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NORMAL — With a name like “Normal” and a community with a variety of interesting people, organizers think the town is the perfect location for a TEDx event.

TEDx is an offshoot of TED Talks, which started in 1984 with a conference on technology, entertainment and design and has become a way “to make great ideas accessible and spark conversations."

Doan Winkel has received a license from TED to host a TEDx event in Normal on Nov. 7. Now he is looking for volunteers to help organize it. Winkel is an associate professor of entrepreneurship at Illinois State University, but TEDx is not a university event.

He described TED Talks as “people sharing innovative thinking about issues and engaging in dialogue.”

A student group at Heartland Community College staged a TEDx gathering last April.

“The TEDx Normal event will be anything goes,” said Winkel, who envisions a mix of national and local speakers.

About a dozen speakers will talk for no more than 8 minutes each, he said. In between, there will be videos of previous TED Talks.

Winkel called TEDx Normal a “perfect play on the town's name” and said he wants to “put on some talks that are not going to be 'normal.'”

He also wants a location “that's not 'normal'” – in other words, not the Normal Theater or ISU's Bone Student Center.

Mayor Chris Koos thinks TEDx Normal is “a great idea” and a way to promote the community.

“There are dynamic people that they can bring in,” Koos said. “We have interesting people in this community.

He sees entrepreneurship and civic engagement as two likely topics for talks.

“I'm definitely going to be involved in it,” Koos said.

Winkel is seeking volunteers “to help out any way they can,” but particularly needs people with technical skills related to video, graphic design and websites.


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