• Author:Ralf Heimann
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TEDxMünster 2017: How great ideas can change the world

For hundreds of years, people died of smallpox. No one had a cure until Dr Edward Jenner, at the end of the 19th Century observed something. He noticed that women working in dairies suffered from a less deadly form of the illness, transmitted by the cows, from which they recovered and had no scars. Edward Jenner had an idea. He was convinced that the disease in cows carried some form of immunity for humans. In 1796 he developed a vaccine and the world was freed of a deadly disease. As of 1977, there have been no known cases.

Great ideas are unremarkable

The development of the smallpox vaccine was a turning point to a new era. A small idea changed the world. Often these historic turning points are marked by the name of the person, in whose head it began: Carl Friedrich Benz invented the car, William Gilbert the electricity.

Often great ideas are only recognized with hindsight. In 1876, the American Graham Bell, tried to sell his telephone patent to the Western Union Telegraph Company. He was told: ‘What can a company do with such a toy?”. Only those who take small ideas seriously, can bump into the great ones.

This is one of the many TED-Ideas. Think of possibilities that seem impossible. Change small things to get bigger. First think that everything is possible. For example, Thomas Alva Edison only changed one detail. Instead of the usual platinum, he tried a coal thread in the lamp and gave us the light bulb.

We give ideas a stage

Looking at a problem from a different angle can often bring a solution. Last year, the scientist Timo Betz was standing on the stage of TEDxMünster. He was researching cancer from the viewpoint of a physician. That he alone at some point will be in a position to understand the disease and its horrors, is unlikely. But perhaps his work can complete a gap in the research of another scientist or vice versa.

Maybe his ideas will inspire another expert of vice versa. Often, we stumble on ideas.

We want to give ideas a jumpstart. At TEDxMünster we want to give twelve people with a good idea the stage. The best ideas will later be aired on the TEDx-Youtube-channel to be seen by the whole world. The channel has seven million subscribers. One of the most successful talks was viewed 52 million times.

Maybe one of the idea, presented at TEDxMünster 2017, will take us into a new era? It doesn’t have to change the world. Maybe, it is a new era for you that others can learn from. That is what „Zeitenwende“ means – turning points for a society, in the life of an individual, scientifically or technology-wise.

Timo Betz has already moved a step forward. A few months after TEDxMünster, he became a professor at the University of Münster. A couple of weeks ago, he won an international research prize. He and his ideas are becoming better known. No one can yet say what will become of him. It depends on many factors including fate. How big his ideas will become can sadly only be seen with hindsight.

But for now we can offer a preview of ideas that may be the starting point of a „Zeitenwende“.

We hope you’ll join us. Tickets are available here.