Ramonna Robinson and I tuned in for the second session of the TED2011 conference yesterday – Majestic. Speakers included:
- Handspring – Puppeteers
- Sunni Brown – Visualizer and gamestorming
- Paul Nicklen – Polar photographer
- Thomas Heatherwick – Designer
- Bobby McFerrin – Musician
We chatted afterwards about overarching themes, and the one that really jumped out for both of us was the idea of taking old ways of thinking, deconstructing them and coming up with whole new approaches in the process. For me, it boiled down to the word “inspiration.” Specific examples included:
- Handspring took the concept of a horse and recreated it in the form of a majestic puppet. At the same time, they took the concept of puppet and turned it into an entirely new thing – incredibly convincing and lifelike.
- Sunni Brown discussed the topic of doodling. Rather than viewing it as a waste of time, she positioned it as a powerful thinking and learning tool. Here’s to freely doodling during work meetings!
- Leopard seals typically have the reputation of being vicious predators. Paul Nicklen spent four days in frigid Arctic waters to test that perception and ended up bonding with a female leopard seal that was bound and determined to take care of him by feeding him penguins.
- In designing apartment buildings in Malaysia, Thomas Heatherwick and his team turned typical design principles on their heads. Rather than giving the buildings square bases, they reduced the square-footage on the ground level, added it to the more valuable higher levels of the buildings and opened up space for rainforest regrowth in the process.
- Always innovative in his music, Bobby McFerrin turned the audience into his band, pulling audience members up onstage with him as he improvised songs for a good 20 minutes!
It’s amazing what we can do when we let go of old ways of thinking and approach concepts and projects with a fresh, new perspective!