Innovation starts here. Meet TED.

By MarkBurhop

TEDxHuntsville 2010If you take innovation seriously, you likely know all about the TED Conference that happens in Long Beach every spring.One of the offshoots of TED is TEDx which brings this same type of event to local communities.

In my case, I got to attendTEDx in Huntsville Alabama. Siemens puts  a lot of value on innovation so while I didn’t go for work, it certainly put me in the right frame of mind to be innovative when I got back.

I went with a group of Auburn Alabama Industrial Design students who drove up for the weekend (BTW, Did you see this post on Siemens PLM and Auburn?)When I got there, I ran into people from many of the top companies in the area. Huntsville is big in aerospace, space flight, defense, bio-engineering and software so as you can guess, it was a good crowd.

Prior to getting started, several booths were set up with interactive displays.    Maker’s Local 256 had a Makerbot 3D printer set up and running. Us CAD folks know how quickly this 3D printing domain is growing and its was fascinating to see what you can build in your own garage.

Next to the Maker’s Local 256, Tim Pickens from Dynetics had a rocket display.  Tim also had one of the more interesting presentations talking about privately funded space programs, keeping costs low, and how many of the affluent innovators are funding these efforts.  He also touched on the Google Lunar X Prize competition and Huntsville’s Rocket City Space Pioneer’s entry into this competition.

I also captured some pictures from Dan Satterfield’s presentation – For those of you not living in Huntsville, Dan is the chief meterorogist for WHNT.  More importantly, he keeps a great science blog(you are clicking on on the links in the blog, right?)

There were quite a few interesting presentations and I wish I could get them all in this blog. Rather, I’ll just close with some idea generating Youtube videos and this:If you or your company values innovation, I’d definitely recommend you attend a TEDx conference.  The cool ideas,  originality, experience and energy are likely to help you with your own innovation.

8 to be great

Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex

Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from (and people make fun of my coffee tweets!)

Dennis Hong: My 7 species of robot (you can’t do a mechanical engineering or CAD blog without mentioning robots 🙂 )

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at