We started something new in 2012 in our department. Each month we had a brown bag lunch to watch a TED Talk together. I assigned a month to each staff member, who would pick the video and lead the conversation afterward. Coming together around a TED Talk isn’t an original idea, but I have found the collective experience to be very worthwhile.
It is fascinating to see what videos people select and why. Sometimes the videos are directly related to our work; other times they are simply a reflection of someone’s passion and interests. The videos spark discussions that sometimes go in unexpected directions. We are working to implement a few ideas – a more formalized orientation for new professional staff and a “wolf wave” (our mascot is the Red Wolf) as a fun way to recognize exceptional customer service – that came from these discussions.
Most importantly, it’s a great way to get everyone around the same table in an informal yet meaningful way. In 2013, I plan to extend an open invite to faculty and staff outside of our department to join us.
Here are the TED Talks we watched together in 2012, selected by staff:
- Shawn Achor: The happiness advantage
- Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story
- Mike Biddle: We can recycle plastic
- Susan Cain: The power of introverts
- Drew Dudley: Everyday leadership
- Seth Godin: The tribes we lead
- Shea Hembrey: How I became 100 artists
- Steve Jobs: How to live before you die
- Neil Pasricha: The 3 A’s of awesome
- Derek Sivers: How to start a movement
- Charlie Todd: The shared experience of absurdity
- John Wooden: The difference between winning and succeeding
Speaking of TED Talks, I am excited that our city is hosting its first-ever TEDx event, TEDxRichmond, on February 9.