9 inspiring TED talks about designers, freethinkers and visualists

The TED Organization has been holding conferences since 1984, choosing the most interesting topics and the most innovative ideas. Each speech at the TED conference is called a TED talk and usually published online. Today the official TED website has accumulated over 400 videos. And since all of the talks are devoted to unimaginably interesting topics, designers, architects and other representatives of creative professions can often find inspiration from it. In this article, we have collected several Ted speeches by designers and visionaries about non-standard thinking, technologies in design and the nature of the creative process.

A man speaking on the stage

TED talks

1. Joe Gebbia: How Airbnb designs for trust

A co-founder of a home rental website called Airbnb, Joe Gebbia, tells how their company was able to monetize hospitality. The designers faced a very difficult task. They had to convince the owners of the apartments to let strangers into their homes.

In his talk, Joe Gebbia tells how to build trust on the Internet with the help of a proper website design and how creativity may help to turn fear into fun. You will also find out how the Internet, where users are not afraid or shy of each other, can become the first step to the economy of joint consumption.

2. Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius

Nowadays the idea that creativity and suffering are connected is perceived as an undeniable truth. But should it really be so? Representatives of creative professions are often experiencing enormous psychological pressure from the society. Public attention is constantly attracted to their work, everyone is wondering whether they will create something great or not. And even if a masterpiece has already been born, the artist still does not have an opportunity to fully relax. He is tormented by the thought that the main achievement is already over, and that, perhaps, he will never create anything meaningful again.

The writer and an author of the “Eat Pray Love” bestseller, teaches how to cope with the psychological aspects of the creative profession. She advises recalling the practices of the Ancient Greece and Rome, where creativity was inextricably linked with demons and muses. And therefore a part of creative success and responsibility was automatically shifted to higher powers.

3. Don Norman: 3 ways good design makes you happy

We all sometimes come across very elegant design solutions, which in reality harm the functionality of things. Do these designs make any sense? Former Apple vice president thinks that they do, it just depends on the user’s point of view. He says that we all look different at a certain object because of the different levels of perception: intuitive, behavioral and mental.

When one person likes his old ugly, but unbreakable watch that works with no failures, the other one will be happy to have the alien Philippe Starck juicer, in which you cannot squeeze the juice because it will damage the coating. And both points of view have the right to exist.

4. Rochelle King: The complex relationship between data and design in UX

Website development is both vision and adaptation at the same time. The quality design has to take in account user’s interests and problems as well as the company’s goals. This is why website designers and developers are facing a great responsibility.

The senior designer at Spotify, Rochelle King tells how design changes the perception of the content of the site. Rochelle gives an interesting example from a Spotify experience when the interface of a website was changed from light to dark and users started to have a feeling that the song choice has expanded, when in fact no more options we added. You will also learn how to work with the user’s feedback and why the idea that a designer may anticipate customer’s desires is dangerous.

5. John Maeda: Designing for simplicity

According to the designer John Maeda, the popularity of simplicity has remained with us all this time due to the people’s constant desire to make their life easier. This tendency is especially noticeable in design. It is not for nothing designers often dress in all black, the logos of the most famous companies often have simple shapes and many architectural solutions are designed in a minimalist way. This also applies to contemporary art and John Maeda shows and example how French fries and camera instructions become a source of inspiration.

6. Linda Hill: How to manage for collective creativity

Global innovative projects cannot be done without a creative team. But here comes a question how to organize the work of a large number of creative people, so that it all does not turn into chaos? A professor from Harvard Business School Linda Hill has studied the experience of several companies (including Pixar and Google) and came to a conclusion that the main factor of a productive work is the right atmosphere. In her talk, Linda tells about the benefits of discussions and disagreements and what the product owner should do in order to bring something new to the market.

7. Alice Rawsthorn : Pirates, nurses and other rebel designers

Alice Rawsthorn supports a romantic idea that design starts with a dream and moves forward by rebels and freethinkers, who may not even have an appropriate education. In her TED talk, she tells three stories about the ruler, the pirate and the nurse, who through their visionary thinking, have tried to solve the problems through intuitive design. The world needs not only professionals but also improvisers who are not afraid to take risks and offer ideas that, at first glance, cannot be implemented.

8. Tony Fadell: The first secret of design is … noticing

Sooner or later we all get used to not only good things but the bad once also and learn to stop noticing any inconvenience in the long run. For most people, this is simply necessary, because it is extremely tedious to constantly analyze everything that is happening around. But it is different for designers and innovators.

Tony Fadell in his lecture talks about the importance of the fresh look in design because it is the designer, who must correct those inconveniences that make our life less happy, whether it’s stickers on the apple that are glued too hard or an uncharged phone battery. Fadell encourages designers to be attentive to detail and not to be afraid of stupid questions.

9. David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence

David Kelley talks about the idea that separating creative and not creative people is wrong because we all have creative skills from birth. It is just that the creative abilities of some people cannot be revealed due to the fear of criticism. Insecurity in one’s own strengths can take root in a person in childhood as a result of teachers or classmate’s disapproval and remain for the rest of their life. David believes that you can get rid of this phobia with the help of a series of small victories.

A person who has stepped over his own fear can create more non-standard ideas. As an example, David Kelley talks about Doug Dietz, a medical equipment engineer at General Electric, who not only took part in a creation of a new model of a magnetic resonance imaging device but also found the way to turn frightening for children MRI procedure into a fun adventure on a pirate ship.