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November 9, 2012 at 10:17 AM

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Ignite Seattle 18 sparks creative ideas, ways of thinking

The motto for Ignite Seattle pretty much says it all: "Enlighten us, but make it quick."

On Thursday night, I headed over to Town Hall to see the eighteenth group of presenters offer their ideas in 5 minutes and 20 slides. I used to go to Ignite Boise shows when I lived in Idaho. (I was once a presenter, too.) It's been a while. As soon as I set foot in last night's venue, I loved the vibe. Speakers can usually count on having a friendly, open-minded, supportive audience.

I also found myself instantly enthralled by the concepts that were explored via some very brave presenters: how to deal with dementia, creating a public park, the art of explanation and forgiving, the superpowers associated with being deaf, lessons learned from surviving the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, building a creative business, understanding China's consumer culture, fear of public speaking, and how to make a standing desk, etc.

Even Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn tapped into this unique audience by presenting on Seattle as a city of the future. (Think transportation, broadband, mixed-use communities, education, diversity, social justice, science, innovation, arts and culture.) "You built that reputation," McGinn told the hundreds of attendees. "We (the city government) have to learn how to listen and interact with you." The most wild applause came when the mayor mentioned the Emerald City as a bastion of social justice where "anybody can be married to who they want to."

To give you a sense of the format, here's a somewhat grainy photo of the mayor's talk from my Instagram feed:


I always leave Ignite shows feeling humored, humbled and provoked by the voices of people I'd have never heard from otherwise.

Looking forward to Ignite Seattle 19. Hope to see you there.

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