5 TED talks to inspire your inner genius

Because inspiration is the fickle mistress at the best of times.

As much as we’d love to be inspired, motivated and bursting with creativity all day, every day, it doesn’t always work out that way (I, for one, have been staring at this page for a good 20 minutes now).

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the +1900 Ted talks currently online are indeed a great source of ‘ideas worth spreading’ (though some perhaps more worthy than others) and can serve as a very serviceable source of inspiration nothing else seems to work.

So if you’re having one of those days when lightning simply refuses to strike, check out the five recent Ted talks below that focus on innovation and creativity. Think of them as a morning cup of coffee for your muse.

1)

Who? Navi Radjou

What? Creative problem-solving in the face of extreme limits

The juice: Limited resources can lead to limitless thinking.

Radjou provides some fascinating examples of how emerging communities around the world are getting the maximum innovation out of the starkest of circumstances. Radjou talks about recharging your cell phone with your bike, how to create drinkable water out of thin air and why the West’s ‘more for more’ philosophy is simply not conducive to creative thinking.

Watch it here.

2)

Who? Taika Waititi

What? The Art of Creativity

The juice: Creativity is everywhere.

Taika Waititi, one of New Zealand’s most beloved actors, writers and directors, gives what may be one of history’s most casual Ted Talks here, riffing on creativity, eccentricity and the state of himself, the world and the imaginative industries.

Watch it here

3)

Who? Joi Ito

What? Want to innovate? Become a "now-ist"

The juice: Too many ideas stall before they even start due to pointless forward-looking thinking.

Build it and they will come, says Ito. Trying to predict the future is futile, adaptation and improvisation is where it’s at, so stop planning for the future and become a ‘now-ist’.

Watch it here

4)

Who? Chris Milk

What? How virtual reality can create the ultimate empathy machine

The juice: Inspiration comes in many forms.

This talk offers a fascinating look at how Milk’s childhood obsession with Evel Knievel has informed  his cutting edge media experiments, including music videos with Kanye West, virtual reality with the United Nations and the ‘ultimate empathy machine’.

Watch it here

5)

Who? Kenneth Shinozuka

What? My simple invention, designed to keep my grandfather safe

The juice: The simplest of ideas can also be the most ingenious.

Teenage inventor Kenneth Shinozuka gives a short but fascinating talk about how his ultra-simple—but completely inspired—invention helped his Alzheimer’s-afflicted grandfather, and the power of simple technology to change people’s lives for the better.

Watch it here