Slow innovation: Ilya Avdeev & Nathaniel Stern at TEDxHarambee





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Published on Dec 20, 2013

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

TEDxHarambee - STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Music). Milwaukee's first TEDx event. May 9th 2013 in Harambee — a neighborhood with a rich and diverse history and a thriving arts and cultural center in Milwaukee.

How do we get from point A to point B, in the fastest way possible?

It seems this is the shape of almost every question we hear today. Answers are valued above all else, questions are a close second, and very little else matters. But innovation requires time, space, and a willingness to try and fail, with crazy and sometimes impossible ideas. Avdeev and Stern will talk about how to teach, model and facilitate innovation through practices that seem counterproductive, but almost always succeed: play a lot, move very slowly, and don't build anything until the very end.

Nathaniel Stern and Ilya Avdeev co-teach a class which brings together artists, designers, and various types of engineers and architects, in interdisciplinary student teams, who solve design, engineering, and health care problems posed by local industry partners. Along with Brian Thompson, they are also co-founders of the UWM Student Startup Challenge, where, over the course of one year, raw student ideas are turned into working prototypes, business models, and finally a homegrown startup. Nathaniel Stern is an artist, educator, writer and researcher committed to healthy ecosystems between creativity, business and production. Ilya Avdeev is a mechanical engineer, professor and technology innovation facilitator, passionate about art, design and creativity. Together, this artist who "speaks engineer" and engineer who "speaks art" are changing the ways universities approach collaboration, scholarship, and industry.

Nathaniel Stern is an artist and writer, Fulbright grantee and professor, interventionist and public citizen. He has produced and collaborated on projects ranging from ecological, participatory and online interventions, interactive, immersive and mixed reality environments, to prints, sculptures, videos, performances and hybrid forms. His book, Interactive Art and Embodiment: The Implicit Body as Performance, is due for release in May 2013, and his ongoing work in industry has helped launch dozens of new businesses, products and ideas. According to Chicago's Bad at Sports art podcast, Stern has "the most varied and strange bio of maybe anyone ever on the show," and South Africa's Live Out Loud magazine calls him a "prolific scholar" as well as artist, whose work is "quite possibly some of the most relevant around." Dubbed one of Milwaukee's "avant-garde" (Journal Sentinel), Stern has been called "an interesting and prolific fixture" (Artthrob.co.za) behind many "multimedia experiments" (Time.com), "accessible and abstract simultaneously" (Art and Electronic Media web site), someone "with starry, starry eyes" (Wired.com) who "makes an obscene amount of work in an obscene amount of ways" (Bad at Sports). According to Caleb A. Scharf at Scientific American, Stern's art is "tremendous fun" but also "fascinating" in how it is "investigating the possibilities of human interaction and art."

Ilya Avdeev has been an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UWM since July 2009. He earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA) in 2003. He received both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the St. Petersburg State Technical University (St. Petersburg, Russia) in 1997 and 1999, respectively. Before joining UWM, Dr. Avdeev was with ANSYS Inc. (Canonsburg, PA), where he played a key role in product development and testing of core mechanical products. He has also held an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering appointment at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Avdeev's research interests include new modeling techniques for solving complex multiphysics problems, reduced-order and real-time coupled-field simulations, numerical methods and various areas of design. He seeks to advance finite element method's applicability to emerging manufacturing, alternative energy and biomedical technologies.


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