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Why The World Needs Practical Utopians More Than Ever

For years I’ve been watching an interesting phenomena: as the world goes more digital, the desire for face-to-face interactions seems to be exponentially increasing. Salons, conferences, dinners, creative breakfasts, meet-ups, festivals.

There are so many new and exciting ways these days to find each other online—yet what we really crave is real-life, personal connections with people who inspire us.

The growing premium on creativity and innovation breeds the desire for fresh, provocative ideas… and somehow sharing this in company with others makes it more comfortable to let the new in. It’s one thing to watch a TED talk in your living room by yourself—it’s another experience entirely to absorb the energy of a live event with hundreds of like-minded optimists.

For many of these reasons, I was drawn to create TEDxAustin six years ago. Among the very first licensees, my team and I were drawn to nourish our community by sharing both the hope and the very tangible possibilities of big, bold ideas.

We wanted to craft a unique experience which would open new conversations and catalyze fresh relationships. I felt that as the world was quickly changing, we needed each other more than ever.

Since then, we’ve created five successful events for adults and three powerful ones for teens. And the TEDx movement has engulfed the planet with more than 11,500 events having taken place in over 2,600 cities. It’s been amazing to be a part of all this energy.

So now, my curious friends, it’s time to take this to the next level. It’s time to get radical!

Last year I gave a talk at Voice & Exit about the big shifts reshaping society. I suggested that these radical shifts in technology and culture open the door to radical solutions and bold opportunities … for those comfortable welcoming in truly radical ideas and really bold new thinking.

Since its inception, I’ve championed Voice + Exit as an important platform for contrarian, edgy thinkers to share their vision; to provoke with ideas that are simultaneously a bit crazy …. and thus potentially truly powerful.

Exposure to these unfamiliar ideas forces us to recalibrate what we believe is possible. When that happens, it cultivates the confidence necessary to create even more radical solutions.

Radical, of course, is a relative term.

Voice & Exit shows us that meaningful change always comes from radical ideas at the “fringe.” These ideas are considered “unrealistic,” until, well, they become reality! And sharing all this with others, makes the really new seem that much more normal.

Last year’s speakers discussed breakthroughs in startup cities, biohacking, crypto-currencies, even seasteading (floating ocean cities).

Personally, I’m guided by the idea that “Wonder and Resistance can’t co-exist.”

As old societal systems continue to break down, we need practical utopians open to wonder… and inspired to build a bright future. I invite you to join me for the third annual Voice & Exit event, happening on June 20-21st to find your own.

Who knows where this movement will go? But it’s damn exciting to see it blossom right here in Austin!