The 5 essential TED Talks for CEOs

Posted by media on January 17, 2017 at 9:00 AM

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With the motto of “Ideas worth spreading”, TED Talks are already very popular all over the world. Promoted by the non-profit organization with the same name, they date back to 1984, but it was in 2006 when its free distribution through the Internet made them global phenomenon.

TED talks deal with all types of topics, with the ultimate goal of expanding a deeper understanding of our world. To do so, prominent people in a certain field to new talents in the most varied disciplines share their reflections in sessions no longer than 18 minutes.

For example, TED Talks speakers include politicians such as Bill Clinton or Al Gore, musicians like Bono from U2, or stars from the tech world such as the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Due to the extraordinary proliferation of new talks around the world created under the TED brand, in this post we want to list five talks especially relevant for CEOs.

This post is also available in Spanish.

The 5 TED Talks that every CEO should watch

1. Philip Evans -
How Data Will Transform Business

The Senior Partner and Managing Director of the prestigious consulting company Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is also the co-author of the influential book Blown to Bits, which in 1999 anticipated that increased connectivity in the world would change the communication channels between companies and their customers. Since then, he has become the authoritative voice in the digital revolution, and in this talk he emphatically dismantles two theories of business strategy considered supreme for a long time: on the one hand, the experience curve from Bruce Henderson, founder of BCG consulting company. According to Henderson, the more experience a company has in doing something, the lesser the costs are to do so (increasing returns). On the other, the concept of the value chain, coined by Michael Porter, Professor of Harvard University.

2. Zach Johnson - Relationship Analytics Are Changing The Way We Manage Business

The co-founder of Syndio Social, a company that specializes in analyzing how employees relate to the company and offers insights to improve their performance (aka a people analytics tool), discusses the relationship between human behavior, that of companies and the interaction between employees with data analysis. Johnson brings to his successful analysis not only his experience at Syndio, the company where he was the CEO until the end of 2016, but also his time collaborating with the US Army, NASA or the prestigious MacArthur Foundation.

3. Linda Hill - How To Manage For Collective Creativity

Under the title “How to manage for collective creativity,” the Harvard University Professor and co-author of the bestseller Collective Genius explains in this popular talk which factors contribute to creativity in organizations, based on the cases of some of the most disruptive companies in the world. In particular, the case of Pixar serves as a summary of the tools and techniques that can help companies to make sure that ideas never stop flowing inside.  

4. Travis Kalanick - Uber's Plan To Get More People Into Fewer Cars

The CEO of Uber is undoubtedly one of the most authoritative voices among the large technology companies today. In this talk he explains how the project came about, based on his quixotic ideas of how to solve traffic jams or pollution, and on the balance of services such as uberPOOL. Within its first eight months uberPOOL avoided 1,4000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted in the city of Los Angeles. Kalanick also shares three great recommendations to entrepreneurs, but we will only unveil the first: don't be afraid to review your image if your audience changes. You have the other two with just one click!

5. Elizabeth Gilbert - Your Elusive Creative Genius

And finally, a little of romance … and common sense. Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the popular bestseller adapted to the big screen by Julia Roberts ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, proposes a radical theory in this talk, which is that traditional thinking about what it means to be a genius creates a serious threat for the guru that we all have inside. The result: it’s impossible to listen to her for 18 minutes and not end up wanting to take over the world.

If you were not familiar with TED Talks we hope that you enjoy these five, and that we have managed to awaken your interest to keep exploring this world of unlimited shared knowledge.

This post is also available in Spanish.

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Topics: Digital Transformation

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