TED@UPS: What if Emojis are the Next Evolution of Cryptography?

Emojis aren't just an alternate form of expression. They make language more accessible.

Jenna Schilstra grew up in a country divided between two languages: Dutch- and French-speaking Belgium. With her international experience, Jenna wonders if emojis could be the new global language.

 Learn more by watching Jenna’s TED@UPS 2016 talk below, and then check out our conversation with Jenna about her experience as a TED speaker. 

Q. What was the most enlightening surprise from the TED@UPS experience and why?

The most enlightening surprise from the TED@UPS experience is how dramatically my talk evolved over the months I worked on it.

Whether you come in with a fully developed draft and idea or a bare bones concept, you will work with your coach to research, develop, question, evolve, cut and shift your talk to the point of it being nearly unrecognizable from its original form – and all for the better!

The process works incredibly well, and the TED team is full of creative and talented experts who are there to help push you and get the most out of you and your talk.

This was an involving process, but it made the talk itself even more rewarding.

Q. What do you hope people take from your talk?

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There are many skeptics of emojis and of the Millennials who claim them as their language.

I hope people can look at this seemingly silly topic from a new perspective and use what they’ve learned about emojis in their own lives.

I hope parents can better relate to their children, teachers can better educate their students and people around the world can better communicate with each other.

I understood early on in the process that there are many skeptics of emojis and of the Millennials who claim them as their language.

I have had many emoji skeptics tell me, “Wow! I see emojis differently now and would have never thought there would be value in something as simple as smiley faces and vegetable icons.”

I hope viewers take that sense of open-mindedness with them and continue to embrace the potential in the seemingly silly.

Q. How did giving a TED@UPS talk inspire you?

I was deeply inspired by the other TED speakers and the TED team as people.

The ideas that they brought to the stage, the incredible amount of work that they put in and the way they put pieces of themselves in every word, slide and movement, showed me what incredible people we have across the UPS organization and what wonderful partners we have in the TED team.

It solidified my belief that an organization will get the most out of its people when individuals can put a piece of themselves in the work that they do.

Whether it be a lesson learned in childhood, a fun hobby, an invention that would make their lives easier or a world event that changed their perspective, people bring far more to work than just their skills. TED was a beautiful example of how people, ideas and business all come together to inspire ideas worth spreading.

Q. What encouragement would you give people thinking about giving a TED@UPS talk in the future?  

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The best way to prepare an idea is to constantly challenge yourself to think of things in new ways.

This is an experience you won’t get anywhere else.

While it requires a lot of dedication, time and emotional investment, the feeling of accomplishment, the opportunity to spread your ideas and the chance to meet some of the most creative and innovative people at UPS is absolutely worth it.

The best way to prepare an idea is to constantly challenge yourself to think of things in new ways.

You walk through life every day with a unique perspective. Inspiration can come from anywhere. goldbrown2

Click here for Jenna’s bio.


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Jenna Schilstra is a Customer Technology Manager at UPS.

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