TEDxKazimierz – Richard Lucas, Organizer

In Collaborating, Curating, Producing by Mark Sylvester


The Hack: Tell the audience they have to behave differently.

Richard Lucas is a British businessman and social entrepreneur. He has lived in Krakow for more than half of his life, having grown up in Oxford. He has been involved with TEDx as a speaker, sponsor, and organizer, with TEDxKazimierz since 2015 and other TEDx events since 2010. Kazimierz is the Jewish district of Krakow and provides a fascinating cultural context to the TEDx event. Richard says that he curates Talks that focus on community building, offering ideas that are coming out of Kazimierz, for Kazimierz. Richard wrote extensively about community building on his blog, and I immediately shared it with our team, you may want to do the same. Richard's TEDxKrakow talk on organizing a global movement without funding, is an excellent treatise for those who are challenged with budgets.

Richard says that the reason he applied for a license was because he wanted this 90-year-old Soviet Gulag survivor -  Wojciech Narębski - to tell his story on the TEDxKazimierz stage. He says that he feels it is one of the more important things he's done in his life.

Richard's life is steeped in TED. He has attended Summit, Global, various workshops and met the TEDx team in Cape Town. One daughter is the licensee for a TEDx in Scotland, the other is helping at TEDxWarsawYouth, and his son is a magician who performs at TEDx events as well. 

Richard is deeply involved in the entrepreneurial community and promotes a modern renaissance of technology and innovation in Europe with Project Kazimierz. Having met him in person at TEDFest2018, I can attest to him having an abundance of energy, required for all the things he's involved in.

Richard believes that as a licensee you're gifted, free of choice, to work with one of the top brands in the world and that TEDx is a way of making the world a better place. I was taken with his philosophy of the user experience. "They arrive at a different world than they were expecting." This episode is rich with quotes, and you'll want to have a notebook handy to capture ideas for how you can make your event more engaging, and as Richard says, "Get it right from the start!"

For Richard, TEDx is a family affair. In the photo below we see his sister, Helen Lucas and ex-wife Anna Motylewska attended TEDxKazimierz 2016 - seen here with Helena enjoying Daniel's magic show during the break.

Get it right from the start."Richard Lucas, TEDxKazimierz Organizer

The Lightning Round

  • Tell us a bit about your background and your TEDx origin story.

    Richard is a speaker, sponsor and organizer of TEDx, having done his first event in 2015, but involved in TEDx since 2009.

  • How many TEDx events have you worked with or produced?

    TEDxWarsaw, many Polish TEDx events, TEDFest2017, TEDSummit in Banff, TED Global, organizer workshops and is deeply immersed in the TED Community. He's been involved since the early days in 2009 since meeting Ralph Talmond (TEDxWarsaw)

  • What makes your TEDx unique?

    His event is located in the Jewish district of Krakow, the former capital of Poland. He has an extensive point of view about building community at events (see the link to blog post with details above). Richard tells a story about finding ideas by walking into a precinct police station and ask them, "What's the most interesting thing happening in this community?"

  • What’s your Superpower?

    Collaborating. Producing and Curating

  • What was the biggest surprise while working on your event?

    (We hear this one a lot) the number of people still not aware of TED and TEDx. "Who's TED?" is a question he hears a lot.

  • Every event has its challenges, what was the biggest dragon you had to overcome?

    Ironically, the graphic symbol for the city of Krakow is a dragon. Richard said that after his 2017 event he experienced burnout, personally. He also says that finding team members is always a challenge and discovering a consistent stream of ideas.

  • What’s one piece of advice you have for veteran organizers? For first-timers?

    Focus on the User Experience. Think about how you set expectations right from the opening, the welcoming, priming the audience for what they are about to experience, and encourage people to talk to people they don't know.

  • Looking forward to your next event, what excites you the most?

    Downsizing a bit and doing more Salons. Their next event (as of this posting) is in June 2018.

  • What’s a TEDx event that you’d like to attend?

    TEDxSaoPaulo or in a village in the middle of nowhere or in a small school.

  • The show is called Hacking the Red Circle, so what's your best hack?

    Tell the audience that they have to behave differently.

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