10 TED Talks All Business Owners Should Watch this Weekend

For some of you that might not know, TED is a not-for-profit foundation devoted to sharing ideas, insight and inspiration in the form of short powerful talks. Beginning in 1984 as a Technology, Entertainment and Design conference, TED now covers hundreds of topics, including everything from global issues to entrepreneurship – in more than 100 languages!

So, without further ado, here is a list of our top 10 favourite TED Talks videos – bank them for a rainy weekend!

  1. Richard St. John – 8 Secrets of Success

In this particular talk, Richard St. John shares information he gathered from conversations with 500 incredibly successful people. He rules out the possibility that success is down to luck or intelligence, and instead asks people what helped them succeed – and from this, distills eight traits that each of them had. Want to be extraordinarily successful? Watch the video to find out how.

  1. Simon Sinek – How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek is a motivational speaker and consultant who writes about leadership and management. In this talk, Simon speaks about his simple but powerful model for great leadership, which starts with his ‘golden circle of motivation’ – and the question ‘Why?’ Sounds intriguing, huh? Be sure to add this one to your ‘must watch’ list!

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  1. Sarah Lewis – Embrace the Near Win

Sarah Lewis makes a case for celebrating the near win – as she so rightly states, “Mastery is in the reaching, not the arriving. It’s in constantly wanting to close that gap between where you are and where you want to be…” The idea is that almost succeeding gives leaders the tenacity and drive to try and try again.

  1. Steven Johnson – Where Good Ideas Come From

“Where good ideas come from” explores what kind of environments lead to heightened levels of creativity and ingenuity. Steven Johnson analyses the most innovative biological, technological and historical backgrounds because, he says, it’s misleading to think that one simply has a ‘stroke’ of genius. Steven claims that successful pioneers of creativity are instead immersed in an environment that is constantly triggering new ideas.

  1. Bill Gross – The Single Biggest Reason Why Start-ups Succeed

Bill Gross has founded many start-ups and in doing so has seen failure and success in each individual case. Bill set out to discover the fundamentals that doomed some start-ups to failure and those that drove other start-ups on to extraordinary success. Bill gathered data from hundreds of companies – including his own – and ranked each company on five key factors. Watch the video to find out which single factor stands out from the others – and why it’s surprising!

  1. Linda Hill – How to Manage Collective Creativity

Linda Hill explores how you should give every idea a chance and tries to unearth the secret to unlocking creativity hidden inside daily work and tasks. Linda, a professor at Harvard University, has studied some of the world’s most creative companies and examines the root cause for this creative greatness. She comes up with a list of tools and tactics that any entrepreneur can use to fuel consistent generation of amazing innovative ideas.

  1. Tom Wujec – Got a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast.

Tom Wujec loves asking people to draw the process of making toast. Here’s why… This design exercise quickly reveals unexpected insights into how we communicate and solve problems using system thinking. The drawing toast exercise aims to highlight the idea that each individual can arrive at very different pictures of how we think things work and how we feel they should work. For example, some of Tom Wujec’s subjects will draw toasters, refrigerators and electrical outlets, whereas others will draw up frying pans and condiments. To get a real feel for how this quirky design exercise works, and how it links to businesses, be sure to add this to your watch list!

  1. Jason Fried – Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work

Jason Fried questions the reality of a productive workplace, and instead asks, “Where do you go when you really need to get something done?” – arguing that the office is one of the most unproductive areas for employees. Jason Fried offers practical solutions to turning your workplace into the optimal space for getting work done, whilst suggesting that being a workaholic and having lots of meetings is a waste of your time.

  1. Malcolm Gladwell – Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce

Malcolm Gladwell is a best-selling author and motivational speaker, and was one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2005. Gladwell’s TED Talk explains how Prego Pizza Sauce was superior to its competitors, but it was still somehow failing in the market. He analyses how Prego missed out on big opportunities and what the company did to rectify the problem. This talk is particularly helpful if you work in the marketing sector.

  1. Dan Pink – The Puzzle of Motivation

Dan Pink addresses the complexities of motivation, and how he believes that traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think – in short, giving people cash incentives makes them worse at tasks. Instead, Dan suggests that employers should emphasise ‘autonomy, mastery, and purpose’ – he describes these three elements informally as:

  • Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives
  • Mastery: the desire to get better at something that matters
  • Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

These are ten of our favourite TED Talks videos, which are sure to inspire and motivate, whether you’re a small business owner, large business owner, or employee. Have a favourite TED Talk video? Let us know in the comments below!


Disclaimer: Please note that all of the above are considerations, not recommendations. By writing about them, Business Takeaways is by no means endorsing these services or companies.