John Werner '92 - Executive Curator of TEDxBoston
Alumni News & Notes
By Antonia Villa '12
August 11, 2011
John Werner '92 is an active member of the team of individuals striving to make a difference with the nonprofit organization known as TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). TED is devoted to spreading innovative ideas in hopes of changing the attitudes and lives of citizens around the world. John attends the annual TED conference in Long Beach, CA and the annual Global conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. During these weeklong events, many cutting edge thinkers come together to share their personal stories and ideas with live audiences. Videos of the presentations are recorded and posted on the TED website. In the past five years, over 900 thought-provoking videos have been posted and received an astounding 500 million views. You can see John’s photos of TED related activities including the two major conferences and the one he runs in Boston here: http://www.johnwernerphotography.com.
As an Executive Curator of TEDxBoston, John and his colleagues work independently to highlight the wealth of innovative thinking that the Boston region produces. Last year, John and four others led a team of volunteers and produced TEDxBoston 2010, an all-day event with 500 attendees, 25 speakers, and 3000 online views. In order to enable Bostonians to get to know their region better, he piloted the TEDxBoston Adventures effort, a series of excursions to local start-ups, well-established companies, research labs, and universities. In 2011, the Adventures included the following: Helicopter tours of Boston, a tour of a jail, a talk with Boston screenwriter Aaron Stockard (Gone Baby Gone and The Town), a presentation by Clay Christensen (professor of disruptive innovation at Harvard Business School), robot building, tours of the MIT media lab, a presentation on stem cells at the Whitehead Institute, a tour of the MIT Nuclear Reactor, an inside look at Fenway Park, and a panel on Cloud Computing. For the 2011 TEDxBoston conference, Werner and his team doubled capacity so that more people could experience this special event. With the help of friends at Google, Werner and his team introduced a Simulcast of the event at Google's offices in Cambridge, MA. Werner, also the Chief Mobilizing Officer and Managing Director at Citizen Schools, hopes to connect students at inner-city schools with TED events through Simulcast technology. He is also part of the TED ED braintrust helping to form connections between TED and K-12 education. Additionally, John nominates and supports TED Fellows, individuals with innovative ideas in the middle of their careers work to fulfill their research or performance goals with TED's help.
John Werner has been working to make learning a crucial part of every citizen's life, locally and globally. "Hamilton College did not limit learning to the classroom," Werner said. This philosophy parallels Werner's philosophy that TED should not be limited to a select audience, but should be available for everyone around the globe. At Hamilton, Werner became particularly interested in the history of the College and he spent extensive time in the Burke Library Archives researching individual buildings and learning about Hamilton architecture and history. This knowledge allowed him to give historical tours on the weekends. Werner claims that, "no two talks were ever exactly the same." His tours changed in correlation with the audience's interests. His historical tours were similar to the current TED talks, acting as catalysts for new ideas. Hamilton College instills a love of learning as a central part of each student's experience and clearly his own love of learning is a key motivator for John Werner.