Once a set of invitation-only conferences, TED’s short-format talks have inspired millions of people around the globe since they started appearing online back in 2006. Who can forget Sir Ken Robinson’s revolutionary talk on education, or Amy Cuddy’s exposition on how simply adjusting your body language can result in a major shift in mindset?
Using its guiding themes of technology, entertainment, and design, the topics covered by the conference series (not sure if the wording is correct here) have expanded into a number of other areas, including employee welfare and the workspace.
As part of our mission to inspire “work with purpose”, we’ve identified some of the best TED Talks on the topic.
Check them out below:
6. Anthony Goldbloom: The jobs we’ll lose to machines — and the ones we won’t
The fear that technology will steal jobs people take immense pride in isn’t exactly new. Antecedents of it can be found in the factory protests of the 19th Century, all the way through more contemporary protests by cab drivers against ride-hailing apps such as Uber. But as the pace of technological change increases, it’s becoming a reality more and more of us have to deal with. Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, computers and other devices can perform tasks that once required dozens of people.
However, as Anthony Goldbloom explains in this video, there are some things computers are never likely to be good at.
Watch it because: You want to future-proof your job.
5. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
If you spend a lot of time on the conference circuit, you’ve probably seen this video (or at least a snippet of it). But just because it’s been used a lot, doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain a profoundly powerful message about the nature of leadership within an organisation.
Watch it because: You understand that it takes just as much courage to be a follower as it does to be a leader.
4. Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation
In this video, career analyst Dan Pink makes the argument that incentives actually hurt motivation in the business space. The “carrot and stick” approach, he suggests, work fine for 20th Century-type tasks. For the kinds of work most white-collar workers do in the 21st Century, a different set of motivational tools is required.
Watch it because: You know that autonomy matters more than token rewards.
3. Susan Cain: The power of introverts
In the working world, confidence and social ease are two of the most prized traits anyone can have. Thing is, there are some incredibly talented people out there who simply don’t have those traits and companies are missing out by not catering for them. In this video, Susan Cain explores why the extraordinary talents of introverts should be encouraged and celebrated.
Watch it because: You realise the quiet guy in all your meetings isn’t just being antisocial.
2. Shawn Achor: The happy secret to better work
There are plenty of maxims about finding happiness through productive, fulfilling tasks. But what if those maxims have it exactly the wrong way round? In this video, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that it’s happiness that makes us productive, not the other way around. A leader in the field of Positive Psychology, Achor argues that it is the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality and that knowing this empowers us to change every learning and office environment.
Watch it because: You care about your happiness and that of your colleagues.
1. Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend
Ah stress, the great enemy of working professionals everywhere. It’s been blamed for everything from stomach ulcers to road rage. But what if that view of stress is just a matter of perspective? In this video, psychologist Kelly McGonigal argues that there are times when stress can actually be a positive and that simply reaching out to people can help reduce stress.
Watch it because: It’d be nice to think there’s actually a use for that knot in your stomach.