I love a TED talk or a TEDx video as much as the next person. These videos that capture the speeches given at the annual TED conferences in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, feature some of the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers. Each speaker is challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).

But time is short, and often I don’t need more, I need less. Sometimes even that 18 minute talk is a luxury that I struggle to squeeze into my day. As Clay Shirky suggests, what we often experience is not a glut of information but a failure to filter the information in a relevant way. And often that means that even the best TED talks receive short shrift.

But perhaps more than this need to zero-in on the essential elements, I find that I am increasingly interested in not just the hero story – the path to success, the riches achieved or the way it was done – but in the personal story that is the back story of the hero. I want to know the person behind the mask. After all, every great success costs us something as does every great failure.

This is where Vibewire’s fastBREAK innovation series breaks much needed ground.

On the last Friday of every month, Vibewire in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum, showcases five young innovators in five minute long talks (notice how quick they are?). The focus is on the personal journey that these pioneers have undertaken. Sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking. And sometimes it takes your breath away. But it is ALWAYS inspiring.

Just take a look at these two talks and you’ll see what I mean – one from Leanne Townsend, CEO of the NSW Reconciliation Council and Courtney Tight, Media and Marketing Coordinator of the Young UN Women Australia Sydney Committee.

fastBREAK is a core component of Vibewire’s charter – to ensure that young people are included (and able to participate) in conversations that matter – at local, state, national and even global levels. The events are produced by a team of young volunteers. The speakers are carefully selected and coached. The themes are brainstormed and promoted. And each quarter the stories are gathered and published as an anthology.

As the chair of the Vibewire Board, I am proud of the quality and the consistency of these events – and the hard work of Annie Le Cavalier and Hala Hubraq and her team. But the most exciting part of these events is seeing some of the Vibewire interns, volunteers and workspace residents step out of the audience to share their own stories.

So now, tell me, have you had the chance to come along to a fastBREAK event? What did you think?