x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
March 15, 2011
12:00am - 12:00am EDT
(UTC -4hrs)
Atlanta, Georgia
United States

What is the very essence of creativity, the force that entertains, enlightens and solves our largest problems?

The 10 speakers at “Creativ!ty,” the latest (and largest) TEDxAtlanta event, made clear that there is no one answer. But there are many intriguing ones.

Grammy-winning singer and songwriter India.Arie talked about developing the ability to “turn feelings into something tangible,” and then joined her musical collaborator, Israel’s Idan Raichel, to prove her own ability with four songs from her upcoming album, “Open Door.”

Encouragement and nurture are also critical elements of creativity. A case in point was actress and best-selling author Victoria Rowell, who spent 18 years in foster care, much of it on a Maine farm. She grew up feeding the farm animals, often dancing from the hog pen to the chicken coop. But without the help of a highly aware foster parent, she said, her creativity might never have bloomed. University of Georgia professor Bonnie Cramond shared her findings that children who seem “different” to many are often the most creative and innovative, provided they receive encouragement and nurture. And ad agency creative director Viktor Venson talked about activating the creative power of his industry to bring the nurture of creativity back into American schools, via his innovation challenge called No Right Brain Left Behind.

Turner Broadcasting’s Michael Ouweleen and Texas-based designer Armin Vit argued that a skewed view of the world is vital to creative problem solving. Ouweleen, who runs Turner’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media group, talked about the power of humor to heal wounds. “Humor,” he said, “makes sense of the senseless.” Vit defended “an underused source of creativity: stupidity,” which he defined as doing something that seems theoretically impossible. “One is considered stupid until proven creative,” he argued.

Advertising executive and author Sally Hogshead, who today studies the triggers and sources of fascination, highlighted the tiny space of time – nine seconds, “the same as goldfish,” by her estimation – that the modern world gives people to grab the attention of others. Such small windows of opportunity challenge our creativity daily.

Playwright Margaret Baldwin, sculptor Elizabeth Turk, and chef Linton Hopkins explored the creative value of understanding particular materials. Whether it’s the Alabama family history of Baldwin, or Turk’s medium of choice, marble, or the seasonal vegetables and fruits that appear and then disappear from Hopkins’ kitchen, all agreed that looking at familiar materials in new ways is at the heart of their creativity. As Baldwin put it, “Assume nothing. Notice everything. Make something happen.”

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India Arie

India.Arie is known and cherished by fans and fellow musicians as a poet, a songwriter, a producer, a musician, a singer, an advocate, a friend and a philanthropist — but she is possibly best known for the love in her music that has inspired and motivated people worldwide.

Idan Raichel

Idan Raichel, the creator and leader of the Idan Raichel Project, began his musical journey by inviting collaborations from artists of different generations, multiple ethnicities and singing in languages as diverse as Hebrew, Spanish, Arabic, Amharic and Swahili. The resulting albums have shattered sales records in Israel, made Raichel one of his country’s biggest musical breakthroughs of the past decade, and sold over half a million records worldwide. The Project was honored as the “Musical Group of the Decade” in Israel in 2010, and the song “Mima’amakim” was selected the “Best Song of the Decade.” As described by The New York Times, “His arrangements bind the voices together in somber minor-mode anthems paced by electronic beats, earnestly seeking to uplift.”

Sally Hogshead

Growing up with the last name Hogshead would give anyone an unconventional point of view. Today, Sally is on a mission: To help companies create radical ideas and passionate action, expertly shaken and stirred with a tangy slap of inspiration. An author, speaker, and internationally-recognized marketing expert, Sally works with world-class brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Target, and frequently appears in national media such as NBC’s Today Show and The New York Times. Sally’s latest book is FASCINATE: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation.

Elizabeth Turk

Elizabeth Turk is an artist and sculptor, transforming reclaimed marble into strikingly intricate and seemingly weightless objects that defy gravity and what others might see, perceive and know about this monumental material.

Armin Vit

Co-founder of UnderConsideration, a graphic design and publishing enterprise Armin Vit believes that to be truly creative, you have to put your own personality and point of view into your work. That idea is evident in Armin’s own unconventional design career. After leaving the New York office of a global design firm, he co-founded UnderConsideration in 2007 in Brooklyn, New York and relocated to Austin, Texas in 2009. UnderConsideration provides design services to clients, but it also runs a network of websites that drive the global conversation about design and its growing importance in the modern world. Armin shows how a commitment to design thinking can inspire designers around the world to voice their own perspectives and points of view. Born and raised in Mexico City, Armin won his first creative award at age 8. He has written for many widely known trade publications, but he is better known for his writing on the six sites that make up the UnderConsideration online network, including Speak Up, Brand New, Quipsologies, The Design Encyclopedia, Word It and FPO.

