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"Yes! And...": What to Expect at the Upcoming TedxPuxi Talk

Tedx is back. Here is a sneak preview and a quick chat with three speakers


Slated for November 3, at the Shanghai Centre Theatre, TEDxPuxi will feature eight speakers sharing their insights, stories and experiences. This time, the theme riffs off of a time-honored dictum of the improvisational comedy world: "Yes! And…" The idea is to probe the creation of positive energy resulting in stronger relationships and increased possibilities. This principle is applicable to any number of situations in life, from leadership to creativity to advocacy for the prevention of domestic violence and child abuse, all of which will be discussed.  We caught up with three of the speakers to get a preview of what's in store. 


Fiona Douglas, Advocate for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence 


City Weekend: What initially attracted you to talk in the upcoming TEDxPuxi event?

Fiona Douglas: I was initially contacted by a member of the TEDxPuxi committee who had seen me present at a panel discussion on the topic of domestic violence. She suggested that I was someone with an "idea worth spreading" and encouraged me to apply. Honored by this encouragement, I delved into research on the principles and processes underpinning TED talks. I have been a fan of TED talks for a long time, but had never quite grasped the secret to their success: authenticity, hope and some serious preparation work. I suddenly began to hunger for this opportunity to contribute an idea that I believe matters, while challenging myself to be as honest, vulnerable and prepared as possible. This is my chance to spread a message of hope and human progress, a chance worth grabbing with both hands. 


CW: What do you think about the theme of this year?

FD: The theme "Yes! And…" has roots in the improvisation community, which seeks for us to tune into and express our most natural ideas and movements. In short, it represents having an open heart and open mind, whether you are a speaker or member of the audience. Saying "Yes" is not a value statement. You are not necessarily agreeing with the idea being put forward. It is a compassionate reassurance that "Yes, I hear you, and your version of reality." When this is your starting point, you can connect and collaborate with anyone, even those with a vastly different or opposing construction of reality. 

That’s where the "And…" comes in. By truly hearing and acknowledging someone else’s idea, you create a genuine opportunity to open up meaningful dialogue, and contribute your own ideas to expand on the one put forward. This is how we overcome differences in thinking that divide us, and this is how we work together to build ideas worth actioning. In a social-political climate of deep division that is spreading across much of the developed world, this type of real communication matters more than ever. 


CW: What’s your China story and how has it shaped you into the person you are today? 

FD: My childhood sweetheart, Ali, moved to Shanghai over nine years ago while I was at University, and our career paths took us in different directions for a few years.  During that time apart, the invisible thread that binds us pulled us evermore in the direction of one another, until one day three years ago, I hopped on a plane to Shanghai and never looked back. It was the best decision I ever made, as it taught me that there are deep, humanistic rewards for following your heart, and taking a risk. I thought that moving to China was career suicide – as a child protection Social Worker from the UK, with no Mandarin proficiency, I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to employ me. Luckily I was wrong – I now run a children’s therapy and intervention service, and have been overwhelmed by the number of professional and volunteer opportunities made available to me. I believe that if you allow yourself to keep being driven by ideas bigger than you, others will take notice and opportunities will come your way. For me, that bigger idea is the prevention of the abuse and neglect of children, and my China experience has given me a stronger sense of conviction that I can, and will, make this my lifelong passion. 



Ting Ting Fang, Co-founder, Heyshop

CW: Do you think that a “Yes! And...” approach is especially relevant when it comes to living in Shanghai? 

TT: Definitely yes! Shanghai has all kinds of possibilities! You don’t necessarily have to try everything and join all the activities that are happening in town, but Shanghai is a city for those who dare, and those who have an indulgent heart. It’s never easy to keep up the pace here, even for a Shanghainese like myself. I am still on the journey of learning to be less intimidated, to identify the long lasting moments from those fleeting, and to navigate through this kaleidoscope-like city

CW: Is this an approach that you commonly adopt in your life? Why? 

TT: I do mostly say "yes" to a lot of things, sometimes too much.  Now I am learning to dial it down, to be more selective and keep my energy focused on one thing at a time so that I can sail a long way than carried away by my ever-present adventurous personality!

I think this is also where the “and” comes in, that there can be many great things to draw your interests, however how to be able to breathe in the excitement, to contemplate the subject within your own context and experiences and later to decide whether to open a new chapter is the next challenging but rewarding phase or process.



Jasmine Huang, Founder, ZH Communications


CW: What initially attracted you to talk in the upcoming TedxPuxi event?

JH: We all know that TED is a great platform for people to share their new ideas and leading thoughts. It’s always an honour to have this opportunity to give a talk here. Besides I think that more and more Chinese people should share useful Chinese wisdom to inspire leadership. I would like to share my personal story to encourage people to appreciate our Chinese wisdom, which I think is more relevant to young people here. 


CW: Do you think that a “Yes! And...” approach is especially relevant when it comes to living in Shanghai?

JH: Shanghai is a very multicultural city and many young people are struggling to find their own path to their dream lives, careers and their true selves. Yes is definitely a good approach to embrace what you have been given, and to adapt to change.



What: TEDXPuxi presents: 'Yes! And...'
When: November 3
Address: Shanghai Center Theater,  4/F, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, 南京西路1376号4楼
Time: 1-6pm
How much: RMB400

Scan the QR code to get your tickets now!


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