By Dean Whittaker

Many of you have visited (TED stands for Technology, Entertain, and Design) and watched the 20 minute web streaming videos by presenters who share their ideas at the annual TED conference held in Long Beach, California each year. This year, TED offered an opportunity to join the TED Talks as an associate member and access a live web stream from the conference, which Whittaker Associates decided to do. The four day event that took place Feb. 17-22 was insightful, inspiring, and rich in innovative ideas. I have summarized a few of the presentations at

Here are some of the recently released TED Talks for TED 2010:

Jamie Oliver, a chef from the UK, stole the show with his impassioned talk about his efforts to save lives in Huntington, WV by addressing the issue of obesity. Huntington, WV is the most obese city in the country. He said that this is the first generation in which children will have a shorter life span than their parents. You can watch his talk at I think you will find his talk inspiring.

Philip K. Howard discusses four ways to fix a broken legal system. Mr. Howard spoke about the need to simplify our legal system in order to limit its impact on our culture. Today, the legal system is changing how we live our lives due to fear of legal action. He describes the need to re-frame our legal system taking into account broader society rights ahead of individual rights. To learn more about his ideas go to

As our world becomes more virtual, Microsoft Bing Maps staff, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, demonstrated an amazing new “augmented reality mapping program. Those of you with a technology bent will enjoy this TED Talk

Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism as a child, talks about how her mind works — sharing her ability to “think in pictures,” which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.

Bill Gates spoke about his concern regarding energy and climate and revealed his vision for the world’s energy future.

So where do we go from here? Here are two ideas worth sharing: 1) Our local economic development organization, Lakeshore Advantage, hosts a TED Talk periodically and invites a group of local entrepreneurs to have lunch, view a TED Talk, and discuss it; and 2) In the age of the idea economy, innovation occurs at the intersection of domains. TED is offering a new series called TEDx which are local self-organized TED-type of events. So, if you want your area to become known as the go-to-place for ideas and innovation in a particular field of knowledge, why not host your own local TEDx as several cities are doing? Check it out at