Megan Gell
Jun 27, 2018

What it's like to work on... TEDxSydney

Speakers, performers, virtual reality, dance classes, edible bugs and a giant flamingo – it’s TEDx time.

TEDxSydney returned to ICC Sydney on June 15 for a full day of ideas, creativity and innovation around the theme of HumanKind. A full house of 5,000 people attended the physical event, while thousands more tuned in for the live stream.

Global "live brand storytelling" agency INVNT was brought in to run the event this year, and its success was “an absolute feat” according to managing director for Asia Pacific, Laura Roberts. As a not-for-profit, TEDx relies on support from the industry and a lot of volunteers, something most people are only too happy to provide as it is considered a great platform for the events industry.

“We’ve got a really amazing, talented group of people working with us,” she says. “We were on site for a week together – it’s pretty fast and furious but we laughed all week and we had fun. And I think that showed through in the event as well.”

The main stage welcomed 18 speakers and seven performers across four sessions, including comedian, writer and LGBTIQ rights activist Magda Szubanski. During session breaks, attendees entered The Hub, a collection of “tribes” designed by INVNT that showcased the latest innovations around themes of “Technology and Future”, “Creative and Curious”, “Mind, Body and Soul”, “Storytelling”, “LGBTIQ” and “Food Innovation”.

There were robots, multiple virtual reality experiences, edible bug hummus served on bread, and water 100% harvested from fruits and vegetables.

It was here that Roberts and her team were really able to inject an element of play with morning yoga and dance classes, a playground, mini golf, and giant selfie props to get people moving and talking.

“After I started to really know the TEDx team and understand the community, I realised I really wanted The Hub to be fun and entice people to talk and lounge on beanbags, to engage with each other over putt putt golf or jumping on a huge flamingo,” she says.

“The Hub is something that's really unique that people don't really get to see when they’re watching at home. Having all those elements of play really took the energy to another level.”

Sustainability is also a key philosophy of TEDx events. “This was activated by one of our partners, Globelet, who provides reusable cups,” says Roberts. “We completely eradicated the use of any disposable cup, and every cup was collected, washed and reused throughout the day whether it be for water or coffee or tea.”

INVNT has been signed to deliver the next few editions of TEDxSydney after delivering not only a successful execution, but a full-house and a fun atmosphere as well.

Long-time TEDster and TEDxSydney franchisee, Remo Giuffre, said: “Working with INVNT on the delivery of our biggest-ever TEDxSydney in 2018 was a dream. Nothing seemed to daunt Laura and her crack team of INVNTers; and they approached every challenge (and there were many) with both supreme competence and a welcome sense of calm. We very much look forward to working with them on our 10th anniversary event in 2019.”

ICC Sydney will also host again next year. CEO Geoff Donaghy said: “TEDx and the very nature and culture of the event, we saw as a great fit. It’s certainly an event that we embrace, and that we partner with, because it goes to our values of innovation, collaboration and knowledge sharing. We were delighted to partner with TEDx and help them make it the success that it was.”


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