Friday, October 1, 2010

Inspiration from TED – Part II

I recently wrote about and listed some of my favorite TED presentations. I mentioned that my initial list was just the tip of the iceberg and there were many more presentations that are worth a look. As TED grows as a brand, a place where influential voices come forth and share observations and their vision, it is something worth monitoring on an ongoing basis. This is where the most exciting new ideas break out. As TED expands across the globe we are seeing more international perspectives. So, now interesting viewpoints from Asia and Europe are becoming more common in the TED portfolio. Here are a few more selections that I found interesting and that I think also have some relevance to the world of translation.

Clay Shirky is a prominent thinker on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies and he often speaks in favor of crowdsourcing and open collaboration. In fact he wrote a book called Here Comes Everybody. In this talk he describes the basis for his bullishness about something he calls “cognitive surplus”. I think he is one of the most insightful voices on the subject of crowdsourcing and the new collaborative initiatives that are forming around internet access and technology. I recommend this and many other presentations he has scattered across the web.

This Simon Sinek talk is a recommendation from @fabcid who summarized this talk as:” Brilliant and inspiring. A must-see.” on how great leaders inspire action. Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?"

This is a talk by Tom Wujec who studies how we share and absorb information. He's an innovative practitioner of business visualization -- using design and technology to help groups solve problems and understand ideas. This shows how childlike attitudes are so critical to successful collaboration and how so much of our formal business training actually undermines our ability to collaborate.

I first heard about “soft power” from Joseph Nye. It is something good leaders naturally have, it is the ability to shape the preferences of others. Simply put, in behavioral terms, soft power is attractive power or the power to attract rather than command a following. This is a great talk by Shashi Tharoor on India’s rise as a power. He argues that “soft" power is what makes India formidable in the long run. This is its ability to share its culture with the world through food, music, technology, Bollywood. He argues that in the long run it's not the size of the army that matters as much as a country's ability to influence the world's hearts and minds. One striking example he gives is that today, Indian restaurants in Britain employ more people than the coal mining, ship building and iron and steel industries combined.

One of the passions in my life is music and I am confident that at some point in my life I will be engaged with sound and music in a substantial way so I have also been keeping an eye on the TED stuff related to music and sound. In this talk Robert Gupta talks about his relationship with a schizophrenic that was also the subject of a movie with Jamie Foxx called The Soloist. Music is medicine, music changes us and for some music is sanity.

Finally this is another TED-like group that illustrates speeches in a very useful and interesting way that I think facilitates understanding and engagement. The talk by Daniel Pink is based on his research on motivation. This shows that human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. I think it also shows why standards like EN15038 are flawed – they kill any creativity.

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