Feeling inspired at WIRED 2015

Cricket biscuits, the Jaguar Bond car, pop stars and the inventor of the Comic Sans font… These are just a few of the stand out items on WIRED2015’s agenda this year. As the fifth flagship event from WIRED, I was lucky to be able to attend for the day. As tricky as it is to try and summarise the presentations and everything that was on offer, here are some of the experiences that truly inspired me.

Food for thought

A big topic this year was the innovation in food production. Brave delegates tried ‘steak chips’ from Modern Meadow, grown from cultured cells instead of livestock; paleo made with ground up crickets as the flour substitute were on offer in the coffee breaks; and Hampton Creek explained how they are on a mission to disrupt the food industry. Not only did this all spark great ideas, but the food on offer at the event was also among the healthiest I’ve experienced at a conference anywhere.

The human connection

When at WIRED2015, you expect to hear from innovators, inventors, artists and entrepreneurs who are reinventing our world. What I wasn’t prepared for was the emotional side to some of the presentations. Being inspired by the first female amputee to climb Mount Everest? North Korean defectors telling us about life under Dear Leader? Or hearing tales from South America where crime investigators give us another side to the story about the war on drugs or peace negotiators who work with creative ad agencies to communicate with guerillas via fairy lights for Christmas, demobilising through marketing? This was the truly inspirational side – innovation working to improve the world.

There was plenty more I could write about. We were visited by a singer Jacob Whitesides, not even 18 years old, shared his social media advice with us – what brand doesn’t want 60 million followers on Twitter? – and live streamed his performance over Periscope. (His #JacobWired2015 hashtag ended up trending higher than the conference’s own #WIRED2015). Academics and experts from MIT’s Media Labs demonstrated how they can bring static objects to life to ‘make them dance’. And, at what other conference could you stand to win a drone during the networking break? No need for wires, but being wired and inspired helps!

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