One step closer…

TEDxBeaconStreet Class of 2017 brings their best pitch!

Keiko Wakao

Last night, Speakers and organizers gathered to hear the ideas that will develop into TEDxBeaconStreet talks this fall.

People brought their friends, their family, their colleagues, and their best moonshot ideas. Here are a few of the candidates! You can see our fall Speaker lineup here.

Have you ever copied someone’s recipe, but it didn’t turn out quite right? Tim Savas’ food computer could be the solution to your problem! If it spits out the perfect tomato every time, then you’ll always have the perfect sauce.

Keila Wakao is 11 years old and she wants to talk about her father’s cancer diagnosis. Her father plays in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, so to share her feelings, she took up music just like him.

Julie Newman is the Director of Sustainability at MIT, and she’s a pioneer in her field. Now she wants to get into how environmental regulations affect human health, and that requires an artful leadership style that works in large-scale systems. How can we reorganize the world to become sustainable?

Liz Toupin

Liz Toupin was one of the first Asian-American deans at Tufts University in 1968.

Sammy Janower survived her brain tumor 13 years ago, at age 3. She now bikes to raise money for cancer, most recently in the Pan-Mass Challenge, which is 160 miles. She wants to support treatment for kids like her.

Eduardo Torrealba realized that future factories will be small numbers of people with diversified skills; how will that shape our future economy and legislation? He’s got a jumpstart on U.S. economic policy, and we hope the rest can follow.

Amit Sharma acknowledges a reality of immigrant life: they send money home. Often, efforts to counter illicit financial activity blocks immigrants from this most vital form of family support. How can we distinguish the two and make it possible for these good intentions to follow through?

Mitch Resnick thinks the most important invention of the last 1,000 years is kindergarten. Not only did we put kids in a classroom, but we started to think about how to turn children into citizens and what they need to know to participate in organized society. How can we make the rest of school more like kindergarten?

Mitch Resnick

Lee Dong is going to change the way we think about GMOs through her work with her high school peers.

Jim McNiel’s work affects everyone personally: as the computerized world integrates our lives and minds more closely, how can we protect ourselves and our integrity? He wants to create a privacy switch to maintain necessary boundaries.

Jodi Asbell-Clarke is frustrated by school tests: they don’t measure creative, persistent, innovative learning, and do a disservice to our students. Jodi’s going to study learning through games and interactions to enable and empower these learners and predict what people are learning.

Jason Kahn makes technology available to families that can build emotional strength out in the real world.

Could you operate without a large chunk of your brain? Surprisingly, says Sam Rodriques, the answer is yes. The brain is incredibly flexible, and Sam realized that the age of brain loss or change is much more important than the proportion of grey matter that remains.

Nick Schwartz is involved with half a dozen projects through the MIT media lab, including the hyperloop team.

Louis Smith is working to redevelop a small African-American community that’s been around since the Civil War. What does sustainability mean in this context? Do people need to talk to their neighbors, do we care what faces the street? How can we support cultural norms by the physical structure of the neighborhood? His work reflects these concerns.

Louis Smith

Charlie Jacobs wants to tell the story of stories. Changing the narrative is how you lead and changes minds: Stories have a unique power among humans, and Charlie knows how this changes everything.

Bill Heit thinks we could be embedded with sensors to monitor our health, and keep us cancer free.

Yan Zhang uses AI & Legos to investigate our decision-making process. (What a fun day his job must be!) His model helped guide people around the Kumbh Mela…A future city could use Legos to help guide us around. Wouldn’t you want to live there?

Steve Rothstein told us that JFK was known for innovation. How can we carry his spirit forward to improve the community?

Neil Gaikwad draws a parallel: Drivers survive crashes because of car design. What about people and businesses surviving crashes because markets are well designed?

Alice Han has worked with WHO and Syrian refugees, among other groups. In every setting, the most prominent disease she saw was violence against women. It affects one in five American women; what are some things we can change to address this epidemic if we conceptualize it this way?

Christopher Fry & Henry Lieberman want to talk about the severe inefficiencies of capitalism. What determines whether people cooperate or compete? How can we foster cooperation through providing the means of production?

What stops you from pursuing your wishes with zeal the way you did in kindergarten? Jim Verquist wants to bring that innovative enthusiasm back into the workplace.

Organizer Chris Sanders helps Speakers participate via Google Hangouts

Mohammed Ghassemi’s greatest tragedy led to a great realization: we need social connection. His program to build relationships between strangers may have saved lives.

The Soviets had a lot of ideas, but this one is good: They teach math in an innovative way that helps students take charge of their own learning. Masha Gershman is helping bring this technique to U.S. students as it was brought to her by her very determined mother.

Lots of parents, teachers, and administrators want to teach kids about consent, but this kid wants to teach his peers. Noah helps other teen boys learn how to ask the right questions at the right time.

Infitaya Ali wants to talk about the lack of diversity in the classical music scene.

Sam Cossman is passionate about solving problems and driving impacts, and he’s been inside an active volcano next to a hall-of-fame astronaut. How do those things interact? We want to know, too.

Marie Blackstone is 16 and lives in Bermuda. She wants to talk about family support and what it means to really show up for one another.

Miriam Gates rose out of her Amish education to direct a lab at MIT because of people who helped her envision an unusual future. She does experiments to see whether well-intentioned programs have the results we hope for in low-income communities, which is crucial to offering real help.

Angela Bair Schmider uses art to help build scientific literacy by recognizing and teaching patterns and encouraging students to think outside the box.

Adam Graves thinks people eople focus too much on structure that they can’t change; how can you build a positive interaction by focusing on the in-between?

Susan Dahl thinks the finance industry is missing the point about how we manage people’s money. The formula built for institutions is being applied to individuals, but is that what really makes people happy? What’s the point, and how can we solve for it?

Co-director Irma Rastegayeva, Liz Toupin, former Speaker Kitty Pechet, and communications coordinator Erin Rubin

We’re thrilled to see how these ideas will develop through the fall. Thanks to our supportive community, we know they’ll all be stars!

To learn more about the TEDxBeaconStreet preparation process, check out our article, Immersed in Innovation, where we talk about some of the great groups of people that help put our ideas in action.