TED is a small nonprofit dedicated to ideas worth spreading, and its TEDx program is “designed to to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.”

Last week I attended TEDxOrangeCoast. The event featured a variety of speakers on numerous topics, with the underlying intention of inspiring innovative thinking. The event featured 25 live speakers as well as several video clips from other TED functions. There were also dance performances and one woman, Sharon Wray, who conveyed her message while constantly moving.

I’m going to highlight two specific speakers: John Joliffe and Alice Shin. John spoke more generally and philosophically whereas Alice’s account is more of a case study, one that specifically involves social media and, oddly, negates much of the logic most in the industry honor.

Invention vs Innovation

John was very entertaining and also emceed the first half of the day. His presentation specifically focused on innovation vs invention.

He said that invention is bringing an idea (that already exists) to light, whereas innovation comes to you. It doesn’t evolve or improve, and it’s not a human accomplishment. In other words, it doesn’t already exist. It’s waiting to be discovered, developed, realized… Did Ghandi and other similar figures choose to lead, or were they led?

Innovators have a “quiet mind.”

There are three levels of growth and development –

  1. Conformity – worried about belonging; we go along to get along
  2. Independence – the need to find our own path
  3. Autonomy – we agree to disagree

During this growth, we are loud-minded.

The 5 Principles of a Quiet Mind –

  1. Innovatores don’t play to crowds. they don’t care what people think.
  2. Give up the idea of right and wrong, good and bad, positive and negative. All that matters is true and false.
  3. Give up trying to find answers (no one has them). Look instead for incites.
  4. Give up trying to find answers. Instead look for incites.
  5. Commitment to eliminate as much junk as possible.

John says that once you achieve these qualities of a quiet mind, you’re greatly-positioned to innovate!

“The First Viral Eatery”

Alice and her family are behind the renowned Kogi BBQ truck.

When they first started, they were doing business the way everyone told them to. They’d hang out in popular LA locations but be chased away by clubowners and cops, or they’d find a great location with lots of foot traffic, but nowhere to park.

Then, they started going to smaller spots, and people started noticing them and specifically requesting them to come out to their cities.

Every mistake they made was made doing business how they were told. When they started doing things their own way, they started thriving.They knew they were creating a new flavor profile that LA was ready for.

They don’t have a PR firm and they’ve never done any traditional advertising. They only have a blog and social media presence. They’ve never had a strategy or evoked certain tactics to get followers; they just kind of go with the flow. This has resulted in 86,000 twitter fans and 9,000 hits a day on their blog.

They use twitter strictly as a promotional tool; they don’t use hashtags, RT other posts or communicate with their fans. This is interesting in that it goes against the “rules” of social media for business, but it’s worked for them, and they take pride in doing their own thing.