Epic Recent TED Talks Post…

Lately at work I’ve been using TED talks as my background for working interspersed with music and podcasts. (I have a post about both of those brewing, with about a hundred other ideas…I’ll get there one day?) 

As always, TED talks are too good not to be shared and I always like seeing links from people to talks I want to listen to that I haven’t yet heard of. That said I’ve gone through a LOT of talks lately, so be warned that this post is rather epic.

I was thinking of trying to group them by similar topic… but I don’t know that I’ll do the best job of that also I tend to think inspiration, creativity and people doing cool stuff is its own category 😛 Even if they’re talking about different subjects.

Some of these I’m going to have more comments on than others. All of them were worthwhile listening, some of them I had more wordy/thinky reactions and some of them were just interesting and different to listen to and I haven’t got more to say about it just now.  

Bruce Aylward: How we’ll stop polio for good

I didn’t realise how devastating this disease still is, I actually thought it *had* been eradicated.

Shirin Neshat: Art in exile

This talk really did embody that statement ‘the personal is political’, the speaker’s journey through exile and artistic expression is engaging and I was particularly struck by this statement: “Every Iranian artist, in one form or another, is political. Politics have defined our lives.” I’m struck by my privilege because… that isn’t true for me in the way it is true for her and other Iranians, other people who live under very different circumstances than I do. This was a good and timely reminder of looking outside my own little bubble.

Daniel Temmet: Different ways of knowing

This was fascinating – I loved for a moment experiencing the world in a very different way. What I took from the talk overall is that there are a million different ways to see and perceive something – don’t limit that possibility, don’t make it reasonable.

Maya Beisar(s) and her cello(s)

This is technology, music and imagination put together beautifully. Remixing, it’s everywhere.

Steve Jobs: How to live before you die

I’ve never been a fan of Jobs’, but I did like this talk about how to move through the world and work out what you’d really like to be doing, and trying to find a way to do that.

Janet Echelman: Taking imagination seriously

This is one of my favourite recent talks. The artistic expression on a massive level makes my heart soar. If you’ve recently seen those amazing paper sculptures turning up in various places, you may well enjoy this talk. The speaker discusses how she really came to understand the value of imagination being an artist, beginning with a fishing net.

Honor Harger: A history of the universe in sound

The introduction to this talk mentions that we don’t know much about what the universe sounds like, which seems like a funny thing to say, but then getting to *listen* to space was amazing.

Rajesh Rao: A Rosetta Stone for the Indus script

The infectious fascination this speaker has for this particular mystery of history – what he calls the “mother of all crossword puzzles”. I’d never heard of anything around the Indus script or the peoples and civilisation surrounding it. I was surprised about that, as a result I really enjoyed this talk and wondering about history in a very different way than I have before. I love how he breaks down the way they’re forming assumptions and rules from which to translate from, in order to test translations and so on. Fascinating stuff.

Two talks from Stefan Sagmeister, a short talk: On what he has learned (so far), then a longer discussion on: The power of time off.

This speaker really had a way of speaking, of sharing and inviting you to consider and imagine. I loved his list of things from the first talk that he’d learned and then was amazed by some of the art pieces and installations he’d created based on those learnings. Some of my favourite things were “Being not truthful always works against me”, “Assuming is stifling”, “Over time I get used to everything and start taking for granted”, “Everybody thinks they are right” and, “Everybody who is honest is interesting”.

In the following talk the speaker talks about what value taking one year in seven completely off from his business, going on sabbatical really brings to him. He talks about it in a personal context, in a business and earnings context and other ways, it was very interesting and I found a lot of merit in what he talked about. The work I’d ultimately like to be doing could really benefit from something like this being part of my business model and my practices. Just imagine what could happen if we had more opportunity to stop, take stock, to think, to be, to reflect and engage inwardly, to explore. I love this idea so much. I’m not at all considering the reality of funding such a practice, right now that’s not so much a practicality as it is a reason to never think about how I could make it happen.

Robert Hammond: Building a park in the sky

This was an interesting talk and speaks to parts of me that pull for community and transformation of conforming surrounds etc. I love his description of “a mile of wildflowers through the middle of Manhattan” and how he kept invisioning the creation of an “inner city wildscape”.

Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days

This idea had a lot of merit – the examples the speaker showed were useful, within reach, both ordinary and inspiring. I may think about this a little more and try and find a way to incorporate something like it in my ordinary and my everyday.

Jessi Arrington: Wearing nothing new

This woman’s delight was infectious! I loved her enthusiasm for being exactly who she is, in conjunction for how she went about achieving it. Also, I loved some of the looks she shows in the talk. I do think that her concept gets a bit more difficult for those of us with irregular body shapes – certainly going op-shopping is as much an exercise in frustration as regular shopping (though at least it costs less). Maybe I just need to practice. Regardless there’s a lot of merit in this idea and I’ll be thinking about this too as part of my everyday/ordinary.

Rachel Botsman: The case for collaborative consumption

This talk was another favourite, it looks to the way we as individuals and consumers are adapting to a new surrounds, how we’re questioning the drive to simply purchase and consume. I love the idea that we could start to see some really obvious and amazing changes in the way we as communities and individuals engage with ‘stuff’ and consumption moving toward a more collaborative and less impact model. She talks about how we’re now becoming “wired to share” in a “peer to peer revolution”, that we are no longer passive, but have become creators and collaborators, or, groups for purpose.

Marc Koska: 1.3million reasons to re-invent the syringe

This was a mixed thing for me. On one hand, the health concerns are staggering, on the other hand, the waste impact seems to be so massive. I can’t argue with the necessity, given the reports of re-use of needles and the obviously devastating effects that come from that.

Nathan Myhrvold: Cooking as never seen before

I loved that they actually cut things in half to photograph them! I love that they concentrated on the 1/100th of a second that it needed to look good for the book. I think that such a book genuinely has a lot of potential in getting people involved in cooking and understanding what’s going on when they cook. 

Jonathan Drori: The beautiful tricks of flowers

This is one of those talks that I listened to because it’s never an area of interest that I’ve taken much notice of before. Actually the way flowers do their thing with insects is pretty interesting and amusing in places. Some beautiful images in this too.

Nadia Al-Sakkaf: See Yemen through my eyes

This woman is the Editor of the Yemen Times and is flat out amazing! I am so deeply inspired by her, I love how outspoken she is, I love how powerfully she comes across and I love the way she seeks to see and speak clearly into the future about the past.

 

So, that’s what’s been going through my brain as I’ve been working this week (and oh how scary are my process maps becoming, plus there’s been development of a business case in there too)! Hopefully you enjoy some of these too 🙂

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