Back to Basics Community Sustainability 

ideaCity 2010: Day 3


See daily recap here: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

The final day of ideaCity was upon us, but the last day definitely did not disappoint. What transpired today, and over the course of the last three days was so much knowledge and passion that we almost did not know what to do with ourselves. After taking a deep breath, we have been able to write to you, our experiences here at ideaCity, to give you just a glimpse of what you can expect from this event.

Mallika Chopra was one of the highlights of the day for us. Even before the event, we had heard about her as an individual who actively looks and creates opportunities to change the world. As a businesswoman and American author, her resume includes holding roles at MTV India, Heal The World Foundation with Michael Jackson, and UNICEF. Most relevant to us, was she wrote two books inspired by her two daughters: 100 Promises to My Baby and 100 Questions from My Child. She encourages individuals to live with intent, to have a daily purpose, because only then will you experience the life that you want to live.


One of Mallika’s intents has always been to “connect with others by sharing and listening to each other’s stories.” Most recently, leading to the launch of Intent.com—a creative online platform that encourages positive change. Then Pepsi stepped in and requested Mallika to join their Pepsi ReFresh project as a Health Ambassador, which aims to give away over a million dollars to people with a great idea to improve this world. From starting a dance program for kids in underprivileged communities, to funding and providing immediate shelter for homeless children & their families, Internet users vote for the best ideas to receive funding.

It is great to see corporations like Pepsi dedicate a significant amount of resources to improve this world (a trend that we’ve previously learned from Faith Popcorn’s presentation, yesterday). Donating to charity is one thing, but starting a charity movement of your own is another. Mallika concluded her speech by saying “if I have one idea from ideaCity, it’s to create a movement of positive change to heal ourselves and this world.” Let’s create that movement today. Vidafine is with you Mallika!

Another bold idealist was Dr. Rachel Armstrong who points out how technology and nature are currently two distinctly different things and this toxic relationship is killing us as a species. Her passion is to explore opportunities for an engaged dialogue between the two areas in a very scientific yet practical sense, and to invent a new class of smart materials that would naturally respond to our environment without humans telling them what to do. The new class of materials inspire a new roadmap to sustainability developments, where integration with the environment is built-in to the core of the innovation. Below is a tid-bit of what she experiments with.

embedded by Embedded Video

By the way, it’s not too late to catch her collaborative works with Philip Beesley, which will be exhibiting in Toronto’s Design Exchange on June 23, 2010.

While speaking on the subject of science and tech, Tan Le, co-founder and President of Emotiv, shared with us her personal story and her family’s escape from Vietnam. One of the things she learned was that, “it’s okay to start all over again in life.” Building upon this strong personality, she co-founded Emotiv.


A revolutionary human-computer interface that changes how we talk to machines. When you think about it, isn’t it sort of ridiculous how much we need to learn in order use technology efficiently and properly? Even though multi-touch technology helps us play with our smartphones, imagine what it would be like if we could just talk to our phones simply through thought. This is not some sci-fi technology, Emotiv actually has a prototype that allows us to make a phone call on the smartphone through thinking about a person in the address book. Some of the many implementations of this technology include wheelchair motion control and gaming, all through thought and/or facial expressions. The opportunities are endless!

Finally, Adora Svitak, whom we had previously watched through TED and anticipated to hear present live, was bold and daring with her opinions and rationale. Her talk centred around the age-old phrase, “Let Kids Be Kids” (or LKBK for short). She emphasized the stereotypes place on such phrases and how absurd people’s (or adults’) understanding of such a phrase. She proposed a new way of thinking. Perhaps we don’t need to take the conventional and literal meaning of this phrase, but instead focus on the characteristics of children as a whole. They are creative, daring, curious explorers.


How come adults always ask “what do you want to do when you grow up?” But never, “what do you want to do right now?”. It would seem that it makes more sense to ask the latter. She goes on to speak of the role that children are playing in today’s society and their contributions to the world even at a very young age. She encourages people of all ages, to act as though they were kids all the time. Perhaps this will allow us to step out of our comfort zones and take risks that we never thought possible.

In addition to all the inspiring speeches and new perspectives on life, the talents showcased during this very last day of ideaCity 2010 was also world-class. With Jake Shimabukuro playing the ukulele, Natalie Tran’s live skit and Angela Funovits’ mentalism performance, the audience is not only inspired by great speeches, but also entertained by a whole wide spectrum of creative talents.

Although the amazing after party marks the end of the ideaCity 2010 conference, the ideas do not end there. In the many weeks to come we will be interviewing some of the speakers to provide you with more detailed reports of their works and passions. As Adora mentioned in her speech, “knowledge is not a stamp collection, it’s for us to do something about it.” Through these articles, we hope you also will be inspired—to reflect and to make positive changes to your own life.


ideaCity 2010: Day 1
ideaCity 2010: Day 2
Christmas Wishlist 2010 ($30 or more)
TEDxToronto 2010 A Call to Action
  • ecee

    There was soo much awesome-ness at this event, it's so hard to 'summarize' what happened.
    such a mind blowing and engaging event, everyone should consider it if they have the chance!

  • ]Priscilla Sam

    Awesome job on the summaries of all three days…makes me wish even more I was there! Maybe next year?!?

  • Alan T

    great post!

  • http://www.vidafine.com ben

    thanks Alan. hopefully we'll cover ideaCity again next year. it was an amazing conference! for now though, we'll have more posts stemming from the ideaCity talks, such as the Phil Beesley exhibition in Toronto, in collaboration with Rachel =)

  • Greg

    I wanted a few days to pass before adding my comments to your blog. It is important to me not to commit to written words when 'under the influence', and surely by day three of IdeaCity, I was under some serious influence! What else would explain my behavior Friday morning, when, at the simplest combination of words, from the likes of Chopra, Armstrong, Morgan, or Darwish, I would have tears streaming down my cheeks. Surely, a red blooded, beer swilling, hockey loving male like me has a better grip on his emotions than that?

    Well, here it is several days later, and the routine of daily life has me firmly grounded once again…I think. At least I no longer weep at stories, nor feel compelled to share my 'feelings'. But still, difficult to pinpoint at first, something has changed.

    The 'news of the world', no less bleak than before the sweet sounds of Kayla and Andrea's voices kicked things-off for the 2010 IdeaCity event, is now somehow more bearable. More bearable because there is more hope. Hope born of great ideas, and idealists, determined to make the world a better place.

    And, perhaps the real change has come from within, because it is unlikely that before this event I would have said, or even thought, that if there is hope for the world to be a better place, and if that better place is because women are at the helm, then bring it on, I say, bring it on!

  • http://www.vidafine.com ben

    hello Greg, thank you for the great comment! if ideaCity made everyone see the world a little differently, a little better and a little more hopeful, I'd say it's a true success.

    i guess for most of us, like me, after the conference, we'd be back to the day-to-day routine life. but when the right opportunity comes along maybe we'll act a little differently =) good night!

  • http://www.facebook.com/eugene.loo Eugene Loo

    Hey Greg,

    So putting you under the spotlight here, how do you think YOUR change comes from within?

    It was truly an amazing 3-days. Moses has the ability to woo/bring the right ppl together for a conference and have everything run as smoothly as possible. The range of guests on the bill ensured that every participant of the conference could relate to at least one of the speakers.

    From music, song, dance, talks, lectures, tutorials, and workout sessions, Idea City 2010 was all that and more.

    We'd love to cover Idea City again next year! What do you thinK?