WKU Honors College Scholars at IdeaFestival 2014 in Louisville: An Eclectic Network of Global Thinkers & Innovators, A Celebration for the Intellectually Curious

IdeaFestival: Stay Curious

The motto and approach of IdeaFestival is very similar to Honors education understood as transdisciplinary and transformative global education that cultivates global competence.

I am therefore very excited to attend IdeaFestival this week in Louisville with Brad Cockrel (Mechanical Engineering & Philosophy ’16), Loren Gross (Agriculture ’15), Gina Hatchett (Intl Business & Business Economics ’17), and Abby Kohake (Performing Arts ’16).

The speakers and events are very impressive and I am sure we will all benefit greatly from them for our own projects. As time permits, we will reflect on our experience on this blog.

Update, Wed, Oct 1, 2014, 9am, Opening of 12th IdeaFestival

The purpose of IF is to create ‘disruptive space,’ i.e. set the conditions that increase the probability of creativity and innovation, since reality is ‘fundamentally unpredictable.’ (Kris Kimel, founder of IF)

Key ideas

  • creativity
  • innovation
  • positive attitude
  • entrepreneurism
  • global

Follow IF on twitter at #IF.

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2 Responses to WKU Honors College Scholars at IdeaFestival 2014 in Louisville: An Eclectic Network of Global Thinkers & Innovators, A Celebration for the Intellectually Curious

  1. Gina Hatchett says:

    Where to begin… is always the ultimate question. My name is Gina Hatchett and I was one of the CPE IF Scholars who had the unique opportunity to spend my fall break in Louisville at the Idea Festival. Going in, I had no idea what the Idea Festival really was and was not sure what to expect. All I knew was that I needed to go in open-minded, which is exactly what I did and I am so grateful for it. The major lesson I took away was that arts and music ARE important. As an International Business and Economics double major, I have never really had a real interest (talent) in the art and music world. When issues like cutting educational spending on arts and music were brought up, I was not necessarily moved. However, this past week, I was introduced to true geniuses, many of whom had devoted their lives to pursuing art and music. But, they were using their talents in more ways than just painting beautiful portraits. Instead, they were devoting their abilities to community endeavors. They were using their talents to make a difference in their communities, cities, and in turn, the world. Their projects were truly amazing. From Sam Van Aken grafting a 40 variety fruit tree to Juan William Chávez working to a turn an urban forest into a bee sanctuary, the ideas and possibilities were endless.

    So often, especially as Honors students, we are encouraged to pursue the “money-making” majors and career paths. But, in the process, we leave out creatively innovative minds who are incredibly intelligent in their own fields. I learned that I need to see the importance of what all people do and remember that we can all bring something very unique and important to our communities.

    Thanks again to the CPE and Honors College for this opportunity and sponsoring me to attend this festival. It has definitely encouraged me to “Stay Curious”.

  2. Abigail Kohake says:

    I’m Abby Kohake, a junior and a B.F.A. musical theatre student. I had previously attended the Idea Festival in Bowling Green, where local innovators spoke about their work in town. IF in Louisville, held at the Kentucky Center, was even bigger, with four days of speakers and events. I had the opportunity to hear Wynton Marsalis speak at the festival after attending a wonderful concert the previous night at WKU as a part of the Cultural Enhancement Series. Marsalis’ Q&A session was the perfect companion to his concert, and he shared that his first trumpet teacher told him he was hopeless. The biggest piece of advice I took from his was “don’t fall back on nothing” because then you’ll have to keep moving forward. He has a smooth, lyrical voice; much like his incredible jazz and his humility is inspiring. Although he mostly spoke about his life as a musician, he coupled his jazz with greater thoughts about society and used this to connect with the entire audience, whether musical or not.
    At IF, even the difficult topics were very approachable. An acclaimed neurobiologist and mathematician duo led a what-if zombie apocalypse seminar, using the TV show “The Walking Dead” to mathematically show how disease spreads, and the best reaction in a zombie apocalypse, ultimately relating it to Ebola and other present day epidemics.
    I especially enjoyed the ‘Artists on the Edge” session, which brought 5 artists who are re-imagining their field. My personal favorite was an Iranian-Guatemalan chef who combines his love of theatre and food to raise awareness about Type 2 diabetes. The examples are endless. I had the opportunity to rub elbows with the IF presenters at several networking events, and I spoke one-on-one with some of my favorite speakers, which was very exciting.
    Philosophers, mathematicians, economists, radio broadcasters, artists, psychologists, authors, and scientists encompassed the range of speakers, which I had the opportunity to hear over the course of three days. They are top innovators in their field, and encouraged festival participants to “eat life with a big spoon,” and above all, keep re-imagining and inventing. Although many of the IF speakers have achieved fame or recognition, it was humbling to be reminded that their path to success wasn’t a straight line, and that failure is only failure if you accept defeat.

    I’ve compiled a list of some books by IF authors that are on my reading list:
    Time Warped Claudia Hammond
    Moral Tribes Joshua Green
    Average is Over Tyler Cowen
    Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea Charles Seife
    Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions Girg Gigerenzer
    The Substance of Style Virginia Postrel

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