From capsicum farming to countering terrorism: Latest TEDx speaker

Social innovation offers a new way to approach old problems

CQU Associate Professor Olav Muurlink will be a speaker at TEDx Bundaberg, he is picture here third from the right, in Bangladeshi where heads non-profit organisation.
CQU Associate Professor Olav Muurlink will be a speaker at TEDx Bundaberg. He is pictured here in Bangladesh where heads a non-profit organisation.

CQU Associate Professor Olav Muurlink will explore social innovation when he takes to the stage at TEDx Bundaberg to share his ideas with the audience and across the globe.

Dr Muurlink said global problems such as hunger, unemployment and climate change were often overwhelming,not just because of their scale, but also because they seem so resistant to change.

“Single problems like smoking can end up costing as much as five percent of the GDP of some nations,” Dr Muurlink said.

“And billions of dollars only make tiny dents, if at all, on the problem.”

Olav Muurlink explains social innovation

Social innovations are new social practices that aim to meet community needs in a better way than the existing solutions.

“I will be taking one of the world’s most ‘wicked problems’, terrorism, and showing how things are not quite what they seem,” Dr Muurlink said.

“Our natural reaction to terror is part of what makes terror grow.”

Dr Muurlink said he would talk about possible ways to solve this issue and other “old problems”.   

“The solution may not be to throw more money at the problem but less,” he said.

As a social psychologist Dr Muurlink will bring his academic work and eclectic history miles away from his current role as associate professor in social innovation.

Olav Muurlink will be one of Bundaberg's TedX speakers in September.
Olav Muurlink will be one of Bundaberg's TedX speakers in September.

His experiences include being a capsicum farmer, newspaper and radio entrepreneur and more recently head of a large Bangladeshi non-profit organisation.

Strong connection to Bundaberg

Bundaberg will be one of the only regional cities in Australia to host a TEDx event.

Dr Muurlink said his father was an engineer at the Bundaberg sugar mill and his brother was also born here.

“My dad was a mechanical design engineer, and travelled with his family throughout Australia in pursuit of work in the 1960s, landing in Bundaberg to work at the sugar mill in 1963,” Dr Muulink said.

“I grew up in country Queensland and bring an unconventional perspective to academia, drawn from a history in country newspapers, farming and manufacturing, rather than a traditional route through school and university.”

More speakers at TEDx Bundaberg

TEDx is an ideas factory. It's a global program brought to life by thousands of individuals all over the world.

Representatives from several organisations, led by CQUniversity, have been working towards securing an official TEDx event.

This is scheduled to take place on Friday, 20 September 2019 at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre.

Along with Olav Muurlink, several other speakers have been announced including:

  • Morgahna Godwin: Founder of Manage Endo a data-driven app to manage endometriosis.
  • Nic Ryan: A 2018 Global LinkedIn Top Voice for Data Science and a leader in the field. He loves to share his enthusiasm and regularly offers guidance and mentoring to individuals and teams on practical data science all over the world.
  • Yvette Adams: A serial entrepreneur and a multi-award winning business woman including ICT Woman of the Year at The iAwards in 2013, and the Commonwealth Bank business owner category at the Telstra Business Womens in Queensland in 2010.
  • James Smith: PT and online fitness business owner. The controversial trainer whose approach to fitness has disrupted a billion-dollar industry, much to the chagrin of some of the world’s biggest weight loss brands.
  • Ruben Meerman: Better known to Aussie kids as the Surfing Scientist. He performed experiments on ABC Australia television programs for more than a decade and was the first ever resident scientist on Play School. He's research has been published in the British Medical Journal and he is the author of Big Fat Myths.
  • Mat Grills: Born and bred in Bundaberg, he is known as the tattoo runner for his distinctive body art. With a varied career including stints in the music industry and Queensland Police Service before opening his cafe, The Journey Bargara, in late 2016 after overcoming brain surgery for a tumour in 2009.