Top 7 TED talks on innovation and creativity

TED is an excellent platform to find some original ideas. TED has definitely set a benchmark and with 500 million viewers, it has become the dominant platform for sharing ideas. From Simon Sinek to Rory Sutherland here are plenty of great talks. For this article, we have compiled the top 7 talks on innovation and creativity.

1. Tales of Creativity and Play by Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the CEO and President of IDEO which is an innovation and design firm. He frequently gives talks on the value of innovation and design thinking. He regularly participates in the World Economic Forum at Davos as well.

In Tales of Creativity and Play, Tim emphasizes the fact that fear of embarrassment is why many people tend to be conservative in their thinking. This means that a great idea might never get heard because we are too scared to share it.

He then gives a solution that they use to encourage creativity without the fear of embarrassment, i.e., “by building a workspace that is RELAXED and PLAYFUL.”

“Finding common ground is key to passing along knowledge.”

Brown makes the crowd laugh. He makes his point with the help of hilarious and playful experiments which are a must-try.

2. Where good ideas come from by Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson is an American author and writes majorly on intersection of technology, science, and personal experience. He has written the bestseller “Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter.”

what is it that sparks those key moments that lead to innovation? People often attribute their ideas to individual ‘Eureka’ moments. But Steven argues that history suggests a completely different story. In this talk, he tries to answer the question

“What are the environments that lead to unusual levels of innovation and creativity?”

He has studied multiple environments such as coffeehouses, the world wide web, biological environments, etc. to find patterns. He also says, “An idea is a network and a new idea is a new set of neurons firing in sync with each other inside your brain.” He interestingly unfolds some of the greatest innovations of all times to answer the question. Listen to the talk and who knows it might fire a new set of neurons in your brain as well.

3. The era of open innovation by Charles Leadbeater

Charles Leadbeater is an author who has written multiple books such as Innovation in Education: Lessons from Pioneers Around the World Paperback, The Frugal Innovator: Creating Change on a Shoestring Budget and much more. He was also an advisor to Tony Blair.

Charles in his talk describes the surge of open innovation. Leadbeater focuses on the fact that innovation is not just for professionals anymore. He gives numerous examples in the talk such as the mountain bike which was not invented by any huge corporation in the bicycle industry but by a group of young bikers in California who were frustrated by the traditional bikers.

4. How Airbnb designs for trust by Joe Gebbia

The list would be incomplete without a story on innovation in action. This TED talk by Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb, is on how he bet his whole company on the conviction that people can have faith in each other. He begins the talk as an ordinary innovation story of a young man with a dream and then he discusses the difficulties he faced in his successful journey. He also explains how they applied principles of designs to reduce some of humanity’s deepest rooted biases, such as stranger-danger bias. It is a very captivating talk on how innovation can change impossible human behavior. This story is the confluence of the internet and design to connect people for a simple yet impactful purpose.

5. The surprising habits of original thinkers by Adam Grant

Adam Grant, a professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, talks about the behavior of “originals.” He discusses some of the greatest stereotypes in relation to innovation. He talks about how the fear of failure can paralyze us. He says, “The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most as they are the ones who try the most.” The talk ends on this note: “Being original is not easy but it’s the best way to improve the world around us.” The talk has engaging content, perspectives, and delivery.

6. How web video powers global innovation by Chris Anderson

This is a talk delivered by the man himself Chris Anderson, the owner of TED. In this beautiful talk, he explains how the internet has accelerated innovation and how any organization can use this model of crowd-accelerated innovation.

7. How to build a company where the best ideas win by Ray Dalio

Although not strictly confined to innovation and creativity, Ray Dalio explains how he runs a hedge fund that works based purely on idea meritocracy. He gives an example of how he and his research team decided what Trump's presidency would mean for the US economy (definitely not an easy topic to get consensus). This talk stresses the importance of radical transparency and truthfulness in organizations.

If you think we have missed out any pretty cool talk, please mention it in the comments below.

About the Author

Vivek Siva
Learned what not to do as an entrepreneur. An optimist with a love for business, the outdoors, and movies. Superpower: Ability to smile even when all hell breaks loose. Affiliation: World of witchcraft & wizardry