[email protected] 2022 conferences

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The world is facing an unprecedented rate of change. In a day of talks and performances, a diverse group of experts explore how to stay ahead – covering everything from the value of purpose in business to the democratization of storytelling and the exciting potential human-AI collaboration.

The event: [email protected] 2022 is the twelfth event that TED and Boston Consulting Group have co-hosted to spotlight leading thinkers from around the world. Organized by TED’s Head of Partnerships Lisa Choi Owenswith introductory remarks by Christopher SchweizerBCG CEO.

A special function: For this event, TED reached out to five former speakers (all brilliant business leaders) and asked them a question: What idea in the business world isn’t being adopted fast enough? The five speakers — Margaret Heffernan, Angela Duckworth, Danielle Moss, Jacqueline Novogratz and Tim Leberecht – gave diverse and enlightening answers.

The music: Singer-songwriter Land of Lex offers audiences a representation of his mid-century Texas swing.

The talks in brief:

Ashley M. Grice speaks at [email protected] at TED World Theater in New York City on February 17, 2022. (Photo: Gilberto Tadday/TED)

Ashley M. Gricelens specialist

Big idea: Purpose can anchor meaning and authenticity in every aspect of a business, from the top floor to the shop floor.

How? ‘Or’ What? Ashley M. Grice thinks a lot about how businesses can live and breathe their “why”. Different from mission statements or visions, which naturally change over time, a company’s “why” (or purpose) is timeless and impacts its entire philosophy. She shares the example of a flight attendant who went above and beyond by thoughtfully giving Grice extra snacks on a busy day, a kind gesture that reflected the company’s culture of purpose. airline company. Sharing helpful business tips, Grice details three important things to know to embed purpose into your company’s muscle memory: 1) Be authentic and live by the values; 2) Purpose exists at the crossroads of idealism and realism – and it is meant to be uncomfortable; 3) The goal must impact all layers of a business, from a CEO’s strategy to middle management decision-making to frontline worker visibility. By continually reflecting on the journey to the goal, this becomes the norm – and everyone’s role is important.


Shervin Khodabandeh speaks at [email protected] at TED World Theater in New York City on February 17, 2022. (Photo: Gilberto Tadday/TED)

Shervin Khodabandeh, human and AI visionary

Big idea: We often think of AI as a technology that will one day replace human skills, but AI alone cannot solve all of our problems. What if, instead of overinvesting in advanced algorithms, we combined the data-driven strengths of AI with the unique capabilities of human thought? Shervin Khodabandeh shows how fostering a symbiotic relationship between people and AI creates more financial value for businesses, a happier workforce, and a sweet spot on which difficult problems can be solved.

How? ‘Or’ What? Even though companies around the world are spending billions of dollars to develop AI capabilities, Khodabandeh says only 10% are seeing meaningful returns on their investments. He thinks one way to solve this problem is to use AI in conjunction with the creativity, judgment, empathy and ethics that humans offer. But how exactly can companies establish mutually beneficial human-AI relationships? First, Kodabandeh says companies should identify the unique role that AI systems could play in their organization – not simply as replacements for humans, but as illuminators of innovative solutions or recommendations to improve the grip. of decision. Next, companies should take advantage of feedback loops, through which humans and AI can learn from each other. Finally, they should use this knowledge to determine which combination of human-AI roles and skills best suits specific business needs. When this happens, an organization’s overall learning rate increases, making it more agile, resilient, and adaptable. “It’s the human touch that will bring out the best in AI,” says Kodabandeh.


Ken Chenault in conversation with TED Curator of Current Affairs Whitney Pennington Rodgers at [email protected] at TED World Theater in New York City on February 17, 2022. (Photo: Gilberto Tadday/TED)

Ken Chenault, entrepreneur, in conversation with Whitney Pennington RodgersCurator of Current Affairs at TED

Big idea: In times of crisis, leaders have a responsibility to inspire hope, stay grounded in core values, and ultimately serve and empower the people they lead.

How? ‘Or’ What? “The best leaders recognize that leadership is both a responsibility and a privilege,” says Ken Chenault, who believes that if you want to lead, you must be ready to serve. This mindset is especially crucial in times of crisis, when people depend on leaders to fulfill two key responsibilities: contextualizing challenges and emphasizing the potential to overcome them. Chenault says one of the most important leadership strategies a company can have is understanding how to empower the people it serves — from employees and customers to investors and stakeholders. Working with organizations like General Catalyst, which focuses technology in construction companies, and OneTen, which helps Black Americans secure family careers, he advocates for responsible innovation: a principle that says companies can and must respond. to the needs of their subscribers in an inclusive framework. way, while investing in new technologies. By upholding their integrity, fostering creative change and challenging the status quo, leaders have the opportunity to transform the workforce and empower people to embark on their own leadership journey.


Hyeonmi Kim speaks at [email protected] at TED World Theater in New York City on February 17, 2022. (Photo: Gilberto Tadday/TED)

Hyeonmi Kimstrategy consultant

great idea: The next big stories come from the bizarre and fantastical world of webtoons.

How? ‘Or’ What? Pop culture is evolving with a different kind of storytelling, says Hyeonmi Kim. They’re called webtoons: stories told using comic book-style illustrations that are published in short segments (usually on a weekly basis) and meant to be read on a smartphone in five to ten minutes. Originating in Korea, webtoons have surged out of niche platforms and onto the big screen, such as with Netflix Hell, which reached the platform’s top 10 in 2022 after its release as a webtoon in South Korea in 2019. Kim sees webtoons as a democratization of storytelling – anyone can share a story and find an audience – and an opportunity for up-and-coming creators to potentially achieve massive success. Additionally, webtoons traverse the closed ecosystem of mainstream media screenwriters, where the same screenwriters script (suspectly similar) blockbusters, establishing a new, rich and varied storytelling pipeline. “The writers are diverse and creative, and so are their stories,” Kim says.


Bernhard Kowatsch speaks at [email protected] at TED World Theater in New York on February 17, 2022. (Photo: Gilberto Tadday/TED)

Bernard Kowatsch, social entrepreneur

Big idea: Grand global challenges are no different from global trade challenges.

How? ‘Or’ What? Why do we so traditionally think of some of the world’s greatest challenges? Bernhard Kowatsch talks about issues like world hunger, for example. After he and his business partner developed a successful app to easily feed hungry children around the world, Kowatsch was inspired to do more. The opportunity has arisen to lead the World Food Program’s Innovation Accelerator, replicating what Silicon Valley does well but for global social good – in this case, supporting start-up and non-profit innovations. lucrative worldwide and help them scale successfully to disrupt hunger. Since 2015, the program has positively impacted the lives of more than eight million people, doubling year on year with initiatives such as Building Blocks (a blockchain-backed way for aid organizations to provide food to refugees) and the invention of a machine that fortifies flour with nutrients. Kowatsch asks the question: Can accelerating innovation and technology help solve some of the world’s problems? He absolutely believes it – and has the evidence to prove it. The only barrier now is our own thinking.

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