By Kate Mudgett
Lansing Star staff writer
Ignite Lansing is meant to spark inspiration in the community. It brings together speakers from diverse backgrounds and experience and gives them each five minutes and 20 slides – that auto advance every 15 seconds – to say whatever they want. This year, 15 speakers have been chosen and have been gradually announced on the Ignite Lansing website.
Aspiring speakers submit their topic and are selected by the public, who vote online for the speakers. Previous topics have included: “Transforming the American High School for the Creative Economy,” “Need a Job? Cluck Like a Chicken,” and “How to Kick Ass and Chew Bubblegum.”
“The heat from the lights is on you, you can hear the people but you can’t see them, and you don’t have everyone’s undivided attention. Most people are carrying on and that can have a negative impact on you, but it is excitement and terror all at the same time,” says Scott Augustine, a speaker at this year’s event, remembering his previous experience on the Ignite Lansing 3 stage in March 2010. This year, Augustine is speaking about “Recovering from Epic Fail.”
Ignite Lansing is not only a series of speeches, but also a networking opportunity. This is an event that brings together a who’s who of Lansing.
“It is so top-shelf but underground at the same time. It attracts people with a cool energy,” said Augustine.
This year’s event takes place during Global Ignite Week, in which 75 cities all over the world will hold events. Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis developed the idea and lunched the first Ignite in Seattle, in 2006. Since then huge Ignite events have occurred on almost every continent.
Lansing was quick to jump on the Ignite idea; The first Ignite Lansing event occurred in April 2009 before even Los Angeles had its first Ignite event in July 2009.
“Lansing had embraced the concept of entrepreneurialism and change. We aren’t afraid of it; if anything, we feed on it,” said Ben Eysselinck, an Ignite Lansing 4 speaker. “Couple that entrepreneurial spirit with an embrace of technology and it is synergistic. It explodes and you get things like Lansing selling all of its tickets in four hours. People are excited.”
This year the event will be broadcast live by Lansing Community College TV and Arialink – check your local listings – and videos of speeches will posted on the Ignite Lansing website and YouTube channel.