inspiration

Where do good ideas come from?

inspiration

Creativity, that elusive muse so hard to find at times. If only there was a way to jump-start stale –or non existent– ideas, many of us would get along with work much better – and faster!

Oh, but there is, there are, actually. Since the creative block is more common than most people realize, we’ve curated 10 TED talks on creativity that will help you organize your thoughts, come up with new stuff, do some mental gymnastics, remove self-pressure stress and most likely help you break ground with that pesky project you can’t wrap your head around.

Or so we hope, at any rate these 10 TED Talks on Creativity are easy to implement and fun to listen to:

1. Got a Wicked Problem? First, Tell Me How You Make Toast

“If you want to communicate something visually, have between 5 and 13 nodes in your diagram.” If that sounds like gibberish, allow us to share Tom Wujec’d wonderful TED talk on problem solving and how “collaborative visualization” -as he’s dubbed it- helps individuals and organizations tackle really complex problems and come up with innovative solutions.

Tom Wujec reveals a number of interesting findings by analyzing diagrams people draw of how they make toast, broken down into steps in a system. Even though it seems like a trivial exercise, these designs can help individuals and corporations address challenges in a creative way.

2. Play This Game to Come up With Original Ideas

Shimpei Takahashi’s TED talk describes the Shiritori method to keep ideas flowing. If you want to play this game, all you need to do is to come up with a random word and then say another word that starts with the last letter of the previous word and so on. The more ideas you produce, the better brainstorming results you will have.

Shimpei Takahashi is a Japanese toy developer who uses the Shiritori method whenever he has to deal with pressure, but needs to generate original ideas. As he states ¨ the greatest advantage of this method is the continuous flow of images¨. This technique can be used for any type of project, not just toy-design. He also suggests just finding or saying random words, not associated with the topic of your project or research to come up with creative connections.

Watch the full concept here:

3. Taking Imagination Seriously

Janet Echelman shares a truly inspiring story about the challenges she’s faced in the path to becoming an artist. She is now known for creating soft and voluptuous sculptures with powerful industrial materials in several cities around the world, however she did not set out to become a sculptor, she is not an engineer and was rejected from 7 different art schools.
Her current projects began, almost by chance, in India where ordinary fishing nets appeared to her as art. Her talk, beyond speaking volumes about perseverance and patience, reminds us that if you can imagine it, you can make it. Even without proper training our tools, if you have will and determination, but we’ll let her tell you the rest.

Janet Echelman said, ¨ I combine my sculptures with high-tech material and engineering to create voluptuous, billowing forms the scale of buildings.¨ A single, unique idea has lead her to experienced the most wonderful circumstances. All because she took imagination, seriously.

4. Where Does Creativity Hide?

Amy Tan’s engaging talk focuses on the creative process from a writer’s point of view. The American-Chinese writer shares her personal experiences and research on how we create. For Tan, it is the questioning that drives creativity. Ask yourself why things happen? What are the influences? For her uncertainty is good, there are no complete answers, but you can definitely create something out of nothing.
An 18 minute talk filled with whimsy and profound thoughts that sprinkled with humor will make you think and laugh. If you’re stuck on a project, take a walk and examine not the whys of the block, but the whys of the project’s existence. In the meantime, take a look at this worthwhile TED talk on creativity and where it hides:

5. 4 Lessons in Creativity

How does Raku relate to the process of creativity? Hell, what is Raku? Short answer -it’s a traditional Japanese pottery technique. Long answer -watch this great TED Talk that explores how “Creativity grows out of everyday experiences”
Julie Burstein a radio producer and writer of the book “Spark: How Creativity Works”, shares her views on how we can find creative balance between construction and destruction in the most mundane or life-changing things.

6. Your Elusive Creative

Does Elizabeth Gilbert sound familiar to you? Probably! She’s the author of the best-selling book: “Eat, Pray, Love.” Gilbert, says that writers and creative people across all professions “have a reputation of being enormously unstable”, and while there is a lot of evidence to the fact (we’ll let her do the talk) there is also a great amount of pressure both from other people and ourselves when it comes to the creative process and the unknown outcome.
She talks about creativity and how our perception of the creative process affects our interactions with it.

Gilbert’s warm TED talk discusses how creatives need to manage (self)pressure to create something “genius” Being afraid of the outcome can disable people and prevent them from their dreams or doing what they love. One of our favorites in the list and a must-watch!

7. Schools Kills Creativity

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, then you can’t be creative”. Ken Robinson, an author and educator, shares his brilliant ideas on creating an education system that cultivates creativity. Ken Robinson explains the key role creativity plays in childhood. In his talk, Robinson states that school should be the place that stimulates creativity, rather than the place it goes to die.
His accurate remarks on how our school systems reward only a few subjects and disregards or discourages others, really hits home. Beyond discussing school systems (which may not appeal to those without children) his views, research and insight on intelligence and the creative mind are thought provoking for all. His humorous approach, not only makes the talk really funny and entertaining but highly interesting. (About 19 minutes long, but worth it!)

8.Creativity and Play

Designer Tim Brown draws attention to the relationship between play and creativity. Tim’s interactive talk is clever, informative and funny. As the CEO of the design firm IDEO, Tim wanted to provide an environment where all people felt safe sharing their ideas, because as we grow older we become more concerned or afraid of our peer’s judgement and that hinders creative solutions.

Playful exploration, playful building or “thinking with your hands” and role play are three ways to boost creative thinking in teams or individually. Brown gives the audience exercises you can try at home as well, we recommend watching this one on its own o a slow day.

9. How to Build Your Creative Confidence

David Kelley is the founder of the legendary design firm IDEO. David Kelley began his TED talk by sharing the story of a friend in third grade who was working on a project and was shut down by a classmate. This situation is more common than we actually believe. Kelly thinks we should not divide the world into creative and non-creatives, like a “God given thing”. He shares stories from his own life and design career helping people to build confidence and let ideas fly.

10. Tales of Passion

Author Isabel Allende discusses the feminine energy the world needs and two of the most important aspects in creativity: courage and passion. The famous author and 2006 Olympic flag bearer, rounds up our list with a talk that’s not meant for your mind, but for your heart.
For Allende what matter most is the heart and “only a fearless and determined heart will get the gold medal.” Because creativity is nothing, if not -as another great writer, J.K. Rowling,  put it- “the power to imagine better”. Work passionately towards your goals and you will likely make the world better for it, if we listen to Allende we may yet make it a good one.
Don’t miss it:

We hope this collection of TED talks was a great source to inspire and firestart your own creativity. Bookmark this post and come back to it later.

TED talks are meant to spark conversation, so, please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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