QuoTED 2016

Snippets of insight and inspiration from this year's conference

Once again set in Vancouver, TED 2016 was a gift that will keep giving. Beyond the invaluable networking, unique experiences and engaging installations, attendees were treated to a high concentration of inspiring, even life-changing, talks—several of which are already online for public viewing. Throughout the year the talks we witnessed will be rolled out for all to see. In the mean time, however, we present our annual round up of favorite quotations from the TED stage.

Keep more people out of jail by being a prosecutor, not a defendant.

Juvenile justice reformer, Adam Foss reflecting on how he looks at every case and sees the difference between a crime and a criminal.

When you doubt yourself, that is paralyzing. When you doubt your ideas, it energizes you.

Wharton professor and organizational psychologist Adam Grant looks at the successes of unconventional thinkers.

The gateway drug to making: corrugated cardboard.

MythBusters host, maker and critical thinker, Adam Savage showed us the spaceship bridge he built from cardboard in his childhood closet.

The will to act is, itself, a renewable resource.

Former Vice President and climate advocate Al Gore delivered a passionate, thoughtful and entertaining state-of-the-climate address.

Design is one of the most powerful tools available to improve quality of life.

Among other insights, Alice Rawsthorn, design critic for the International New York Times, cited Blackbeard’s skull and crossbones as the world’s first logo.

Every time I take a picture I feel like I’m sitting in front of a therapist.

Artist and photographer Angélica Dass shared her personal insights from creating Humanae, a portrait series that reveals each subject’s Pantone color and shows that race is simply a set of generalizations.

Sometimes shifting your perspective is more powerful than being smart.

Head of Google X, Astro Teller shared insight from his team’s process and reminded us to “run all the hardest problems first.”

Caffeine works much better with extraverts than introverts.

Cambridge professor and personality researcher, Brian Little presented the differences between introverts and extraverts in a rather outgoing manner, considering he’s a self-described introvert.

The gospel of doubt means that it is possible we are wrong because it raises the question, ‘Why?’

Casey Gerald questioned the future of the American Dream in an eloquent, yet sobering talk that went straight to the heart.

In virtual reality your consciousness is the medium.

Chris Milk immersed everyone in the TED theater in a simultaneous VR experience to show the true potential of the medium.

We have to stop asking ‘What’ and start asking ‘How’ do you want to be when you grow up?

Writer and entrepreneur Courtney Martin has valuable insight on raising today’s youth.

ISIS has as much to do with Islam as the KKK does with Christianity.

Dalia Mogahed is a Muslim studies scholar who offered valuable insights on the dangers of generalizations.

We need more of the courage of drag queens and astronauts.

Dan Pallota, activist, came back to the TED stage to give a short motivational talk reminding us how far we’ve evolved in such a short amount of time.

Sometimes telling the story is the thing that saves your life.

Author and self-proclaimed Misfit, Lidia Yuknavitch taught us what a misfit really is and why we should love them.

I’m happy with people looking up to the stars, but I look down to the ground and want to fix the pothole in front of me.

Linus Torvalds, software engineer and the father of Linux is incredibly self aware and non-fussed by the enormous role his operating system plays in the world.

What holds us back? The perception that the smart people always have the answers.

Dr. Mae Jemison is an engineer, entrepreneur, physician, educator and was the first woman of color in space.

Architecture can be a transformative engine for change.

Architect and founder of the MASS Design Group, Michael Murphy is committed to creating buildings that improve the well-being of the communities where they stand.

I am the peer of whoever I’m talking to.

Writer and TV Producer Norman Lear created the top shows of the 70s and 80s and today, at over 90 years old, is a free speech activist.

We are fraught with anxiety about being watched, yet are obsessed with celebrity.

R. Luke DuBois, artist and composer, presented a body of beautiful data-driven artwork that lends new insight to the nature of humanity.

We are raising our girls to be perfect and our boys to be brave. When we teach girls it’s OK to be imperfect we will build a culture of bravery.

Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code and through her work has come to develop a valuable perspective on one source of gender inequity.

My mom was a 3D printer.

Scientist and entrepreneur Riccardo Sabatini added humorous reality to a stunning presentation on decoding the human genome.

A dream job is not about dreaming.

One of the most influential writers and producers in Hollywood, Shonda Rhimes shared stories from the heart about loving work, burning out and re-finding her flame, or “hum.”

For one week in July, Twitter became a real African bar.

One of the youngest speakers at this year’s TED, 22-year-old Siyanda Mohutsiwa talked about the Twitter phenomena she created with the hashtag #ifafricawasabar which instantly stitched together the continent’s nations through playful humor.

Gross national happiness is simply development with values.

Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay warmed our hearts with stories of that nations “Gross National Happiness” and carbon negative status.

Images courtesy of TED