playlist

8 ways to fuel innovation

Feel like you're running low on fresh ideas? Get creative with these thought-provoking TED Talks to inspire new and experimental thinking. (Curated in partnership with Nuveen.)

  1. 17:45
    Steven Johnson Where good ideas come from

    People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.

  2. 15:25
    Adam Grant The surprising habits of original thinkers

    How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies "originals": thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals — including embracing failure. "The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they're the ones who try the most," Grant says. "You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones."

  3. 14:05
    Tanya Menon The secret to great opportunities? The person you haven't met yet

    We often find ourselves stuck in narrow social circles with similar people. What habits confine us, and how can we break them? Organizational psychologist Tanya Menon considers how we can be more intentional about expanding our social universes — and how it can lead to new ideas and opportunities.

  4. 16:25
    Navi Radjou Creative problem-solving in the face of extreme limits

    Navi Radjou has spent years studying "jugaad," also known as frugal innovation. Pioneered by entrepreneurs in emerging markets who figured out how to get spectacular value from limited resources, the practice has now caught on globally. Peppering his talk with a wealth of examples of human ingenuity at work, Radjou also shares three principles for how we can all do more with less.

  5. 16:13
    Manoush Zomorodi How boredom can lead to your most brilliant ideas

    Do you sometimes have your most creative ideas while folding laundry, washing dishes or doing nothing in particular? It's because when your body goes on autopilot, your brain gets busy forming new neural connections that connect ideas and solve problems. Learn to love being bored as Manoush Zomorodi explains the connection between spacing out and creativity.

  6. 11:57
    Simone Giertz Why you should make useless things

    In this joyful, heartfelt talk featuring demos of her wonderfully wacky creations, Simone Giertz shares her craft: making useless robots. Her inventions — designed to chop vegetables, cut hair, apply lipstick and more — rarely (if ever) succeed, and that's the point. "The true beauty of making useless things [is] this acknowledgment that you don't always know what the best answer is," Giertz says. "It turns off that voice in your head that tells you that you know exactly how the world works. Maybe a toothbrush helmet isn't the answer, but at least you're asking the question."

  7. 16:08
    Vittorio Loreto Need a new idea? Start at the edge of what is known

    "Where do great ideas come from?" Starting with this question in mind, Vittorio Loreto takes us on a journey to explore a possible mathematical scheme that explains the birth of the new. Learn more about the "adjacent possible" — the crossroads of what's actual and what's possible — and how studying the math that drives it could explain how we create new ideas.

  8. 5:40
    Shimpei Takahashi Play this word game to come up with original ideas

    Shimpei Takahashi always dreamed of designing toys. But when he started work as a toy developer, he found that the pressure to produce squashed his creativity. In this short, funny talk, Takahashi describes how he got his ideas flowing again, and shares a simple word game anyone can play to generate new ideas. (In Japanese with English subtitles.)