Summer Guide: Ignite OKC is like speed dating with innovators, creators 

click to enlarge 2015 Ignite OKC 124 - Lorenzo Banks - "The Days and Times of Being a Superhero"    Photos by Traina Photography - TRAINA            PHOTOGRAPHY
  • 2015 Ignite OKC 124 - Lorenzo Banks - "The Days and Times of Being a Superhero" Photos by Traina Photography

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Lecturing events are a needed part of community discourse. Yet, as many can agree, lectures and panel discussions can sometimes drag on. Ignite OKC, however, takes a different approach. An event featuring networking, dining and lecturers who share five-minute presentations, Ignite OKC opens 6 p.m. May 25 at Lyric at the Plaza, 1727 NW 16th St. Lectures begin at 7 p.m.

“We bring people together from the community to share about any idea that they may have,” said Regina Banks, Ignite OKC board chairwoman. “It’s an opportunity for people to share their ideas about innovation, creation, collaboration and community in a unique venue.”

Ignite OKC is part of the international Ignite organization originally founded by Burning Man promoter Brady Forrest more than 10 years ago. The Oklahoma City branch launched in 2009. Ignite events have been held in far-reaching locales from Helsinki, Finland, to Tunisia and over 350 other locations in between.

While presenters have five minutes, their Power Point slides change at 15-second intervals, “whether you’re ready for it or not,” Banks said.

“You need to be able to simplify things and explain it to people, something that is ‘snackable,’ so to speak,” Banks said. “Your ideas are more apt to take off when they’re easy to understand. If you can explain something in five minutes, you are really speaking to everyone in that amount of time.”

Topics can range from community issues to the arts and sciences, technology or other subjects. Rules on presenting include avoiding areas such as religion, politics or business pitches. Last year’s Ignite OKC topics included The Power of the Semicolon; How Oklahoma City is Turning the Tables on Hunger; The Days and Times of Being a Superhero; Yo Mamma, Spankings and Eighth Place Trophies; and The Quest for Enough.

“The audience gets a chance to hear about different ideas that people are considering on how to make the community better,” Banks said. “It’s also a good opportunity to network. Even though you can’t do business pitches, it tends to draw a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners, innovators, creators and artists of all sorts.”

While an emcee moves the program along, there is no question-and-answer discussion after a speech. Instead, guests visit with speakers at the end of the evening. At press time, Ignite OKC has 12 confirmed speakers.

This year marks the 10th OKC presentation. The organization now holds the event annually. Throughout the year, roundtable discussions include question-and-answer feedback with past speakers. Happy hour events are also a part of Ignite OKC’s social calendar.

“The purpose of it is to ignite change in the community,” Banks said. “People change when they talk and converse.”

Banks credits Ignite OKC for the development of new nonprofits and businesses since its inception.

“If you are passionate about Oklahoma City and how Oklahoma City can keep growing, Ignite OKC will put you at the cusp of everything that’s going on,” Banks said.


Ignite OKC

6-9 p.m. May 25

Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma

1727 NW 16th St.


Print headline: Lightning rounds, Ignite OKC is a little like speed dating with international innovators, creators and collaborators.

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