The kaleidoscopic beauty of TEDxCopenhagen

Photo by Abdellah Ihadian.

How innovative leaders change everyday life, written by Katrine Schumann, communicate2innovate and TEDxCopenhagen ambassador.

TEDx Copenhagen 2012 was about movement. Action. Community. Building. And taking part in creating the future right now.

TEDx Copenhagen was about people moving ideas into practice to create more essential value – and to me, that is what the beauty of innovative leadership is all about.

As role models of innovative leadership, the presenters were all aiming high to make transformational change within themselves and around them. As a cancer patient, a scout leader, a consumer, a citizen, a cook, a cyclist – add all 25+ presenters and performers on stage to the list – in their everyday life. Not just as a strategy or vision. But as extraordinary action in their ordinary lives.

If we look for inspiration on innovative leadership by creating a new, kaleidoscopic pattern from the presentations, 5 essential virtues stand out:

• Be curious – open your mind, discover new underlying structures and start asking questions
• Be creative – act to challenge existing norms and use the reactions as important feedback
• Be consistent – come eye-to-eye with the essential purpose of your idea and never lose sight of it
• Be caring – share your ideas with others, be kind, inclusive and build trust
• Be civil – aim to change the world for ordinary citizens and not any exclusive community

The movements these innovative leaders invite us to join are as simple as: “be f***ing flink”, “spend money pro-social”, “share your sourdough”, “keep your body moving”, “remember to water your plants”, “draw more together”, “speak up for those who cannot themselves”, “share your freedom” and “be an awesome adult”. But their ambitions are grand and the impact on solving societal problems can be enormous.

Cutting through these movements and more – it is clear, that transformational movements are not about inventing something completely new. But about shifting from traditional mindsets to alternative paradigms and discover new, valuable possibilities of action.

More often than not, these movements seem to offer simple solutions to complex problems, like: “How do we solve waste problems, save money and promote sustainability? Stop wasting food!” or “How do we help former civil war enemies rebuild their country in the spirit of reconciliation instead of guilt and punishment? We start by bringing them together for a game of football!”.

Coined beautifully and simple by biologist Birger L. Møller: “Combine people and things, to make things, you didn’t think of before!”

And if these movements and ideas seem a bit naïve – well it may just be that you are judging them from an old, cynical paradigm instead of a paradigm of the future build on trust and small, local sustainable actions. As one of the presenters quoted from anthropologist Margaret Mead: ”Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

So join the movements – or shift the paradigm and start leading new beautiful movements yourself.

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