TEDxBoston 2014 wall

This year, for the sixth consecutive year, Collective Next served as co-curator of TEDxBoston. In recent weeks, we’ve used this space to go deep on some of the talks and performances we worked on most closely. Today we’re sharing videos of every element of TEDxBoston 2014. We’ve gotten requests to put all the TEDxBoston videos in one place; enjoy!

George Whitesides, professor of chemistry at Harvard, spoke at our very first TEDxBoston back in 2009. He returned this year to open the day with a talk on The Origins of Life, delivering a gripping update on the search for not only how life started but how to discover whether the conditions for life are present. He started the day of asking big questions with perhaps the biggest one of all.


Carrie Fitzsimmons and Andrea Sachdeva talked about ArtScience Labs, an international network of innovation and creativity labs. They delivered a lively talk on the conditions that make creativity and innovation possible, with a timely local angle: their Massachusetts lab, Le Laboratoire Cambridge, opened that very evening.


We’ve previously covered Tim Phillips’s talk on the Neuroscience of Social Conflict. His talk will make you think about how new advances in brain science can lead us to reconsider how people work (or don’t work) together.



  Dyan DeNapoli, “The Penguin Lady,” returned to TEDxBoston to share her work saving penguins in peril. Her sober talk served as an introduction to what has become an extremely popular TED-ED video.


Steve Ramirez and Xui Liu, the breakout stars on TEDx2013, returned to update their work using lasers to create memories in mice. As we’ve noted previously here, their talk this year focused on activating positive memories.


We’re fans of email newsletters here at Collective Next (and we’ll be debuting one of our own early next year). One of our favorites is Bostonology, Sonya Kovacic’s simultaneously understated and ambitious forum for celebrating one great thing about Boston every day.


  Led by Anthony Trecek-King, the Boston Children’s Chorus closed our first session with an outstanding rescue of an American classic that’s been treated pretty poorly. We’ve written about it in detail, but what you really want to do is see and hear it.


Kent Larson and his team from MIT — Ryan Chin, Caleb Harper, and Ira Winder — talk about how to make cities more liveable and city planners more engaged. They walked us through a whirlwind of aeroponic urban farms, autonomous personal mobility vehicles, and a 3D data observatory.


  One of the emotional high points of the day was undoubtedly Ellen Goodman’s talk on The Conversation Project. The conversation she’s referring to is the conversation we have with our loved ones regarding how we want to be cared for while we’re dying. 



Classical guitarist Eliot Fisk, in his second appearance at TEDxBoston, performed a pair of classics.




   The third set of the day, which was simulcast by WBUR, kicked off with one of the day’s more controversial talks: Astro and Danielle Teller’s discussion of how everything we think we know about divorce is wrong. They identified some of the sacred cows of marriage and divorce, and pierced them one by one.



     Vibha Tingle, founder of Ubuntu at Work, examined how the global supply chain helped 5,000 women work their way from entrenched poverty to economic prosperity.


   Tim Prestero of Design That Matters came to TEDxBoston 2014 with a simple but profoundly ambitious question: How can a few people, on a shoestring budget, save half a million lives? And then he showed how his organization is doing it.


Entrepreneur Mickey Cockrell, a Mass Challenge winner, showed how her organization Catie’s Closet helps level the playing field for kids with limited means by making it much easier for kids suffering from poverty to stay in school. 


   Poet, performer, and lecturer Regie Gibson performed “Cry Havoc,” in which he connected some of Shakespeare’s toughest words with one of mankind’s toughest problems. 



   We dare you to experience this performance by Marcus Santos’ Global Drumming Group and not feel good and loose afterward. We thought it would be an ideal opener for the fourth and final session of the day, which, as you’ll see, soon turned quite intense.


   Innovation goes two ways: it’s not just developed countries dictating innovation to the developing world. Amos Winter and Tish Scolnick showed how to engineer reverse innovation and develop unexpected and very useful products.


   Andrew McAfee, in another return engagement, considered what about new technologies should worry us — and which shouldn’t — in his talk about the Second Machine Age. Things are getting better, but at what cost?


   We wrote previously about Rainey Tisdale’s talk, “Our Year of Mourning,” in which she shared her work curating an exhibit of the objects left behind at the site of the Boston Marathon bombing. She illuminated what the exhibit meant to the community — and what putting it together meant for her.


   In Ten Things I Want to Say to a 10 Year Old I Once Knew, poet and Pine Manor student Susan Le looks back and offers to a new generation of girls what she wishes she knew then, with humor and pathos.


   Noah Wilson-Rich returned the TEDxBoston to update us on Our Future With Bees. The lives of our two species are more interrated that you might imagine.


   Rob Osgood, who runs the Emergency Management Program at Tufts Medical Center, has a specific, smashing way to counter stress: The Power of Vicarious Rehearsal. Using his hospital’s reaction to the Boston Marathon bombings as his prime example, he shows how we can prepare for anything.


   Nancy Frates is the mother of Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 and inspired the ice bucket challenge that led us all to soak ourselves this summer. In An Ice Bucket Worth Spreading, Nancy tells us her story, shows us how a crazy idea became a viral phenomenon, and inspired us to take control over our situations as surely as she and her family did. The last talk of the day, it ended in a spontaneous standing ovation.


   Note: the image that opens and closes this post captures the group scribing our team created during the day-long event. For the first time, we undertook the scribing on two big boards rather than set aside one board for each talk. Doing it this way allowed us to focus on the most important part of each talk and discover some fascinating connections across the talks.

TEDxBoston 2014 wall