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The TED conference – a source of inspiring insights February 11, 2010

Posted by Alan Yu in Miscellaneous.
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The annual TED conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs is on now, lasting until February 13th.  According to the description on its web site, TED is “a small nonprofit devoted to ideas worth spreading”.  Founded in 1984, it started as a conference bringing together people from the areas of technology, entertainment and design.  Over the years, it seems to have expanded to encompass a much wider range of new trends and ideas.

Sponsored by some of the biggest names in industry, e.g., Nokia, Google, Sony and Shell, to name but a few, the programme this year includes such topics as “mindshift”, “discovery”, “play” and “simplicity”.

As always, the lineup of speakers is resplendent and eclectic.  Cancer researcher William Li, who heads the Angiogenesis Foundation,  behavioural economist Daniel Kahneman, mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot and former CIA operative Valerie Palme Wilson make up less than one tenth of the speakers.

Bill Gates, who is also one of the speakers, regularly tweets from the conference, and seems to be quite impressed with William Li and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Making a return appearance is educator and author Sir Ken Robinson.  His talk in 2006 about how schools kill creativity is a classic not to be missed.

My favourite of all time is Rory Sutherland recounting his life lessons.  I only wish my mentors in the advertising industry had taught me only one of these lessons.  Look out for his side-splitting remarks on “placebo education”.