Updated: Aug 19, 2020
Looking for inspiration to put towards your next business endeavor? Below we've put together a list of our top 10 TED Talks on business, work and entrepreneurship. Take a moment to explore what the modern innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs of today are doing to change the way we think about work and make a difference in the world. Built through adversity and creativity, these pioneering visionaries have a lot to say.
Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work — We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but could we be thinking about things backwards? In this fast-moving and very funny talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive.
Noeline Kirabo: 2 questions to uncover your passion — and turn it into a career — What’s your passion? Social entrepreneur Noeline Kirabo reflects on her work helping out-of-school young people in Uganda turn their passions into profitable businesses -- and shares the two questions you can ask yourself to begin doing the same.
Ricardo Semler: How to run a company with (almost) no rules — What if your job didn't control your life? Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler practices a radical form of corporate democracy, rethinking everything from board meetings to how workers report their vacation days (they don't have to). It's a vision that rewards the wisdom of workers, promotes work-life balance — and leads to some deep insight on what work, and life, is really all about. Bonus question: What if schools were like this too?
Joi Ito — Want to innovate? — become a “now-ist” — "Remember before the internet?" asks Joi Ito. "Remember when people used to try to predict the future?" In this engaging talk, the head of the MIT Media Lab skips the future predictions and instead shares a new approach to creating in the moment: building quickly and improving constantly, without waiting for permission or for proof that you have the right idea. This kind of bottom-up innovation is seen in the most fascinating, futuristic projects emerging today, and it starts, he says, with being open and alert to what's going on around you right now. Don't be a futurist, he suggests: be a now-ist.
Kamau Gachigi - Success stories from Kenya’s first makerspace — Africa needs engineers, but its engineering students often end up working at auditing firms and banks. Why? Kamau Gachigi suspects it's because they don't have the spaces and materials needed to test their ideas and start businesses. To solve this problem, Gachigi started Gearbox, a makerspace and hardware accelerator that provides a rapid prototyping environment for both professionals and people with no formal engineering background. In this forward-thinking talk, he shares some of the extraordinary projects and innovations coming out of his Kenyan fab lab.
Cameron Herold — Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs — Bored in school, failing classes, at odds with peers: This child might be an entrepreneur, says Cameron Herold. In his talk, he makes the case for parenting and education that helps would-be entrepreneurs flourish -- as kids and as adults.
Jack Conte: How artists can (finally) get paid in the digital age — It's been a weird 100 years for artists and creators, says musician and entrepreneur Jack Conte. The traditional ways we've turned art into money (like record sales) have been broken by the internet, leaving musicians, writers and artists wondering how to make a living. With Patreon, Conte has created a way for artists on the internet to get paid by their fans. Could payment platforms like this change what it means to be an artist in the digital age?
Harish Manwani — Profit’s not always the point — You might not expect the chief operating officer of a major global corporation to look too far beyond either the balance sheet or the bottom line. But Harish Manwani, COO of Unilever, makes a passionate argument that doing so to include value, purpose and sustainability in top-level decision-making is not just savvy, it's the only way to run a 21st century business responsibly.
Martin Reeves: how to build a business that lasts 100 years — If you want to build a business that lasts, there may be no better place to look for inspiration than your own immune system. Join strategist Martin Reeves as he shares startling statistics about shrinking corporate life spans and explains how executives can apply six principles from living organisms to build resilient businesses that flourish in the face of change.
Bill Gross: The single biggest reason why start-ups succeed — Bill Gross has founded a lot of start-ups, and incubated many others -- and he got curious about why some succeeded and others failed. So he gathered data from hundreds of companies, his own and other people's, and ranked each company on five key factors. He found one factor that stands out from the others -- and surprised even him.