Guest Post by Author Ken Wilson

While business is often thought to be a dry subject dealing with numbers and statistics, it is actually one of the core drivers of creating new technology. One of the most important components of business is creativity, and business at its best can lead to transformative technology. Because business has the potential to change how people live their lives, the topic is a popular one at TED. Here are three great TED videos on business and creativity.

1) Do the Green Thing



Green is one of the hottest buzzwords these days, and many people are taking steps to live their lives in a manner that harms the environment as little as possible. In addition, many business managers feel an obligation to ensure that they are not harming the environment more than is necessary. Despite this altruism, however, money is the most important factor for a business, and many managers choose to maximize their profits even if it damages the environment.

As a result, many green activists have little faith that business managers can be expected to take responsibility unless business is heavily regulated. Andy Hobsbawm, however, begs to differ, and he notes that going green is not just good for the environment but also a smart business move. With compelling data and some interesting ideas, Mr. Hobsbawm present some thoughts that may change how businesses operate.

2) Making Global Labor Fair


In many ways, the world is shrinking. Communicating around the globe has become affordable thanks to the Internet, and companies are constantly looking for ways to save money by using labor in other nations. The cost of living in developing nations is lower, and people are able to live comfortably in some countries while earning less than a dollar per day.

These reduced labor costs make business more affordable in the developing world, but they also come with some disadvantages. Workers in the developed world can lose their jobs, and there are no guarantees that foreign labor is safe and equitable for workers. In addition, many of these workers are not able to make enough to increase their station in life, and many nations do not see increased standards of living after signing free trade agreements. Auret van Heerden proposes a new way of looking at global labor and has some suggestions for proceeding in an economical sound but ethical manner. Emphasizing the benefits to businesses, van Heerden makes a compelling case that fair labor should be a priority of businesses that utilize foreign labor.

3) Engineering a Better Life For All


Some of the world’s largest nations that had spent decades mired in poverty are now seeing tremendous advances. China and India, in particular, are growing at an astounding rate, and tens of millions of people are moving from poverty to the middle class. Despite these success, however, some countries seem unable to improve the lives of their citizens. A lack of resources can seem to make it impossible for a country to develop.

Cat Laine, however, has some ideas for helping countries develop in spite of limitations. In particular, she suggests using engineering to work around potential problems. Development does not require exploiting natural resources, and there are ways to get past traditional limitations using the benefits of modern engineering. Through these techniques, business can thrive in the underdeveloped world, which allows everyone around the globe to experience better lives.

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