We’ve learnt how to live with robots, heard about one man’s quest to build a dinosaur from a chicken, and seen people use bionic limbs for the first time – all on our commute to work. TED has built up over 2,400 talks on the wonders and innovations of our world, and beyond – from ecosystems in the deepest parts of our oceans to galaxies that are an unfathomable distance away. We take a look at the TED talks that are too good not to share.
1. Kristian Labak, Creative Director
Bobby McFerrin: Watch Me Play…The Audience!
Neuroscience fascinates me, and I often find interesting parallels in everything from my design work to my relationship with my kids. This is a little excerpt from Bobby Mcferrin (of ‘don’t worry be happy’ fame) showing in the simplest way, how our brains are wired to quickly pre-empt and make logical assumptions without being given the complete picture.
2. Jane MacDowell, Creative Partner
Robert Waldinger: What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness
What makes a successful life?
To some it will be to have gained that ultimate promotion. To others it will be the amount of zeros in their bank account or reaching that ultimate academic status. Whilst others it’s to get married and have kids.
While all of these are important, there is a stronger need for humans that is the driving force behind whether we are happy or whether we are sad.
All of our behaviors circle around 6 fundamental human needs; Certainty, Variety, Significance, Love and Connection, Growth and Contribution.
A lot of people think that fulfilling their need for ‘Significance’ will make them look back on their life and be able to tick the ‘success’ box. Well, the news is, it won’t.
Harvard’s research found within this TED talk proves that the secret to a healthy, happy & successful life is through the simple act of love and contribution.
So put your striving down, love yourself, love others and contribute beyond just yourself.
The rest will come.
3. Kirsten Murray, Senior Designer
Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?
It’s no surprise that Ken Robinson’s talk, ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ is one of the most popular TED talks of all time. It’s a masterclass in public speaking and a subject matter than resonates with anyone who has a creative bone in their body. It’s striking to think that his case for radically changing the education system, to nurture creativity, was made a decade ago. Yet, there hasn’t been a whole lot of change to the archaic hierarchy of school subjects – with art, drama, and dance still given a secondary status to mathematics and languages. If we’re going to educate children to solve the unpredictable problems of the future, we need to place greater value on creativity in schools.
4. Craig Hall, Managing Director
Simon Sinek: How Great leaders Inspire Action
Confession: I studied a science at uni first time round (Biochemistry to be precise)… so the root of Simon Sinek ’s proposal being based in the tenants of biology (not pyschology) immediately struck a chord. I smile admiringly inside when I see an obviously large volume of research and thought being distilled down to a simple model.
5. Stephanie Mathena, Designer
Roman Mars: Why city flags may the worst designed thing you’ve never noticed.
While flag design is never something I considered myself particularly interest in, the principles Mars discusses can undeniably be applied to most forms of design. His talk is engaging and comprehensive – a great one for those looking to better understand the basics of good design.
6. Andy Hegarty, Senior Editor
Paul Reed Smith: Building the Perfect Guitar
Paul is a bit of a hero to me and he creates outstanding guitars. He is one of very few people who have entered the guitar market since the 60’s and have managed to make a global success out of his company and instruments.
In this video he talks about his thinking with regard to continual improvement of each of the components, and how important each component is. He talks about the guitar as a subtractive instrument, that by adding components, you aren’t adding tone you’re subtracting it, and that good components subtract less than bad ones. It’s quite a departure from traditional thinking and one that made me reassess my own ideas.
7. Kathryn Summers, Designer
Stefan Sagmeister: The power of time off
Taking a year long sabbatical every seven years may not be feasible for the average designer, but Stefan Sagmeister’s insights can be applied to the importance of down time in general. In this talk he shares some fun and interesting projects from his time in Bali. Whether through travel or trying something new, we could all find some time to expand our creative outlook and ensure our work does not become stale. Many famous ideas and inventions were born from a ‘lightbulb moment’ often whilst doing something else – sitting on a train, listening to music, or in the shower. His talk reminds me to shutdown my mac and take time for creative play.
8. Howie Birch, Account Executive
Layne Beachley: The Power of Self-Belief
Having always been a keen player and watcher of sport, I’ve always had an active interest in the impact of the psychological/mental side. Layne Beachley discusses how in life, your beliefs determine your actions – and thus the importance of defining a personal vision and focusing on this to achieve success. She gives a fascinating insight into her journey/challenges faced to become a 6 times world surfing champion and then draws parallels as to how these can be applied to your everyday life to maximise fulfilment.
9. Andy Jamieson, Designer
Aaron Draplin: Making it in the little leagues
Aaron Draplin is the designer behind Draplin Design Company and Field Notes. He’s a big man with even taller tales. His story of where he is today is an encouraging one. Do the things you want to do and if you can put enough passion into them there will be a net gain in your life, whether it’s happiness or money. Even if you’re not a designer, Aaron’s outlook, passion and wit are a reason to watch alone.
10. Steve Christie, Agency Development Director
Rodney Mullen: Pop an Ollie and Innovate!
I have a confession: I used to be a HUGE skateboarder when I was younger and Rodney Mullen was a superhero to me. Considered the grandfather of street skating, he was so far ahead of every other skater in the world 25 years ago and doing tricks that absolutely blew my young mind! As well as being able to watch some really cool old school skating, his talk to TED X USC (somewhere he kept getting thrown out of for skating!), using skating as the example, looks at how your physical environment can have a direct influence on how you develop and evolve your skills. He was the personification of what most people thought skaters were back in the day…quiet, reserved, shy, sullen and weird and so he also talks about how skateboarding brought him and others, who were considered loners and outcasts, together and gave them a way of expressing their individuality.
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