Postcard from Oxford – TEDGlobal


Attending the TED conference is always inspiring, entertaining, and energizing , and given the wide range of presenters, it is a great forum to gather ideas from leading edge researchers, writers and experts in the latest developments in science, technology, entertainment and design.  The TED organization is committed to bringing these talks to the world, as they continue to be posted on the TED website.



This past week at Oxford was a particularly diverse range of speakers as well as attendees.  With 50 talks over 3 ½ days, it seems the best way to try to absorb all the learning is to seek common threads and themes, along with considering highlights. 



Oxford Museum of Natural History - TEDGlobal Conference

From the first day, with the surprise

talk by Prime Minister Gordon Brown on shared global ethics – and the over-riding theme of environmental and social pressures on the planet, the possibilities for great human achievement presented across all disciplines were powerful.




Globalization of culture and communication, climate change, technology integration, bio-mimicry, medical and science breakthroughs, and the financial market pressures have created an unprecedented time for innovation in all market sectors. Of the 700 attendees, I met industry leaders from India, Japan, Cairo, Brazil, UK, South Africa, Hong Kong, Europe, and the US, among others – all seeking new ways of leading their businesses into the future.



For me, a few highlights were Bertrand Piccard, unveiling his new solar only powered aircraft slated to fly around the globe next summer (including through the night); Cameron Sinclair from Architecture for Humanity on construction sites around the world; Daniel Pink on the science of motivation (due out with his new book), and of course the session on city-building. We are now working with new sustainable design practices, new tools and technologies that allow us to create better cities – both in the developing world, as well as improving the cities we live in.



While caution and potential risks were debated, prevailing optimism and hope for humanity and the planet was the ultimate take away from TEDGlobal.  I’m thinking about all of this today as we develop the design of a residential and commercial center for 30,000 people in China. We have unprecedented opportunity and powerful responsibility to enhance the lives of the people and their community.