Backstage Interview with Gesine Schwan "TEDx answers the needs of the world"

TEDxBerlin: The topic of today’s TEDxBerlin conference is "Thinking Change". What does that mean to you?

Gesine Schwan: Change is a constant process of life. And there are always moments of crisis where change is especially important, as is the case in Europe at the moment, where we are going through a severe crisis.

TEDxBerlin: You mentioned in your talk that it is important to be at peace with oneself, and to stick to what you say now and in the future. But it’s still important to develop new ways of thinking, is it not?

Schwan: Of course – being at peace with yourself means being able to integrate new impulses into what you had and were before. It doesn’t mean that nothing new can develop, it’s exactly the opposite. It means allowing your own experiences and attitudes to be stimulated by something new and allowing yourself to change as well.

The important thing is simply to really know what you’re doing, instead of just adapting to something and talking in the manner that the environment wants you to do. I often notice, especially at my age, that people feel threatened by change, because they have developed a certain world view and possibly feel overwhelmed. I think it’s all about perceiving the new and the old as a chance and possibility to grow.

TEDxBerlin: As you know, TED is not a political platform. It’s more about inspiration and spreading ideas. What do you think about that? How would you describe the energy here at TEDxBerlin?

Schwan: I think TEDxBerlin is a very important platform, which becomes apparent if you look at the successful concept. It’s something that answers to the needs of the world. Maybe because people think that only new ideas can help us out of the crises of our time. And also it’s an intellectual pleasure.

Those are aspects that TEDx manages to unite wonderfully. There’s usually also a spirit of optimism that is spread, and people say: “There are ways out after all, there are solutions after all. We just need to seize the opportunity.” I like that!


Backstage Interview with Ole Tillmann: TEDxBerlin Speaker Coach "Be yourself may be the best recommendation I can give"

TEDxBerlin: You have been the speaker coach for TEDxBerlin for quite a few years already. Today’s conference topic is "Thinking Change". The speakers present their ideas for tomorrow, their passions and projects, and call for new goals. What’s the atmosphere like, what would you say?

Ole Tillmann: I think the atmosphere of TEDxBerlin is always very intense. As we hear so many impressive stories from people who are striving for change, who find their way out of the community to generate new knowledge and to work on solutions and then come back and share their stories with us – this creates a very fantastic and intense atmosphere.

TEDxBerlin: This sharing of stories, this spreading of ideas, that’s what TED and TEDx is about. What would you say is the power behind it?

Tillmann: The human race only has a chance of surviving if we spread our ideas more and more. As we always did. It was because of capitalism that people started taking money for this knowledge. But I think it is very important, due to the problems we face, to share our ideas. And that architects, developers, designers or neuro scientists for example, people who have fantastic insides, share this with you and me.

TEDxBerlin: What exactly constitutes the unique energy of the TEDx community?

Tillmann: The unique energy of the TEDx community is created by all these open minded people, who love to connect, who love to share, who are really curious about the topics and who really want to understand them. And to me this is very unique.

TEDxBerlin: What’s the idea that drives you personally?

Tillmann: I am very curious, I love to have ideas, create ideas and also listen to ideas and then through my speaker coaching find the little dots and connect them and reconnect them and make them a little bit clearer, so that they are easy to understand. So what I love is to get in touch with people and have a conversation and at the end have a result, which is worth spreading.

TEDxBerlin: What is the main thing you want to teach the people who speak at TEDxBerlin?

Tillmann: That we are all individuals. There is no single perfect style of holding a speech or spreading ideas. I always like to see the personality of the speaker. So „be yourself“ may be the best recommendation I can give.


Backstage Interview with Lars Krückeberg "Thinking Change is the beginning of everything"

TEDxBerlinThe motto of today’s TEDxBerlin conference is Thinking Change – what does that mean to you?

Lars Krückeberg: Globally, the problems are not getting smaller. That means that we have to solve them together. We have so many possibilities today, we have the internet: high speed communication that is more or less open to everybody. This is a great possibility to change something together.

Every change starts with thinking. So "Thinking Change" has to stand at the beginning of everything. Thinking by yourself is not for me. It’s not easy - or let’s say: It’s no fun.  You might think that you have a great idea. But if you have the chance to get in contact with other great thinkers, your way of thinking might become very sharp. And it might even, with a little change, influence what you think, what you might do, it can really give you huge leverage to change a lot. And that’s what I think what TEDx is about – for that benefit basically. That’s why I am here.

TEDxBerlinTell us more about the idea that motivates you.

