We're all a part of the puzzle, The Big X

Monday 03 December 2018

Wow! Thank you to everyone who made #thebigx, TEDxAmsterdam 2018, the powerful, engaging and mind-opening experience it has been! From our partners, our long-standing venue, the speakers and performers, the team and volunteers – and of course all of our beautiful guests!

This year was a big one for us: our tenth anniversary! So the event was special in many ways. There were more than 100 speakers present throughout the day, both on and off the main stage taking part in other experiences. And of course, lots of birthday cake!

“The future is one big puzzle, and today, we've truly understood and experienced how and why we are all a part of the puzzle!”  

Opening The Big X

In a nod to our birthday, celebrating ten years of TEDxAmsterdam, the event was opened by 10-year-old Tom, who was born the year TEDxAmsterdam began. He shared with the audience all that he’s learnt in his ten years, reminding us how much can be achieved together over time.

10-year-old Tom

Our host for the day Lucas de Man then joined Tom on stage. What followed was an upbeat opening act featuring LaGarcon and children, our future, dancing on stage. 

The Big X on stage

Concluding the opening, a big red X constructed of smaller X’s connected together like puzzle pieces was erected on stage! These pieces were created by the children on stage, during a school project initiated by TEDxAmsterdam and our creative partner Company New Heroes.

Our 2018 campaign video (thanks to partner WE ARE Pi) reminded us that ‘great things happen when people come together’. This sculpture-of-X’s very quickly became a defining image of TEDxAmsterdam this year. A visual representation of coming together to address The Big X. The big unknowns of the future.

Talking The Big X

Lucas de Man and Program Director Monique van Dusseldorp talking The Big X. (Image credit: Chiel Eijt / Flickfeeder).

The day was broken into five sessions. Featuring a diversity of speakers and performers on the main stage, and a scala of special guests in four special tenth edition shows in the foyers. And of course: the BigXBrainstorm. We’ll get back to that later, because first off we’d like to share the recaps of our main stage speakers.  

For our shows, we invited a number of speakers and acts from the last 9 years of TEDxAmsterdam to contribute – in a mixture of short, fast-paced talks, interviews and performances. Among the show experiences were short films shown from our three ‘10 years of TEDxAmsterdam’ filmmaker competition winners.

Building The Big X

We also held Amsterdam’s biggest brainstorm about the future of our city – TheBigXBrainstorm. The one-of-a-kind experience was orchestrated by Lucas de Man of Company New Heroes, and lead by more than 50 speakers. Experts, creatives, pioneers, activists and entrepreneurs connected to five important topics (Big X’s!) in our society. Think healthcare, technology, culture, humanity and the environment.

During the break-out sessions the experts gathered in the mainstage with guests. Here, they triggered conversation by sharing their stories and insights in small groups and posing big questions. Then guests were invited to offer their insights and ideas for the future of that topic.

Guests also visualised their ideas – on more cardboard red X’s, which were connected together on the main stage adding to the stunning puzzle-piece display, now a growing masterpiece of ideas worth spreading!

Every time guests re-entered the main stage for more talks, they were welcomed by a new iteration of the display, expanded further with ideas.

We’re proud of the statement this visual made. Reiterating that we are all a part of the puzzle, the ideas and solutions of the future. Building it together.
One of many puzzle pieces. (Image credit: Chiel Eijt / Flickfeeder).
Guests are selected to share the ideas they discussed during the BigXBrainstorm (Image credit: Alessandro Froio / Flickfeeder)
The puzzle piece sculpture grows on stage throughout the day. (Image credit: Alessandro Froio / Flickfeeder).

What happened to the puzzle pieces?

Many of them will go back to schools in Amsterdam, where the children that were part of the day created them. Along with other puzzle pieces created on the day, they’ll be able to build sculptures about the future in their schools. Others were also taken home as keepsakes and reminders, or to initiate art installations!

TEDxAmsterdam Award winner

In session 3 the audience were the jury for our five TEDxAmsterdam Award finalists, who pitched their ‘idea worth doing’. Over the break, the audience – powered by the event app built by partner Aan Zee – could vote for which idea they thought deserved to win. It wasn’t easy. Each pitch was unique, confident and addressing an important issue.

But in the end the audience was quite outspoken on it’s favourite: The Great Bubble Barrier!  Next to the audience vote, there was the expert jury panel's vote. They chose MiniBrew as the winner, because of the disruptive and sustainable game-changing business concept, that could revolutionise the world of beer.

The Award winners are announced! (Image credit: Chiel Eijt / Flickfeeder)

If you’d like to learn more about the Award winners, finalists and contenders, and help any of them in some way (perhaps you have business expertise in an area someone really needs!?) please get in touch with the Award team via award@tedxamsterdam.nl

Wrapping up The Big X

As the program came to a close, the energy was high as DJ Rocky G spun tunes and the TEDxAmsterdam 2018 team danced onto the stage. Our incredible board, Monique van Dusseldorp, Paul Rispens and Mie Dries gave a final word and thanks, along with our unstoppable Executive Director Jacqueline van de Wiel. And of course, with a great bow for the more than 100 vibrant volunteers that made TEDxAmsterdam become The Big X.

By the end of the day, the stage looked like this! (Image credit: Lia Zaal / Flickfeeder)


Photos and more!

Here are a selection of photos from the day, captured by our team of amazing photographers, lead by partner Flickfeeder. We'd love for you to share pics of your favourite speakers, performers and moments of the day on social. Please remember to credit the photographer and Flickfeeder (noted in the image tags on Flickr) and be sure to tag us – @TEDxAmsterdam !

You can expect more in the coming days on our blog and on social, including videos and stories on everyone who made the event what it was. Keep you posted!

- written by Jai Morton

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