We are very pleased to announce the return of Spark Ideas to IBM Connect 2014 for what is our 4th year. If you’ve never seen one of our Sparks session the idea is that anyone can speak for up to 6 minutes on something that inspires them or drives them or makes them curious – anything really. The only limitations are the time and a single slide.

We have run Sparks sessions at user groups around the world in the past three years and many of them can be seen on our Vimeo channel

This year our session at IBM Connect is on Tuesday at 11.15 in Swan Mockingbird 1&2 – we have some great speakers and topics lined up so I hope you can join us , show them some support and get some inspiration or even enlightenment yourself

Get your motor running – Head out on the highway – Looking for adventure – And whatever comes our way
(Debora Cole)

If you asked me at age 18, did I see myself riding my own motorcycle, the answer was probably no. I liked riding as a passenger, but those bikes were, and still are, big and powerful. Fast forward to 2006. Everything changed.

Fighting For Rural Internet (Bill Buchan)
Bill Buchan – the short round Scotsman- talks about fighting for decent rural broadband. On a 7 year fight with the monopoly supplier here in the UK, and how finally he was able to deliver decent broadband for his community by doing it by himself.

Living without walls: How some goats, an orphan and a very long cup of tea changed my life (Colleen Burns)
As part of the IBM Corporate Service Corps I spent a month in Arusha, Tanzania working with the African Wildlife Foundation. Bright eyed and eager I set out to change Arusha, but instead Arusha changed me. It has taken a few years of reflection to fully appreciate the lessons I learned, and recognize the impact it has had on my life.

Meet my 3 Friends Pain, Suffering and Sacrifice (Gaby Spaszewski)
There is a famous quote from the nowadays rather infamous Mr. Lance Armstrong. He said: ‘I once met three guys named Pain, Suffering and Sacrifice. Now we’re inseparable. We’re best friends.’ Join me as I tell the story of how these 3 guys became my best friends for a year, moving into my flat and helping me to fulfil the dream of a lifetime while gathering a small fan base along the way.

Introverts in the wild (Tim Davis)
You may be surprised to find out what being an introvert really means, Tim was and finding that out helped him deal with being an introvert married into a family of extroverts, and about the problems introverts face in a world that works against them.

Operation Pencil Box (Norman Cox)
From Feb 2004 to Feb 2005, my National Guard unit found itself assigned to FOB Speicher, just north of Tikrit Iraq. While there, we performed Operation Pencil Box. After doing our military jobs, in our “spare time” we adopted 9 schools. What started out as a few emails to family and friends requesting school supplies, spread across the U.S.

One Stupid Thing, Every Day (Julian Robichaux)
Dealing with the fact that we make mistakes and do stupid things. Or at least, I do stupid things. I didn’t mean to say that you do. I wasn’t being judgmental. I’m sorry if you took it that way. Hey, can I start over…?

Bicycles & Community (Jamie Magee)
Jamie shared how he helped to create a community bicycle shop to foster education, empowerment, and sustainability.

Is love enough? The passion to help children find a home for good (Stuart McIntyre)
Parents to two boys and two girls (currently 9-16 years old), home educators and business owners, surely life is chaotic enough already? Why would we want to throw open our doors to other children (and their birth parents), let alone those with possible addiction, behaviour or other issues? Hear why Stuart and his family entered the exhausting approval process, why way more than just love is required, how fostering is working so far and why it might just be something for your family to consider!