Innova-TED Thinking!

If you haven’t seen a TED or TEDx video yet, then you need to do something about that!


TED is a non-profit organisation whose mission can be encapsulated in its three word slogan; Ideas Worth Spreading. The TED organisation holds a huge number of major and minor conferences around the world where the world’s best thinkers and doers are invited to give the talk of their lives with a strict 18 minute time limit. And the result is a hugely diverse range of videos featured on their website,, covering every issue from ‘The Magic of Fibonacci Numbers’ to ‘What I discovered in New York City trash’.

Everybody has an area of speciality whether it is comic books, electronic pop music, the economic history of Russia or even a deep understanding of the intricacies of the Fibonacci sequence. And while some of the areas of speciality highlighted by TED are completely out of our comfort zone or cover topics in which we have no interest, it is a mistake to assume they are no use to our own exploits. These talks are something that everyone can benefit from, no matter what industry you work in.

The beauty of the TED system is that it combines the best and brightest from many different fields and documents their own stories of ingenuity and courageousness in their own fields. The advantage of this process is that the knowledge gathered from watching these talks is conveyed through human experiences rather than pure facts and figures which you might find in an academic presentation. As such, the learnings generally also transcend the boundaries of that field.

But what does this have to do with marketing?

Well, when it comes to creating new and exciting marketing the answer doesn’t always lie within the marketing field. Inspiration can be drawn from the learnings of a neuroscientist, a magician or the CEO of a large multi-national company. And due to the ‘universal’ nature of the TED learnings it is easy to find a whole new way of approaching a marketing problem from watching a completely unrelated video.

And often these new approaches provide new areas of insight. Ways of solving a problem that we had never even contemplated.

In order for any industry to remain innovative it is necessary to take these learnings from other industries and see if they add anything to our own. Who knows, the inspiration behind a great medical breakthrough may also inspire a new way of viewing an education problem. Or the story of a swim through the North Pole may stimulate a new way of looking at marketing.

And I’m serious about that last one. The plight of a swimmer who endeavoured to complete a long-distance swim through every ocean on the Earth has inspired me to come up with a new approach for entertainment marketing. An approach which I will discuss next week.