In 1984, Richard Saul Wurman founded TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), a one-off event on technology and design held in California. In no way could Wurman anticipate that TED would become a global phenomenon. Today, millions of people log on to TED.com to watch acclaimed speeches on technology, design, science, culture, and global issues.
In particular, TED talks are known for featuring speakers who discuss ‘ideas worth spreading’ in profound yet innovative and engaging ways.
Here are eight TED talks you must watch.
1. Jimmy Wales on the birth of Wikipedia (2005)
In this TED talk, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales describes how he assembled “a ragtag band of volunteers” and equipped them with tools to create Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia that is one of the top 10 websites in the world. In particular, Wales recalls his earlier failures and how he persevered with his vision to make a place of learning and collaboration for anyone on the World Wide Web.
2. Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006)
English author, speaker, and international advisor on education Sir Ken Robinson makes a startling claim in this TED talk, suggesting that the way we are educating our children is actually stifling their creativity and intelligence. Instead, he champions a radical vision of new school systems that embrace different types of creativity and intelligence and that can be implemented right now.
3. Rick Warren: A life of purpose (2006)
To most Americans, Pastor Rick Warren is known as the man who gave the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration in 2000. Worldwide, Warren is known as the author of New York Times bestselling devotional The Purpose Driven Life (2002), which has sold over 30 million copies. In this talk, Warren reflects on his own search for purpose and belief that God intends for us to use our talents and influence to do good.
4. David Gallo: Underwater Astonishment (2007)
Pioneer in ocean exploration David Gallo uses amazing audiovisual to show his audience jaw-dropping footage of incredible sea creatures, whether of color changing cuttlefish, a camouflaging octopus, or deep-sea fish emitting millions of rays of neon lights. This is fascinating viewing that will captivate and leave you at awe of creation.
5. Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight (2008)
Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor shares poignantly from her personal experience of suffering a massive stroke and watching her brain functions shut down one after the other. In this talk, Jill explains her stroke, recovery, and the intricate yet not inexplicable structure of the human brain that she has studied for many years and now successfully struggled to rewire.
6.Bill Gates: Mosquitos, malaria and education (2009)
If even the once wealthiest man in the world takes to the TED stage to deliver a message, we know that TED is a place of world-shattering stuff. In 18 minutes, Microsoft founder and ex-CEO Bill Gates delivers his vision for how innovation and philanthropy can combine to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
7. Sunitha Krishnan: The fight against sex slavery (2009)
Indian social activist Sunitha Krishnan is a leader in India for her work in ending sexual slavery through calling on government, corporations, and NGOs to act together. In this TED talk, Krishnan shares three powerful stories from her experiences assisting trafficked women in India, calling for more action to be done to rescue young victims of the multi-million-dollar global sex trade.
8. Bunker Roy: Learning from a barefoot movement (2011)
Indian social activist and educator Sanjit “Bunker” Roy is the founder of Barefoot College, an organisation that helps rural women and men in Rajasthan, India, to become self-sufficient and trained for jobs in the modern world. Voted as one of Time 100’s most influential personalities in 2010, Roy explains the extraordinary workings of Barefoot College in this talk.
Guest Author: Amy Hopkins is a university student and freelance writer who is interested in finding inspiration in unexpected places and listening to fresh ideas. She likes the thought of using a computer rental if her laptop ever fail on her!