At TEDxAmsterdam and TEDxMaastricht, small orange cards told unsuspecting attendees there was something waiting for them online. Whether that something was music lessons, homemade jam, a dinner for two, cooking classes, a sewing workshop, or something else completely depended on which fellow attendee had donated the gift. This initiative — TEDxAmsterdam and TEDxMaastricht’s Give Shop — celebrated community by inviting TEDx’ers to offer their talents, expertise, and resources to strangers at the event through cards connected to a custom-built website.
The project was an extension of a talk given by TEDxMaastricht speaker Jeroen Timmers, who is dedicated to building community through giving. At TEDxMaastricht and TEDxAmsterdam, his Amsterdam-based community group Giving is all We Have set up a booths that allowed attendees to offer gifts big and small to anonymous TEDx’ers.
Like TEDx itself, the project aimed to allow individuals to connect over the things for which they are passionate — whether that’s books, website design, or food. The Give Store handled distributing the gifts randomly — creating an online profile for each giver and gift — and attendees were tasked with making the gifts real after the event.
A video explainer of the project
At TEDxMaastricht, 400 gifts were given in total. People stood in line to give. “Many talents were given,” writes the Giving is all We Have team on their website, “something we specifically like, because talents connect humans’ passion, giving even more room for meaningful connections. Workshops, creative services, a couple of hours of undivided attention, a listening ear, drum lessons, a supporting actors’ role for a play, coaching, cooking lessons, horse riding experience, guided city tours, we had to breath properly not to keep all these wonderful gifts to ourselves.”
In the end, the project was extremely successful, and added an element of interaction between attendees that few will soon forget.