x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Innovate X

This event occurred on
May 12, 2011
8:00am - 6:00pm EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
Grand Rapids, MI
United States

What is TEDxGrandRapids?
TEDxGrandRapids, inspired by TED talks, will bring 16 Innovators from diverse fields and from all over the world to share their personal stories of innovation with over 500 local thinkers and doers on May 12th at the Civic Theatre.

Innovate X (where "x" is an undefined variable) is our theme and an open-ended invitation to Speakers and Attendees to consider new ideas from an infinite range of fields. It's about ideas that change the way we see, think and do.

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
30 N Division Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI, 49503
United States
See more ­T­E­Dx­Grand­Rapids events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Salah Boukadoum

Innovate: Philanthropy. The Good Returns model shows how one small twist can turn capitalism into a force for solving global problems.

Gabor George Burt

Innovate: InnovationThe most successful companies understand that innovation is the engine of sustained growth and relevance. But easier said than done. So what is the path to systematic, meaningful innovation?

Carol Coletta

Innovate: Your CityA brief look at trends shaping the way we will live and how cities must adapt to be successful.

Sheryl Connelly

Innovate: UncertaintyHow to think like a “futurist”.

Amy Davidsen

Innovate: Clean RevolutionToday, there are almost seven billion people competing for our planet’s scarce natural resources. Yet, we have an unprecedented opportunity to create a world in which people not only subsist – they thrive. A clean industrial revolution will cut global emissions, provide clean energy access for all, and improve lives for generations to come.

Patrick Flanagan

Innovate: Cyborg MusicalityMusic-making machines have existed for centuries, but interacting with them in live performance poses new technical challenges and aesthetic questions about the locus of creativity and musical expression.

Robert Fuller

Innovate: WonderHow evolutionary biology, anthropology, and psychology together illuminate the most elusive—and sublime—human emotion.

Sam Harrington

Innovate: Ultra-Rapid RenewablesHow long does it take to grow the materials we use? Two seemingly disparate ideas: materials and time. One is tangible, the other can’t be touched, and can’t be stopped.

Jeff Kimpton

Innovate: ArtWhy Art Matters. If innovation is the new currency, then the arts are essential to the creative environment that leads to innovation. The question is: who and how will the arts matter in our future?

Dr. Richard A. Leach

Complete Genomics pulled Dr. Leach the day before the event due to their S1 filing and associated SEC mandated blackout period.

Mickey McManus

Innovate: EducationWhat if there were a basic literacy, beyond reading, writing, and arithmetics that we missed, or that wasn’t really necessary until this moment in our history? What if that new literacy were MORE important than STEM education to the future of our children? Or if it helped rationalize STEM and SEL (social, emotional, learning) in a way that organized these two, at times mutually exclusive, threads of critical thinking? What if other countries were figuring it out and America was caught fighting over educational approaches mired in philosophies and patterns suited for the 1900s instead of the 21st century and missed the boat entirely? What if it fostered thinking so that kids could grow up to be critical, creative, collaborative, and resilient? What if you did something about it before it’s too late?

Christina Keller

Innovate: Entreprenuerism Entrepreneurship, engine for improvement around the world and specifically in developing nations. Christina is leading the Triple Quest Business Unit at Cascade Engineering, a joint project between CE and the Windquest group. This sustainable business is focused on providing high quality products to the base majority in developing countries, the first product being the HydrAid® BioSand Water Filter which provides safe drinking water for people in remote areas of developing countries. The group recently signed a letter of intent with the Honduran Government to do 40,000 filters over the next 5 years and has also done projects with USAID, Rotary International and the US Navy. She has responsibility for the entire business unit.

Steve Rosenbaum

Innovate: Curation!In a world of bandwidth and content abundance, we’re overwhelmed with data, tweets, blogs, check in’s and media. It used to be we surfed the web. Now the waves of the web are just too big. Curation is the new magic that makes the web work. Bringing the web back to human scale with human filters you trust and love. A powerful mix of passion and context turns noise back into signal.

Michael Strong

Innovate: ExperienceAs a greater percentage of the population rises up Maslow’s pyramid, an increasing percentage of market share in the developed world will come from companies that succeed at making human life more meaningful, richer, and more delightful for all stakeholders. How can we consciously create such companies and such an economy?

Garrett Borns

Performer Bio: Garrett Borns is a gifted 19-year-old singer/songwriter from West Michigan. In 2010, his original composition The Only Paradise won the West Michigan Student Showcase Showstopper Award. “Take some time to get your mind off your mind, and love the only paradise you’re ever gonna find…” The lyrics of the song reflect a universal relationship between humans and earth, and how paradise is found within. Garrett is currently studying classical piano and music theory at Grand Rapids Community College. He recently returned from a sojourn to France, where he was being filmed for a series of “on the street” music videos throughout Paris. He is an official storyteller for Focus the Nation, a sustainable energy organization that approached Garrett to create inspirational songs for their campaign to promote a clean energy future. His first album will be released later this summer.

Organizing team


Grand Haven, MI, United States


Grand Rapids, MI, United States