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ASU Professors highlight innovation at TEDxASU event

In ASU's second annual TEDx talk, multiple professors highlighted innovation in technology and education

The TEDx ASU conference was held in the Tempe Center for the Arts on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.

The TEDx ASU conference was held in the Tempe Center for the Arts on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.


With a central theme of innovation and making an impact in the world, ASU held its second annual TEDx conference on Wednesday, March 22 to at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

In accordance, ASU hosted 12 speakers who explored applying innovative thinking methods to language, saving the ice caps, prototype design and even in appealing to one’s own happiness.

“We must transform learning from mastery of what is known to exploration of the unknown,” said Ariel Anbar, a professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and a speaker at the event. By fostering learning to become inquisitive again, Anbar said the University can facilitate deeper learning more than grades and memorization, but through experimenting and hypothesizing as well.

Anbar also said that by creating new ways to synthesize the way a student learns with technology like virtual reality, a more effective immersive learning experience can take place.

Nancy Gray, who spoke on her own innovation in design and how it affects happiness, also advocated the same type of immersive experience. To be happy, said Gray, was to find happiness “in design, via design, and by design."

"(Happiness) comes better from experiences and memories of those experiences over purchasing material goods," she said.

Gray said people can find happiness from obtaining an item, incorporating it into their lives and designing their lives to include the item, be it a stove, fishing reel or a lamp.

“Close your eyes,” Gray said as she then walked the crowd through a short meditation. She told the crowd to envision a singular object they own and love. 

Gray said buying objects brings temporary happiness, but also added that if people appreciate the design of these items, they'd begin to find happiness in design. 

Gray said happiness by design relies on the experience recommendation. Experience recommendation, the idea that people should put experiences over material possession, allows for recurring happiness to improve the overall quality of life, she said. 

To reinforce this term, she gave an example of a vacation to Paris. She said that even if the journey on the plane to Paris was shaky and uncomfortable, it wouldn't matter because of how fun the vacation was.

The talk touched over environmental sustainability and applying innovative principles to that as well.  Steven Desch a speaker and professor within the School of Earth and Space Exploration spoke about resurrecting the polar ice caps.

Many of the speakers, including Desch, focused on applying innovative principles to the modern world to prepare it for the future.

Desch said we as humans have a great capacity for ingenuity, innovation and creativity.

"What we don’t have is time," he said.


Reach the reporter at awwei@asu.edu. or at  @williamweia97 on Twitter.

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