Victoria Rowell

A former foster child who became an award-winning actress, advocate, mother and New York Times bestselling author. Having spent 18 years in foster care, Rowell became a passionate voice for children like herself. She embodies the talent, determination and perseverance it takes to flourish in the entertainment world, but she constantly credits the amazing women who cared for her when her birth mother could not. She attributes the creativity she possesses today to the experiences of her youth, and she uses her celebrity status to raise awareness and understanding about foster care. A versatile actress of theatre, television and feature films, Rowell is known worldwide. She is an icon in daytime television as the feisty Drucilla Winters on CBS's highly rated daytime series, “The Young and the Restless.” She has been nominated twice for a Daytime Emmy and awarded 12 NAACP Image Awards. She also co-starred in the CBS hit primetime television series “Diagnosis Murder” with Dick Van Dyke for eight seasons. In 1990, she founded the Rowell Foster Children’s Positive Plan, which enriches foster children through artistic and athletic expression.

Bonnie Cramond

A professor and the director of the Torrance Center for Creative Studies and Talent Development in the Department of Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology at the University of Georgia.

Margaret Baldwin

Playwright, Lecturer and Interim Coordinator of General Education for Theatre and Performance Studies, Kennesaw State University Born and raised in Atlanta, Baldwin has produced her plays, solo and ensemble theatre works throughout the United States. One of her latest plays, the highly acclaimed “Night Blooms,” developed at the 2007 New South Festival at the Horizon Theatre Company in Atlanta. The play originated from the stories she heard while spending summers and holidays in her mother’s town of Selma, Ala. Those summers inspired her to become a writer, but it wasn't until a few decades later she felt ready to take on a personal and significant story of a critical juncture in American history.

Linton Hopkins

Atlanta native Linton Hopkins opened Restaurant Eugene on Peachtree Road in 2004 to quick national acclaim. He competed on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef,” is a three-time James Beard Award Nominee, including 2010, and was crowned one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2009. He is also proprietor of Holeman & Finch Public House and H&F Bread Company and the soon to open H&F Bottle Shop.

Viktor Venson

Viktor is the co-founder of No Right Brain Left Behind — an innovation challenge to bring creativity back to U.S. schools. NRBLB challenged the creative industries to craft solutions that would help the creative crisis happening in U.S schools today. With over 300 idea submissions from over 100 teams, an all-star judging panel will be reviewing the work and picking 3 winning ideas. The vision is to pilot the winning idea in 2011/2012. Viktor sees this model as a continuing effort where the global creative industries gather once a year to focus on one burning issue. By day, he is the Interactive Creative Director at StoppLA, a digital agency with offices in Los Angeles and Stockholm.

Michael Ouweleen

Michael Ouweleen is Senior Vice President and Group Creative Director for the Creative Group of Turner Broadcasting’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media (AYAKM) group. He is responsible for leading all facets of Cartoon Network and Boomerang branding via on-air communication, promotion, packaging and sponsorships, as well as the creative development and expression of show and character properties in off-channel promotions. He also supervises print, special events, package design, sponsorship and promotions for Adult Swim. He also is the co-creator and co-executive producer of one of the first original Adult Swim shows, Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law. Prior to this position, Ouweleen was Senior Vice President of Development and Programming for Cartoon Network, overseeing the development of current Cartoon Network shows Ben 10, Chowder, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and the highest rated program in network history, the live action movie-of-the-week Ben 10: Race Against Time. Prior to joining Cartoon Network, Ouweleen worked in advertising in New York and worked on several animated projects. He graduated cum laude from Georgetown University with a major in both English and Theology.

Organizing team


Atlanta, GA, United States
  • Jenn Graham
    Speaker Liasion
  • Jenn Flemish
  • Sherry Duffy
  • Dawn Gahan
    Planning Committee Member
  • David Cannon
    Planning Committee Member
  • Chris Wojda
    Planning Committee Member
  • Michael Piersa
  • Dave Whitling
    Communications Design
  • Steve Hsu
    Website Design
  • Molly Hargather
  • Barbara Griffin
    Steering Committee Member
  • Govantez Lowndes
    Steering Committee Member/Planning Committee Member
  • Janice Rys
    Steering Committee Member
  • Tanya Coventry-Strader
    Steering Committee Member
  • Patty Tucker
    Steering Committee Member
  • Charles Green
    Steering Committee Member
  • Leo Alvarez
    Steering Committee Member
  • Bil Nussey
    Steering Committee Member