5 TED talks every IT leader should watch

5 TED talks every IT leader should watch

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The nonprofit TED is dedicated to spreading ideas and is best known for its short, thought-provoking talks. We scoured a slew of technology and business-related TED talks and hand-picked five videos we believe will resonate with IT leaders. We hope the talks below will inspire you on your quest to make your organizations more agile, more innovative, and to stay ahead of the curve on technology developments. Enjoy!

Want to innovate? Become a "now-ist"

Speaker: Joi Ito, Relentless mind

Why you should watch
You can't go to a conference or read an industry pub without being warned that if you're not innovating you'll be disrupted (or "Ubered") by a nimble startup. That message is loud and clear in Joi Ito's TED Talk in which he says that it's time to ditch the notion of "demo or die" and embrace "deploy or die." If you don't, someone else will. If there's someone in your organization who needs convincing that it's time to ditch long, drawn out plans in favor of more agile methodologies, this might be a good video to casually drop in their inbox.

Joi Ito: Want to innovate? Become a "now-ist"

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The single biggest reason why startups succeed

Speaker: Bill Gross, Idea guy

Why you should watch
If you're an IT leader in a large organization, chances are you've heard the advice that to see quick results on a project, you should create a startup within your company. Maybe you're already have some "startups" within your own organization. Bill Gross knows a little something about startups. The Idealab founder examined 200 startups to identify what makes the best ones successful. Is it the team? Is it the business model? Is it the funding? Is it the timing? Spoiler alert: When it comes to success for startups, timing is everything. Sure, execution matters, but timing might matter more, Gross says. If you're leading a startup initiative within your organization, Gross' advice could help save you some time.

Bill Gross: The single biggest reason why startups succeed


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Get ready for hybrid thinking

Speaker: Ray Kurzweil, Inventor, futurist

Why you should watch
In future decades, you'll look back on how you implemented your organization's hybrid cloud and think it was a piece of cake compared to coming up with a strategy for hybrid brains. Google engineering director Ray Kurzweil predicts that by the 2030s, nanobots will eventually connect our brains directly to the cloud, enabling hybrid thinking and leading to giant leap in brain power. How will your company's BYOD policy handle hybrid brains?

Ray Kurzweil: Get ready for hybrid thinking


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This app knows how you feel  from the look on your face

Speaker: Rana el Kaliouby, Computer scientist

Why you should watch
Does your mobile application roadmap include plans to read the emotions of users? If not, you may want to start planning for it because computer scientist Rana el Kaliouby thinks that in five years "all our devices are going to have an emotion chip, and we won't remember what it was like when we couldn't just frown at our device and our device would say, 'Hmm, you didn't like that, did you?'" In this talk, she explains the technology behind giving our devices emotional intelligence, allowing cameras to accurately read the emotions on our faces. Learn what implications this could have for business, healthcare, and teaching. It may influence the way you plan and develop future apps.

Rana el Kaliouby: This app knows how you feel — from the look on your face


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How a driverless car sees the road

Speaker: Chris Urmson, Roboticist

Why you should watch
If you've only been scanning the headlines on driverless cars, you may not realize how far they've come. Just this month, Google's self-driving cars hit the streets of Austin, Texas for testing (until now, they've primarily been tested around Google's California headquarters). In this talk, Google's director of self-driving cars Chris Urmson shows viewers just how these driverless cars see the road. Using software, sensors, and cameras, these cars are well beyond navigating lane changes and traffic lights. See how they handle flashing lights of emergency vehicles, construction zones, and even the unexpected  like someone chasing ducks in the street. See the technology with your own eyes and decide for yourself if its likely you'll be commuting in one someday. Urmson says Google is "pretty convinced this technoogy is going to come to market."

Chris Urmson: How a driverless car sees the road


Read the transcript

Are there any TED talks you love that we didn't include? Let us know in the comments.
As community manager for The Enterprisers Project, Ginny Hamilton helps build the site's community of CIOs, IT leaders, and readers.

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