Part of a presentation on new materials for a car design, by Li Yizhou/Photo provided by Li Yizhou

What is considered conventional and what is not? TEDxBeijing 2012 tried to question the concept of “convention” by holding an event with unconventional talents this past Saturday.

The event took place at Garage Café in Zhongguancun, the city’s technology and science hub.

TED is an American non-profit organization that stands for technology, entertainment and design. It’s famous for its series of Web-broadcast talks.

Local TED lovers independently try to recreate the TED talks by working with communities, organizations and individuals here.

Participants at TEDxBeijing/Photos provided by TEDxBeijing

Participants at TEDxBeijing/Photos provided by TEDxBeijing

There were six speakers on Saturday. Zhou Lei, Li Yizhou, Gu Sen and Guo Yukuan talked about innovation and creativity in the Internet age. Liu Hainan and Shao Yibei spoke about the cultural aspects of creativity.

“The core of the social network is not information, as most of people think, but the information’s receivers,” said Zhou, founder of the social website Liurenxing, aimed at office workers. “The object of communication determines the content for dissemination.”

Talking about the next generation of the social network, Zhou said sharing was more important than privacy. He will release a mobile social networking application for sharing photos and activities among neighbors. He said neighbors can really change people’s lives because they’re the people who are always by your side.

Social networking isn’t just a way for people to communicate, but also a way for scholars to research. For Gu, a student majoring in applied linguistics at Peking University and the unconventional author of the popular mathematics blog Matrix67, social networks are valuable platforms for behavioral research.

Gu shared some of his findings, such as the fact that the frequency of certain words used between men and women are different, reflecting gender differences. His research has been published in Programmer magazine.

Guo Yukuan talking about his idea of open platforms

Guo Yukuan talking about his idea of open platforms

“The success of social networks is based on the openness of the platform,” said Guo Yukuan, senior media professional. “Actually, a lot of enterprises’ success also lies in how they operate such a platform.”

Li, a designer at the Design Strategy Prototype Innovation Institute of Tsinghua University, has designed websites for several companies. Understanding the barriers between enterprises and designers, he focuses on fostering communication and getting people to learn more about digital resources.

“Enterprises should let designers in on the entire process, from manufacture to sales,” Li said.

Shao Yibei, an indie singer, performs at TEDx event

Shao Yibei, an indie singer, performs at TEDx event

Liu spoke about his life in art.

“I found that making documentaries wasn’t about just using technology and focusing on society,” said Liu, who began making documentaries about Chinese students studying in the US in 2010. “It should also be poetic, because every moment recorded is history.”

There were 150 participants from all fields. During tea break, they mingled with the speakers to discuss further.

“This was a good chance for me to learn what I can’t learn from school,” said a Tsinghua student who attended. “Everyone here is from different industries, and can give me different points of view.”

Liu Xiaochen

About Liu Xiaochen

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Liu Xiaochen is a typical Beijing girl who loves travel, shopping and popular health.

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