Krückeberg: I am an architect. And I have been doing this business for fourteen years with four friends of mine. And we have offices in America, in Germany, in China - not because we want to be big. We think: The problems are global, so you have to address them globally. You have to look at each side. Something that you might learn in China with a reference from America might be a solution for Germany. If you travel a lot - which we have to, because we want to enagage with the world - you come across problems that you might not be aware of.

Today I will talk about an idea that we had with another friend of ours, Andreas Spiess, who we met in Ethiopia, in Addis Abeba. We did another hospital there for kids with tuberculosis and AIDS. It’s a huge problem there. We were having a couple of beers, talking to him an meeting people there when we came up with some idea. We came to something like a solution or let’s say, a first step towards a solution. It’s a little bit like architecture, it’s a box, but also an energy producer. And it can be a business. A kiosk. A solarkiosk.

TEDxBerlinWhat is the power behind spreading ideas?

Krückeberg: Curiosity. That’s a fundamental human gift, I would say. We are all social people. We want to talk, we want to be inspired, we want to laugh together, cry together. The beauty is that we can. And we can do so much more. You can be friends with someone in Australia even if you’re sitting in Norway. Thankfully, we have communication and electricity. We have the grid. And this is exactly what I talk about, about the people off-grid. They can’t be part of it. That’s not fair. We can change this.

TEDxBerlin: Do you feel a greater sense of responsibility and a devotion to your cause?

Krückeberg: Everybody does. As we are a global community, we share global responsibilities, yes. As an architect, I feel responsible, and I feel that my profession can change a lot. When you look at the problems of energy and climate change, architecture plays a major role in that. Ultimately architects do not really have power, other people do. But we are the link between ecology, economy and culture. Problems, as well as solutions, become visible in this interspace.


Backstage Interview with Peter Seeberger "It’s a cross community event, it's a global spread"

TEDxBerlin: The motto of today’s TEDxBerlin conference is "Thinking Change" – what does that mean to you?

Peter Seeberger: I think about change all the time. We want to change the way people work in chemistry and we want to change the way people treat infectious diseases. Fast change means both, technology and science, but it also means behaviour and the way we make business in developing countries.

TEDxBerlin: Tell us more about the idea that drives you through life.

Seeberger: I am the director of the Max-Planck-Institute. So we mainly think about basic science. But for me the most satisfying part of our job is that this basic science can be applied to bigger human problems.

So I’ve been working on a malaria drug for twelve years already and I found a very simple and new way to produce a very effective drug against malaria. Small advances make a huge difference for people.

TEDxBerlin: How does talking about this topic today at TEDxBerlin make a change?

Seeberger: On the one hand we want to reach the audience, we want to show people that science can be important, that science can have a direct impact on society. But it is also important to talk about our ideas, because most of the time the technique is not the most difficult part. The project I talk about is working, but now we need a social enterprise to bring it to the people in Africa and India.

We are working with NGOs like WHO, United Nations, but also with private people like Angelina Jolie and others that have some kind of interest in that kind of approach. So I think it’s also important to spread this idea apart from through these organizations and celebrities, so that ordinary people, like myself, also get the chance to make a difference.

TEDxBerlin: So you would say that the unique power of TEDxBerlin is that chance to make a difference?

Seeberger: I already spoke at TEDxHamburg last year and I had to chance to reflect that. The big thing is that you get the chance to talk to people outside of your community. It’s a cross community event, there are people here from different backgrounds, of different ages and of course from the internet society.

So it’s a global spread and you have a very good platform to reach people and to get input at different levels, technical, societal, and also financial. That’s why I think, TEDx is a wonderful idea.


Backstage Interview with Guya Merkle "We can only change things together"

TEDxBerlin: The topic of today’s TEDx conference is "Thinking Change" – what does that mean for you?

Guya Merkle: It means breaking out of old systems. I think it’s time to start thinking differently. And I think it makes sense for people my age to break out of exisiting structures, not to worry about thinking about things a different way, doing them a different way and to not let ourselves be intimidated.

TEDxBerlin: Which passion motivates you?

Merkle: As long as I can remember, it’s been the desire to be there for people and to fight against injustice. I’m a family person, and for me, family means being there for each other – that means on a global level as well. I am interested in taking a closer look at injustice. I don’t just want to help, I want to provide people with the opportunity to break out of their anonymity. Then we can give them a voice, so that they can say what they have to say. And they have a lot to say. I am glad to be able to support that.

TEDxBerlin: How has TEDxBerlin been a special platform for you to spread your ideas about tomorrow...

Merkle: I founded a foundation for the transition from gold mines to ecologically sustainable mining with fair wages. I have to and want to reach as many people as possible. We can only change things if we all work towards the same goal. TEDxBerlin is giving me the opportunity to reach a lot of people who can all make a change – not just in these circles, but thanks to the internet, in the whole world. I think that concept is really great! That creates a lot of opportunities.

