Boy van der Leeden

Student Bachelor of Commerce, The Hague University


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How did you evaluate your TEDx event?

As we try to improve the world with every TED- and TEDx-event we organize, we look to the people around us and see how development results in progress. I believe in TED as THE tool for people to get inspired and do something exceptional, but sometimes I get the feeling we (as TED enthusiasts) are looking too much to the people around us instead of our self. To make even bigger inspirational steps, we must make the tool we use perfect.

That is why I wish to evaluate the TEDx-events I am involved with. What did the people think? What expectations did they have? Did they come true? Do they want to be involved more? These and hundreds of other questions have been running through my mind lately.

But why re-invent the wheel? I wish to know if there is an evaluation form that can be used to question the visitors. Perhaps other events have developed such forms? Or perhaps someone wrote an entire essay on it! Please let me know if you have ever encountered something like this, so you can inspire me..

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    Jun 24 2013: @Lizanne Hennessey: Wauw Lizanne! It sounds like you really got it going! It sounds amazing! We already ask our visitors what their life story is when they register, in which we aim to think about what people have accomplished in their life and, in some way, inspire.
    Unfortunately, in this case I am looking for something afterwards. We have had our TEDx event on April 8th in Nijmegen and now I want to survey the people I met there on how they enjoyed it. In order to find the true reason why people came to our event, you really must ask follow up questions so you can dig deep into their motivation. So personal attention is a must in this case! But your words work as an inspiration to me and I am going to think about using a touch-screen module in a cozy café-type atmosphere (combination of two great ideas) during our next event! Thank you so much!
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    Jun 24 2013: @Taylor DeLile: Let me start by thanking you for your reply. But do not worry, for I will always be influenced by others. I, too, am admitting that I know little to nothing and that I am willing to learn.
    But I have the feeling that, what you are looking for on the TED forum, is also there on the events. Even in a stronger form perhaps! During the breaks it is our aim to get the audience to talk to each other. In three years I have visited and co-organized seven TEDx-events and on every event I have met people who have a truly inspiring story to tell. And since you meet them face to face, you can elaborate on their story! Get in really deep, so you can figure out their true motivation and find that common vision! In my opinion it is harder to find that on a forum. Therefore I want to ask our visitors what they experienced and how they would organize a TEDx-event if it was up to them.
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    Jun 24 2013: @Lejan: I agree that chasing the end of the rainbow and looking for any key to success will get you nowhere. That is not where I am striving towards. I understand and realize it would take a lifetime to put every inspiration that turned out into action on paper. But let me try to explain it this way:
    We cannot ignore the fact that the development of technology is going thus fast that we might as well use it in our advantage. We do not have to go to the bakery to get bread, we do not have to go to the library to get information and we do not need a watch in order to know the time at this very minute. Development has been with us for ages, but now it gives us the opportunity to individually use it to our own advantage. It is no longer in the hands of the corporations, it is available for the individual. When you went to the theatre ten years ago, neither the performers nor the director cared what you thought of it. Today, they do. And so do I. That is why I want to develop my own work; I do because I can.
    I hope it makes sense when you read this, as I hope it explains what I mean. If not, let me know, and I will try it a different way.
  • Jun 23 2013: Boy, what a great initiative. The only way to make things better, is by finding out what works, and what doesn't. I would think, this is an essential part of your job as an organizer.
    But, why not re-invent that wheel, though? Maybe you can come up with an entirely new kind of survey that not only informs, but inspires? Perhaps an interactive touch-screen module at the exit? Or a cozy cafe-type atmosphere where visitors can sit down with a coffee and chat about their experience, as if they were talking to a friend?
    Utilize the fact that you have tons of questions! I can't think of anyone better to come up with them, then the person involved in organizing and improving events!
  • Jun 22 2013: I can't really speak in the way of TED events. I can, however, talk about any TED talk or this user-forum.

    I came to TED, originally, because I had an idea to study while I was in engineering school. It can be read under my conversations if you'd like to know more about it.

    The only reason I came to TED wasn't necessarily to use the people as credible sources of information, but to use them as the beginning of finding those credible sources. To my happy surprise, a lot of people responded to my experiment with enthusiasm and a lot of tips and information. Since I began using TED forum to gather ideas and find new research material, I have been very inspired to constantly search for the "next best thought."

    I came here admitting that I know little to nothing. I put my opinions and thoughts on this website solely so they can be challenged or disproven by much more enlightened or educated minds.

    With that said, I don't think it's necessarily the TED events of any kind that make this conference so effective. It's simply the collaboration of great minds that have a single dream of improving life that makes this effective.

    In reality, I don't think that the ideas we share and build upon are even the most important aspect to the TED conference. I think that BECAUSE we share a common vision to improve the world, we are thus improving it little by little - one mind at a time.

    So, it's just like you said already: Use TED to find inspiration and references. You may have these unique tools that you can offer the world, but should you put yourself in a position seeking to constantly influence others with your unique tool, then you risk becoming arrogant and thus closing yourself off from BEING influenced BY others.

    In order to shape and form your own instrument, you must use the tool's other people have created to hone the instrument.
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    Jun 22 2013: 'To make even bigger inspirational steps, we must make the tool we use perfect.'

    As much as I recognize your intention in what you said, quoted above, it seems to chase the end of the rainbow. And what is this wish coming from to always and almost 'evaluate' and 'measure' anything for the sake of 'optimization'?

    As much as I learned about creativity and inspiration, it strikes when one at least expect it, and knowing about its multiple sources which mingled to form it, does not hold any key for repetitive success ...

    To evaluate the 'inspirational outcome' of a TED event will cut short by the simple fact, that all Eureka moments come with time fuses, as new ideas are nothing but mosaics of ideas of the past which take time in collecting all the pieces it originates from. As I assume you neither have the time nor resources to track all participants over time to finally distill which part of their 'TED experience' made which significant impact on them, and when, and in what combination with their other, individual knowledge before and afterwards .... etc., etc., my best guess is, that this stays blurry to you no matter what you wish 'the tools' to be perfect for as they are multitude and unpredictable.

    In my view, all you can do and which is perfectly enough to aim for, is to create an atmosphere which is felt as positive to the majority of participants and speakers, by which their short-term feedback is very useful to collect, analyze and learn from. And who knows, with a bit of luck, some good tea, coffee, cookies and cakes the muse will kiss more often than usual ... :o)

    In any case, keep up your enthusiasm and good spirit, as both may become THE missing part in someone else's puzzle ...

    So relax, and good luck! :o)
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    Jun 22 2013: Thank you for your comment, Fritzie Reisner. I will certainly use it as it is a great example of what I am looking for.
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    Jun 22 2013: Thank you for your reply. I have done that during the events, and that is one of the reasons I thought of expanding; the people I spoke gave me great answers and that convinced me the audience has amazing ideas on how to improve the events. Now I want it on paper, so I can use it to make an event that the public contributes to, not just what we as an organization can think of.
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    Jun 21 2013: In the meantime, you can always ask other people how they are enjoying the event, or ask them as the event is drawing to a close.
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    Jun 21 2013: I saw this one online:

    There are many templates online also for service learning conferences and other conferences.

    If I were designing an evaluation form for a TEDx, I would likely tailor it to the event, as different events have different goals. I would definitely include open-ended questions, as the template does above.