TEDxRobina Inspires Creative Change


Technology, entertainment and design – these are the three fields of endeavour from which innovative thinkers first inspired audiences which led to a movement that became the global phenomenon that is TED as philosophers, scientists, philanthropists and business and religious leaders (among many others) shared their ideas and experiences.

TEDx is the travelling roadshow version that has allowed independent organisations to create their own TED event. Psychologist Tunteeya Yamaoka is the organiser of TEDx Robina, which was held on the Gold Coast last weekend. It was a TED Talk that inspired her to stage the local event.

“Last summer I was looking out into the ocean listening to Manoush Zomorodi's TED Talk on ‘How Boredom Can Lead to Your Most Brilliant Ideas’ where she described how the "default mode network" in our brains accesses our ability to become more creative. I related to her view that so many of us fill our lives with ‘business’ to avoid ‘boredom’, which can sometimes lead to mindless action.

“Before I moved back to the Gold Coast last year, I was in Sydney for three years where I was constantly on the move and yet, when I finally had a chance to sit down, I didn't truly allow myself to contemplate what I really wanted to achieve in my life. As I sat there, looking out into the ocean, stillness filled my mind and I allowed myself to wonder. I was a huge fan of TED and I desperately wanted to attend a live TED or TEDx Talk, so I searched for an event on the Gold Coast. There was nothing scheduled here, so I got creative, set a challenge and applied for a license to host an event.”

Creative Change

TEDx Robina’s theme the ‘Process of Creative Change’ is something Tunteeya believes we all have the capacity to embrace. “We are all born to be creative, when we can learn to accept ourselves as we are as a unique individual that can give something back to the community we are starting our own process of creative change.”  

Kathryn Lyons

A diverse range of speakers from many disciplines lined up for TEDx Robina to inspire, and in some cases, provoke the audience. Kathryn Lyons’ speech was charged with emotion and still very much raw, revealing that as a young girl she was ‘sent home to die’ by doctors because she had an unidentifiable degenerative tissue disorder.

Kathryn’s recollection of having her legs broken multiple times before being reset and then broken again was a reminder of how cruel life can be, but it was her vivid description of facing the simplest of everyday tasks in attempting to use the toilet that really challenged our understanding of living with a disability. Through her experiences of poor access design of disabled toilets Kathryn became an entrepreneur by working with industrial designers to create Accessibili – t and is now an award winning innovator advocating for everyone’s Right to Toilet with Dignity.

Helen Zahos

Compassion and Conservation

Helen Zahos is a nurse who has dedicated herself to caring for victims of some of the world’s most devastating humanitarian crises from Typhoon Haima in the Philippines to the 2015 Nepalese earthquake. Her revelations of understanding empathy, compassion, hope and kindness through her volunteering experiences were lessons for us all.

Janne Torkkola is responsible for Australia’s first podcast dedicated to wildlife science and conservation. His statistic that Australia has lost more than 50 native animal and 60 plant species since European settlement was concerning, but in true TEDx spirit his call to action for citizen scientists through a plethora of apps like Herpmapper, Birdata and Questagame had him passionately imploring “share your curiosity, make a difference and get involved!”

Anthony Ikin

Dancing for the Judges

However, it was World Aerobic Champion and professional dancer Anthony Ikin who stole the show. He leapt onto the stage busting out moves to a mash up of the Macarena, Gangnam Style and YMCA with all the confidence of the most fabulous man on the planet. It was sobering to discover that barely a day went by during high school when he wasn’t bullied for being gay.

Anthony succinctly assessed that it’s our judgmental attitude that’s the basis for all bullying. “At some point in our childhood judgement kicks in and almost always wins, that’s why we all become self-conscious as we grow older. Stop being petrified of other people’s judgment and imagine how different your life and the world would be.”

As empowering an argument for the process of creative change as there could ever be.

*Photos (top to bottom): Kathryn Lyons, Helen Zahos & Anthony Ikin.








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