Last week, I attended a TEDx event in in downtown San Diego hoping to get some inspiration for my Lab to Marketcourse. Lab to Market is the signature course sequence at the Rady School in which students apply technical knowledge to their own unique idea with the intention to improve an existing model or create a new business.
San Diego is well-known as an exciting city full of entrepreneurship and innovation, and the Rady School is strategically placed at the center of it all. Entrepreneurship surrounds us every day and finding examples of it in our daily lives is surprisingly easily. On a recent visit to a local supermarket chain I found an “eco ATM”, an ATM to trade-in used cellphones for cash. This creative business was founded by a Rady School alum.
The Rady School’s unrelenting support for entrepreneurship is evident in countless ways throughout campus. For example, the Rady School has a start-up accelerator program called “StartR.” The Rady School also hosts speaker sessions by famous locals, including venture capitalists, serial start-up entrepreneurs and technologists.
TEDx events are independently-organized TED events with various speakers intended to discuss “ideas worth spreading.” TED is a nonprofit which was founded in Long Beach, California in 1984 and has since become very well-known for their short but thought-provoking TED talks. The theme of this year’s TEDx in San Diego was “20/20 VISION,” and presentations centered on introducing future trends of the world with focus in San Diego.
Some highlights from the speakers were:
Dalouge Smith, the President and CEO of San Diego Youth Symphony (SDYS), who has devoted his career to the mission of SDYS, to “make music education accessible and affordable for all students.” Smith talked about the importance of music education at school in early childhood. Throughout his 11 seasons at SDYS, the group has become a community instigator for music education in schools.
John Iversen is a neuroscientist at UC San Diego. His research focuses on understanding how human beings perceive rhythm. John is currently leading the SIMPHONY project, a collaborative study of the impact of music training on brain and behavioral development. His research is impactful in the field of music therapy, particularly for movement disorders.
Almis Udrys has a career of evaluating and improving state government operations at the California State Auditor’s office. He serves in advisory roles at the City of San Diego. Udrys talked about his innovative idea to make energy sustainable by installing intellectual street lights which connect to a big data analytics system. This street light will collect various types of useful data such as gas emission, temperature and the number of passing cars and people.
Lori Steele Contorer is the founder and CEO of Everyone Counts, a company which uses digital technology to modernize elections and voting. Her mission is to make elections more accessible, transparent and secure. She has administered voting projects successfully in the US, Canada, UK, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Australia.
In addition to the annual speaker series, this year TEDx hosted a second event called “Innovation Alley 2015,” which showcased San Diego’s most innovative start-ups. Here are some of the most creative and interesting companies:
Classy.org is the premiere online and mobile fundraising platform available for non-profit activity such as donation, event organization, fund raising and more.
CleverPet looks like just an automated pet feeder at a glance. The feeder, however, engages and exercises your dog’s mind with custom light, touch and sound stimulants. The company was founded by two UC San Diego graduates using KickStarter.
GoShare is like Uber for a truck. This mobile app can get you a pickup truck, van or SUV with a driver, on demand within 15 minutes of when you request.
Doctible is a doctor search web service. The database has hundreds of highly rated and affordable doctors in San Diego, and includes their availability and schedules. This start-up is from CONNECT, a local incubator with strong connections to UC San Diego and the Rady School.
Overall, attending the TEDx speaker sessions inspired me and reiterated how innovative the San Diego community is. I learned that one passionate and ambitious individual truly can change the world for the better. In addition, watching such impactful presentations truly illustrated the power of an effective presentation to touch listeners’ hearts. Some speakers started their talks with personal anecdotes and then moved on to more broad applications to engage the audience and make their ideas appear more tangible and less abstract. This is a practical skill that I can apply it to my next class presentation. I also got what I came for – an amazing business idea for my Lab to Market project.
Takeshi Kanamori (MBA ’16) is 2nd year full-time MBA student at the Rady School of Management. He worked at a financial giant institution for years in Japan. His focus of learning at the Rady School is eco-cycle of start-ups and venture capitals in San Diego. He lives in San Diego with his wife and daughter.