Alumni TED Talks
Alumni TED Talks
Can global markets spark social change? What do you do when your beliefs fail you? What can shortcuts teach us? Several Harvard Business School alumni tackle these topics and more in inspiring TED talks.
03 Jan 2017  

Since the first TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk took place as a one-off event in the 1980s, the annual conference series has grown into an international phenomenon.

Thanks to the advent and proliferation of the internet, anyone with wifi and a connected device can access individual TED talks on almost any subject. Several Harvard Business School alumni have appeared as part of the series and their presentations have accounted for more than 10 million views to date. Six of those talks are offered below.

Ravin Agrawal (MBA 1995), 10 Young Indian Artists to Watch

Collector Ravin Agrawal delivers a glowing introduction to 10 of India's most exciting young contemporary artists. Working in a variety of media, each draws on their local culture for inspiration.

Audrey Choi (MBA 2004), How to Make a Profit While Making a Difference

Can global capital markets become catalysts for social change? According to investment expert Audrey Choi, individuals own almost half of all global capital, giving them (us!) the power to make a difference by investing in companies that champion social values and sustainability. "We have more opportunity today than ever before to make choices," she says. "So change your perspective. Invest in the change you want to see in the world."

Casey Gerald (MBA 2014), The Gospel of Doubt

What do you do when your firmly held beliefs turn out not to be true? When Casey Gerald's religion failed him, he searched for something new to believe in — in business, in government, in philanthropy — but found only false saviors. In this moving talk, Gerald urges us all to question our beliefs and embrace uncertainty.

Tom Hulme (MBA 2007), What Can We Learn from Shortcuts?

How do you build a product people really want? Allow consumers to be a part of the process. "Empathy for what your customers want is probably the biggest leading indicator of business success," says designer Tom Hulme. In this short talk, Hulme lays out three insightful examples of the intersection of design and user experience, where people have developed their own desire paths out of necessity. Once you know how to spot them, you'll start noticing them everywhere.

Sal Khan (MBA 2003), Let's Use Video to Reinvent Education and Let's Teach for Mastery, Not Test Scores

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script — give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

Would you choose to build a house on top of an unfinished foundation? Of course not. Why, then, do we rush students through education when they haven't always grasped the basics? Yes, it's complicated, but educator Sal Khan shares his plan to turn struggling students into scholars by helping them master concepts at their own pace.


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