2017’s Best TED Talks on Creativity to Watch

Break creative block and get inspired with these 2017 TED Talks by artists, designers and other creators.

heathwick tedtalk best creativity hero

Creativity itself comes in many forms. The popular media company, TED (short for Technology, Entertainment and Design), strives to inspire and spread ideas that ignite change and innovation. Their motivational talks have been viewed millions of times across the globe. Lecturers range from artists to icons, from models to engineers, and the topics they explore are equally as diverse.

Whether you’re looking for the inspiration to bring an idea alive or simply looking to pass the time, these 15 talks are sure to get your creativity flowing. Each talk featured below was chosen by Invaluable for their passion and correlation to the art community. They are each concisely summarized to help narrow your area of interest, from musing on the philosophy of design to capturing creative genius.

Read more about creative thinking here

Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status

1. Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson makes a moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) student creativity.


Don’t be daunted. Just do your job.

2. Your Elusive Creative Genius

Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we tend to expect from artists and shares the radical idea that all of us have genius.


You can find the strange in the familiar, as long as you’re willing to look beyond what’s already been brought to light.

3. Your Body is My Canvas

Alexa Meade shares her innovative approach to art by painting over everything, including people, in a scene by incorporating them in the frame.


Use what you know… [this means] capturing a truth from your experiencing it, expressing values you personally feel deep down in your core.

4. The Clues to a Great Story

Filmmaker Andrew Stanton shares what he knows about storytelling in reverse order.


Once you believe something’s real, you transfer everything that you feel about it, this quality you have, and it’s totally artificial. It’s totally make-believe, yet it’s not to you.

5. The Art of Creating Awe

Robert Legato shares his unique vision for enhancing what we see through movie effects that outshine reality.

IMDB: Robert Legato

I liked the fine detail it gave my work, but I wanted to make them larger—to shift from being an object you look at to something you could get lost in.

6. Taking Imagination Seriously

Janet Echelman found her true voice when her paints went missing, forcing her to innovate with new art materials.


Now you have a duty: invent a new story. Invent a new poetry.

7. Design and Destiny

Designer Phillipe Starck reaches for the very roots of the question “Why design?” in the search for the perfect mantra for all of us, genius or not.


Much, much more difficult is this, where the designs actually can evoke happiness.

8. Happiness by Design

Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister takes the audience on a whimsical journey through moments of his life that made him happy, highlighting elements of good design.


The key part is trying to give back an extraordinary piece of landscape, rather than engulf it.

9. Building the Seed Cathedral

Thomas Heatherwick shows five recent projects featuring ingenious bio-inspired designs including the Seed Cathedral, a celebration of growth and light.


I was longing for more work that was appealing to a broad public, that was accessible. And the second thing was more exquisite craftsmanship and technique.

10. How I Became 100 Artists

Shea Hembrey staged an international art show with works from 100 artists he invented himself.


Can art change people’s lives? From what I’ve seen this year, yes.

11. One Year of Turning the World Inside Out

Street artist JR shows how giant posters of human faces created in public are connecting communities, making change, and turning the world inside out.


We’re really looking at an audience as its own object or its own organism that’s also got a sort of musical-like quality to it, an instrument.

12. Art That Craves Your Attention

Artist Aparna Rao shows her latest cool, cartoony sculptures that play with your perception.


Dream time, I will find you.

13. Glorious Visions in Animation and Performance

Miwa Matreyek performs a gorgeous, meditative piece using animation, projections, and her own moving shadow.


For me, my art is my magic carpet ride.

14. My 5 Lives as an Artist

Raghava KK tells the colorful tale of his reincarnations as an artist, from cartoonist to painter, media darling to social outcast, and son to father.


Well, makers of things: they make things more beautiful, more elegant, more comfortable than the craftsmen do.

15. The Playful Search for Beauty

The ceramics designer Eva Zeisel looks back on a 75-year career and her sense of play and beauty, as well as her drive for adventure.


More on creativity:
Listen Up: 12 Podcasts For Better Creative Thinking
20 Must-Subscribe YouTube Channels for Photographers
How Horoscopes Affect Your Creativity

This list was originally published on the Invaluable blog, and republished here with permission.

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