Do you remember the most inspiring TED talk you’ve ever seen? One that changed your perspective? There are thousands of talks on thousands of topics, but we asked the crew to pick just one of their favourites for this post.
Ben Dunlap: The life-long learner
Stephen Collins, Creative Catalyst
Ben Dunlap’s talk from TED2007 was one of the first TED Talks I ever saw. It’s set the standard for me ever since.
More than anything else, it’s an amazing piece of storytelling about the curious links between his own life as an educator, and the life of Sandor Teszler, Holocaust survivor, and philanthropist. It appeals to me because of the constant thread through the talk that speaks to a need for curiosity in our lives, and the imperative to never stop learning or seeking new experiences.
I’ve spent hours talking about this talk over the years, and had the privilege to meet some of Ben’s staff from Wofford College at TED 2011. Their love for him as a boss, educator, and person speaks powerfully to the influence of this man.
Marina Abramović: An art made of trust, vulnerability and connection
Courtnee Leigh, Production Lead
I never had a strong connection to art in my youth. There was no time for art or often play. When I was 18 I traveled to Europe and realised that it was free to go to galleries, and I began to look at art. Now, twice that age, I realise making a choice to experience art completely affected the development of my adult identity and still helps me make sense of the world, sadness and loss.
In this talk, Marina says; “We are always doing things we like in our life, this is why you are not changing”. This thought is why I can deal with hardship. Because challenges and failures have taught me rigour and built my character.
Since the first time I learned about Marina in a performance art class I have been fascinated by her work, and the reactions it can create in an audience.
Arthur Benjamin: A performance of “mathemagic”
Brody Hannan, Partner Manager
I remember when I first saw Arthur Benjamin’s Mathemagic. I was quite good at maths in high school, but it was always considered a bit of a ‘nerdy’ subject, and that there wasn’t anything cool about it.
Watching Arthur square a five digit number in his head with a matter of seconds – and turning it into such a performance – was something I’d never seen someone do with maths before. I think he’s the beginning of when I knew I wanted to become a science communicator.
Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA
Katharine Pierce, Presenter Lead
I never knew vegetables could be edgy until I saw Ron Finley’s talk on helping to stop food deserts in South Central LA.
When Ron talks about his love for gardening, it’s like poetry – his prose is a horticulturists hip hop anthem.
Living in Canberra, it’s hard to comprehend that some people in ‘first world countries’ don’t have access to fresh and healthy food.
I’ve seen a few of these ‘guerrilla gardens’ popping up across our city and they’re such a great idea.
A lot of the gardeners I know often have more produce than they can deal with. If you were able to share this with your neighbours, how awesome would that be?
Imagine, corn to the left of you, tomato’s to the right…
I can’t wait to one day have my own verge, where I can share the fruits (and vegetables) of my labour with the community.
Eman Mohammed: The courage to tell a hidden story
Olympia Yarger, Partner Lead
I started following Eman on Facebook, I found her via My Stealthy Freedom. A page where women around the world post pictures of themselves without their hijab.
Emans work is equally as powerful and confronting. Her talk is short, frank and determined. It’s a shot of inspiration that really drives me.
Hans Rosling: The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen
Ingrid Tomanovits, Executive Producer
This is the first TED Talk I ever saw. My brother showed it to me after he saw it on a training course, and it blew me away. I couldn’t believe I was watching something about stats and not only was I still awake, but I was almost as excited as Hans!
My curiosity was sparked – what was this TED thing? What other talks were there? I had to know more, and I was hooked.
Taiye Selasi: Don’t ask where I’m from, ask where I’m a local
Shian Buultjens, Volunteer Lead
I often get asked and ask people where they’re from; in the hope their shorthand response will color my understanding of them. Rarely does this question achieve anything, but for superficial satisfaction and the framing of an introduction.
As Taiye Selasi so beautifully constructed, and an opinion I echo: our identity is our experience; and perhaps the better question to be asking is: Where are you a local of? Replacing the language of Nationality to the language of locality- where real life occurs: our rituals, relationships, and restrictions.
My experience, like Taiye’s, has made me find it hard to believe we can come from such an ephemeral concept: ‘country’. I believe your experience is where you’re from; and where you’re from is a multi-local, many-layered buffet of ideas, values and practices.
In my quest for eloquent frameworks that help us describe ourselves, I highly recommend marinating in this elegantly structured thesis. The intent behind the question is what’s important and acknowledges the complexity of human experience. A conversation that brings us closer together.
So, where are you a local of? Let’s try and pitch that instead..!
Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
Natassja Hoogstad Hay, Communications Lead
An oldie and a goodie. I love Simon Sinek’s talk from 2009 because of its simple message – that you should always start with ‘why’. He uses relatable examples including Apple, the Wright Brothers and Martin Luther King to demonstrate the point that it’s beliefs that appeal to emotions that inspire action.
There’s something charming about the retro notepad and pen as visual aids that support the simplicity of the message.