TEDxBerlin: You just said it – it creates a lot of opportunities. What exactly is the energy or the power behind that?

Merkle: I think it’s about people and their stories. I think in that way, TEDx is unique, especially in the sense that this stage unites people who want to express and spread their ideas into the world with this platform.


Backstage Interview with Jacob Bilabel "We need to unleash passion in people"

TEDxBerlin: The motto of today’s TEDxBerlin conference is "Thinking Change" – what does that mean to you?

Jacob Bilabel: Thinking change to me means experimenting with new ways of doing things. This is what we need.

TEDxBerlin: Tell us more about the idea that drives you.

Bilabel: When we think about climate change, we are confronted with a long list of things that we should not do. In my daily work we come up with some ideas what we SHOULD do. Instead of telling the people "don’t do this, don’t do that" – we try to come up with alternatives.

TEDxBerlin: TED and TEDx conferences are about imagination. It’s about authentic storytelling and the concept of "ideas worth spreading". So what was the power that has driven you towards being a storyteller here today?

Bilabel: The power of spreading ideas is about passion. It’s about unleashing passion. We need to unleash passion in people. And when we talk about social experiments, we need to unleash a passion for change in people. It’s not about science, it’s not about business. It’s about passion, about dreaming together and sharing a common vision.

TEDxBerlin: What does it feel like being an inspiring person?

Bilabel: I don’t know whether I am an inspiring person. But I know that I am inspired by other people.


Backstage Interview with Achmed Khammas "Your mind has to be free"

TEDxBerlin: The topic of today’s TEDxBerlin conference is "Thinking Change". What does this mean to you?

Achmed Khammas: I interpret it to mean not setting myself any boundaries mentally. We already face enough limitations in reality in terms of financial and technical possibilities. In order to induce change, your mind has to be free.

TEDxBerlin: What exactly is your motivation to move forward in life? Which idea motivates you in life?

Khammas: One the one hand I’m motivated by the exchange between the Middle East and Europe, or rather between Syria and Germany, the two countries I call home. The old caravans transported goods, but more importantly, they transported ideas. I have a similar task – I’m a translater. And I deal with renewable energy.

TEDxBerlin: You just mentioned an impotant aspect – spreading ideas in terms of culture, which is exactly what TED and TEDx do. The conferences revolve around inspiration rather than business deals. What does it mean to you to be a speaker here today?

Khammas: I’m very happy to be a speaker here today. I’ve been following the videos on the internet for a few years now and there are always some very, very interesting ideas. The whole concept is just great. You have to present and describe your idea in a very precise and clear fashion and you can reach lots of important people. That is a huge opportunity!

TEDxBerlin: What’s the energy behind spreading ideas crossmedial and globally?

Khammas: I have four children and I don’t want to leave the world a worse place than it is. And I have discovered that I am able to change things, even though I’m a single human being.


Backstage Interview with Werner Aisslinger "Create something that has a certain value for the future"

TEDxBerlin: The motto of today’s TEDxBerlin conference is "Thinking Change" – what does that mean to you?

Werner Aisslinger: I am a designer, so to me it means that you are thinking forward. In my daily work, it’s a kind of experimental approach, practical experiments, investigating, doing a project.

TEDxBerlin: Tell us more about the idea that drives you.

Aisslinger: It is the idea to create something that has a certain value for the future. I definitely also work for the present as well. But in a way I, you, we all have the duty to create a scenario or an environment for the people in the future.

TEDxBerlin: TED and TEDx conferences are about imagination. What’s the unique energy in this community in your opinion?

Aisslinger: It’s unique in that people come together and speak about tomorrow’s conceptual ideas. It’s very important, because scientists, politicians… they all live in their own small cosmos. And to meet with everybody from different directions and to speak about different concepts and plans is a really important thing. So TEDx is important.


Backstage Interview with Daniel Klink "Engaging in a new competition of ideas"

TEDxBerlin: The motto of today’s TEDxBerlin conference is "Thinking Change" – what does change mean to you?

Daniel Klink: My topic is the Honorable Merchant, a set of principles from the Middle Ages that could change the future of business leadership.

TEDxBerlin: Tell us more about the idea that drives you.

Klink: I always thrive towards improving our society and consulting people who need it. I like to make them aware of problems that can be solved and to give them a greater sense and greater value.

TEDxBerlin: TED and TEDx conferences are about imagination, rather than about business and deals. In your opinion, what’s the power behind spreading ideas?

Klink: It means finding new ways of communication and engaging in a new competition of ideas. There is more movement and there are more people engaged. That’s the only way to solve problems nowadays. That’s the way we have to face these problems – together.


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