Embrace the Limitations

I had this idea the minute we ended our last main event in September. And sent this off to the TEDx blog. I also applied to give a TEDYou talk on the subject, but there wasn’t enough room.

But it warms my heart to see the topic of limitation and creation become such a huge part of this year’s TED2013. 

So I’m posting my original response, as is…

Our inspired path…creativity as a result of limitation!
What are the ingredients for impressive creativity?
TEDxLAU answers: An inspired, driven team with limited resources.
It all started with one idea… one inspired by the first talk we were going to screen at our first Salon. This walk unleashed a journey we weren’t even fully aware of at the time. We just went along with everything…and because it was our first event, EVERYTHING took us by surprise.
We were overwhelmed at the beginning, managing funds, dealing with purchasing and marketing, while selecting and coaching speakers. To all who attended the event, the end product appeared to be quite coherent, with complementary settings and stage design, social space and activities. Yet, most of these creations were the spontaneous outburst of inspiration, an inspiration that was accompanied by constraints of time, money, and rules.
We wanted to do it all. I’d sit with the designers, the communication arts students, the architects, and they had such brilliant ideas. Yet, I had to constantly play the “we can’t” record.
We can’t because we have limited number of audience members.
We can’t because we have limited funds.
We can’t because it’s against the rules.
Yet… a driven team does not allow the “can’t” to limit their creativity. Quite the contrary.
We can’t have a huge TEDx Sign that’s as high as the speaker, if not higher?
Answer: We build the most creative set we’ve ever seen! using props from our very own university theatre! And making it shine in the process!
We can’t have enough people to fill the entire theatre because it’s against the rules?
Answer: We find means to utilize the empty spaces, making our theatre come alive! (And find all the material for free as well!)
We can’t open up our event to more than a hundred guests?
Answer: We create an experience where these guests are a close-knit community, enjoying the social space as much as the talks!
We decide to take people on a journey but can’t actually leave campus and walk around Beirut?
Answer: We create our own TEDxLAU Land. We create an entire venue on our own campus, with a passport that lures you into TEDx country. Going through Arts & Sciences Street, enjoying The Talk St., posing by the passion booth on Wall of Passion St., playing and creating in Social Space St., and of course, pumping up the energy on Fuel Station St.
As such… the one message I learned on September 29 was… one should not seek to eliminate restrictions and limitations. Rather, one should take them as opportunities to create a more exciting solution, one you might not have reached without those restraints in the first place.
So glorify the rules! Learn them and find means to create your own answers!

About Reine Azzi

An instructor who teaches so many different courses at university! Best way to remain passionately challenged! I'm also the licensee, curator, and host of TEDxLAU which adds so much excitement to my life!
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