x = independently organized TED event

Theme: The Space Between

This event occurred on
July 15, 2012
9:30am - 4:30pm CDT
(UTC -5hrs)
Des Moines, IA
United States

This year’s theme explores “The Space Between.” It’s a concept that can take us on interplanetary adventures one moment and encourage us to delve more deeply into our own minds at the next. It’s the distance that divides neighbors and the slightest sliver that separates. It’s a call to explore the void.

Similarly, the space between our speaker sessions will feature a collection of interactive experiences, TEDxDesMoines t-shirts to purchase, a photo wall, snacks, and more fun to connect attendees.

From ideas worth spreading to projects worth doing, we hope you enjoy the event with people worth meeting.

Science Center of Iowa
401 West Martin Luther King Parkway
Des Moines, IA, 50309
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Ben Milne

Ben Milne is a payments outsider and founder of Dwolla, a new payment network based in the heart of the Silicon Prairie. The company continues to disrupt Visa and Mastercard by building useful and innovative online and mobile products on top of its open and low-cost payment network.

Nancy Berns

Nancy Berns is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Drake University and author of Closure: The Rush to End Grief and What It Costs Us. Drawing from her personal experience with loss and her in-depth sociological research, Nancy encourages people to face grief and joy without the expectation of closure.

Leo Landis

Leo E. Landis is the Education Director and Curator at Salisbury House & Gardens and author of Building Better Roads: Iowa's Contributions to Highway Engineering. He has more than twenty-five years of experience in museum work as a program director, curator, and educator. Committed to making history interesting to the public, Leo is also the esteemed "Bacon Professor" for the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival.

Rachel Buse

Rachel Buse is an artist living and working in Des Moines. She moved to Iowa in 2008 after receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She builds large, exaggerated figures and installations out of common materials like paper, tape and bed sheets. She conducts installation workshops for kids and is a trained docent at the Des Moines Art Center. Most recently, Rachel launched Art Beacon Des Moines, an online resource dedicated to promoting local art and providing written feedback to artists from their community.

Bong Wie

Bong Wie is the Vance Coffman Endowed Chair Professor of Aerospace Engineering and the Founding Director of the Asteroid Deflection Research Center at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. In 2006, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) presented Professor Wie with the Mechanics and Control of Flight Award for his innovative research on advanced control of complex spacecraft. He is the author of an AIAA textbook Space Vehicle Dynamics and Control.

Lee Fisher

Lee Fisher is the President and CEO of CEOs for Cities, a Chicago-based global learning network of cross-sector, cross-generational urban leaders dedicated to building and sustaining the next generation of great American cities. The organization operates on the theory that cities are big enough to make a difference but small enough to make things happen quickly and effectively. Prior to joining CEOs for Cities, Lee served the State of Ohio as Representative; Senator; Attorney General; and Lt. Governor. He was also President and CEO of the Center for Families and Children in Cleveland.

Clare Barcus

Clare Barcus is a junior at Des Moines' Roosevelt High School and Central Academy. She has stuttered most of her life but spreads the message that embracing personal obstacles is more important than trying to defeat them. Despite her obstacle she loves to perform both in and out of school. Clare plays the clarinet in the wind symphony and full orchestra at Roosevelt. This fall, Clare will also be a drum major for Roosevelt's marching band and a member of the chamber choir.

Scott Siepker

Scott Siepker is the host of Iowa Public Television's Iowa Outdoors and is an adjunct professor of acting at Drake University. Scott got his acting start on stage at Iowa State University, where he received his bachelor of science in psychology. Scott has gone on to act in dozens of plays, commercials, and miscellaneous live events. Recently, Scott was the star of the Webby Honoree viral video Iowa Nice, which was produced by the film company he is a founding member of, Iowa Filmmakers, along with Paul D. Benedict and Brendan Dunphy.

Peter Komendowski

Peter Komendowski is a consultant specializing in a unique combination of business development and social activism, targeted at the evolving complexity of human interactions, the effects of the media, and identifying environmental strategies for investing in the "health" of human potential. His work on the Iowa Media Literacy Project provides the framework to bridge the gap between stages of brain development to improve the ability of children to manage the complexity of the media and evolving technologies.

Mike Wagner

Mike Wagner is a skilled communicator, facilitator, and business consultant who believes you must "keep creating" to be successful. Mike develops engaging presentations, trainings and facilitations for clients from his vast work experiences with small and medium size enterprises, Fortune 500 companies, and leading non-profit organizations. He brings ideas to life through compelling stories to help clients to see their path to success. Mike speaks and trains across the nation on leadership, creativity, and personal development, while also working on-site with organizational leaders to facilitate the creation of remarkable customer experiences.

Organizing team


Des Moines, IA, United States
  • Brianne Sanchez
  • Lauren Burt
    Team Lead
  • Mike Draper