OVER the years, TED has become a true inspiration to me – always there to provide words of wisdom.

Having made our acquaintance some years ago, I now relish our annual rendezvous in the city of dreaming spires. Who is this inspirational entity, you might ask? Well, it’s actually no one person, but a worldwide network of thinkers, dreamers and believers all willing to share their specialist knowledge.

Established in 1984, this non-for-profit global phenomenon is dedicated to discussing the three emerging fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design, but has since expanded its themes to become a universal hub of intellectual curiosity. So, when the opportunity arose once again to experience a whole host of these now legendary talks first-hand, I just had to satisfy mine.

Independently organised by students from University of Oxford, TEDxOxford differs from other events in one major way. Instead of the one-day conference being exclusively for the leaders of today’s world, this sold-out audience consisting of students, staff and residents alike contains nearly 2,000 of the most passionate, engaging and innovative youths – the leaders of tomorrow’s world.

Hosted for the seventh consecutive year at George Street’s New Theatre, earlier this month, a dozen ground-breaking individuals, including a multi-award winning social entrepreneur, a civil rights activist and a trailblazing spoken word artist, each utilised TED’s innovative format of “18 minutes of inspiration” to enlighten us on a world of ideas worth spreading throughout Oxford – and beyond.

This unique gathering is all about exploring opportunities to spark conversation and if you take just one pearl of wisdom away, then it has fulfilled its remit.

Illuminated in the spotlight, their passion shone through the darkness of the auditorium, making my heart swell and leaving my mind well and truly blown.

You get the feeling that this ever-expanding community really is capable of anything.

MBA student Aparna Shrivastava shared her steps which everyone can take in order to mitigate the inherent biases in the world, Dr Wanda Wyporska highlighted her national campaign to reduce social inequality and business leader Riham Satti explored technology’s role in unleashing human potential.

Three sessions, 12 acclaimed speakers and a world of ideas – this intensely diverse and engaging programme encouraged us to “think again” about the human condition.

My favourite was Prof Barry Smith who challenged us to reconsider the role of smell in consciousness and (re)learn to trust our nose. Our most neglected of senses is actually one of the most useful for navigating the world around us – with the briefest of whiffs leading to all sorts of olfactory processing.

His witty and wise words neatly sum up the entire ethos of this enlightened exchange of ideas. And, while we may not have left with all the answers, I for one was certainly inspired to at least now ask the questions.

For details about next year’s conference and how you could get involved visit tedxoxford.co.uk.

In the meantime, if all this inspirational talk has left you hungry for even more, I know just the place for the incurably curious.

Held annually at Said Business School, Skoll World Forum gathers the globe’s most influential thought leaders to exchange ideas, solutions and information.

Taking place from April 10-13 –with speakers including former US President Jimmy Carter – it’s an ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

For all details visit skoll.org