the University is a hub for innovation. The TEDxUMN organizers hope to shine a spotlight on a sample of this exemplary research, that business students may not be aware of.

"Students don't realize the amazing things happening on our own campus," says Keller. "We're trying to showcase it and convey why it's important."

Creating an experience
At the very core of TED's values is the need for open-source knowledge, and the importance of creating value through collaboration. TEDxUMN stays true to those themes by enabling audience interaction. Attendees are encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas about the talks, and connect with one another. Furthermore, the event costs a fraction of the larger TED conference.

TEDxUMN is a local, self-organized TEDx event, coordinated under license from TED -- the "x" denotes an independently organized event. The April 20 event, now in its third year, will be the biggest ever. At twenty minutes each, the presenters' talks can fit into the busiest student's schedule. Most importantly, the content is easy for any learner to understand.

"We hope to bring together people with the same mindset and give them a foundation for discussion," says Nguyen.

Learn more and register for TEDxUMN2013 today, and share your ideas.

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