By Public Affairs staff, U.S. Embassy Wellington.
This week Phil Sage, Senior Director of Design and Development at Hasbro, was in Wellington on an Embassy-sponsored visit to speak at TEDxWellington and meet some of Wellington’s tech and entrepreneurship community.
Phil’s TEDxWellington talk to a sellout audience of 1,000 (with a livestream audience of 5000, #1 trending on Twitter, New Zealand) focused on how traditional toys can grow and work in tandem with today’s digital world. He also discussed the important role of play, creativity, and innovation in business today.
Another U.S. speaker on the TEDxWellington lineup was Wellington-based Marine biologist, Melissa Márquez. Melissa spoke on the need for gender diversity within STEM and her work creating The Fins United Initiative – a shark, skate, ray and chimaera education and conservation program aiming to “unite fin lovers worldwide”.
A few days following the conference the Wellington City Council hosted a TEDxWellington reception for the conference organizers (including DK, the TEDxWellington license holder), sponsors, speakers, and volunteers. The Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, Demian Smith, spoke at the reception and thanked the Mayor, all the volunteers, organizers and speakers for an outstanding and inspiration 2017 TEDxWellington event.
Following the TEDxWellington conference, Phil had a jam packed day-and-a-half with some of Wellington’s leading creative innovators, entrepreneurs, and high school students. Phil gave talks to many of the local innovation hubs and startups (including Mahuki, Creative HQ, Bizdojo, ProjectRNZ); met with NZ VR/AR Association members, KiwiBank’s emerging young leaders and senior staff, the Wellington East Girls’ College toy unit, Sir Richard Taylor (Founder of Weta Workshop, responsible for Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies) Weta Workshop general manager, David Wilks, and independent entertainment production company, Puekeko Pictures, creative/production and management staff. Following the busy schedule, Phil was impressed with the diverse and talented entrepreneurial community in Wellington. He was particularly interested in collaborating further with many of the Wellington tech and content producers he met with.
All in all, a productive, inspiring few days with Phil Sage in Wellington, with many new connections made.