Last week saw the launch of TEDxIrie in Jamaica with its programme of talks around the theme Small Island: Big Ideas. TED.com is an online community that promotes ideas worth spreading. Since 2007 it has become an internet phenomenon mainly because it has a formula that works. One of its basic principles is that no matter how awesome, its talks are never more than 18 minutes in length. This means that invited speakers are challenged to give the talk of a lifetime within that limited time. Over the years TED.com has shared ideas from notables such as Bill Gates, Chimamanda Adichie, Hillary Clinton and the list is growing as TED becomes viral through its international TEDx license.
Our Jamaican event was inspiring with speakers including cultural icon Carolyn Cooper, artist Ebony G. Patterson, IT wizard Kaiton Williams, ethnomusicologist Wayne Marshall and telecommunications specialists Mark A. Jones and Jacqueline Sutherland. Each brought a fresh perspective to Jamaican culture and its role within a global context. Perhaps, the biggest idea to come out of the day's discussion was that Jamaicans are at their best when they shift their attention from outside inwards, to honour their own creative abilities. Whether in the advancement of culture or economic development our TEDxIrie speakers showed that Jamaica has been historically blessed. We share a unique perspective that is 'already global' and 'already modern', and our best ideas originate at home.