74 Countries, 1 Place: Banff, Canada 2016


Mike Watson, Founder, Heart-Centric Leadership


*All notes and comments are my own, and in no way are meant to be comprehensive descriptions of the entire TED Summit 2016 event, these notes are brief glimpses into my own experiences and are formatted so as to provide quick a-ha moments of insight and understanding, that hopefully lead to intentional actions and further meaningful discussion that can positively transform both places and people. Links are provided for ease of additional research.



Chris Anderson: Welcoming Address

Overarching theme: Aim higher together by understanding that what is covered, featured, and highly visible, is not an indication of what will become transformational in society. Seek to discover the moments and pieces of brilliance that are often not mentioned or highlighted by the media, more likely than not that is where the transformation will first be found.


  1. Value does not come from scarcity, but from ubiquity.
  2. Ideas do not conform to borders.
  3. What are we building today that will last for 1000 years? (Be intentional).


Speaker: Abigail Marsh



Overarching theme: Human Capacity for Compassion. If we are evil, why do we sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to help others even at a cost to ourselves?


  1. If there is no center of your world (you) then your ‘caring’ circle is all encompassing, void of a center or an ego.


Speaker: Isaac Lidsky



Overarching theme: Eyes Wide Open: Overcoming Obstacles and Recognizing Opportunities In A World That Can’t See Clearly.


  1. What you feel changes what you see.
  2. Fear distorts reality; it fills in the gaps created by uncertainty and the unknown with the “awful,” and diminishes critical and creative thought in the process.
  3. Hold yourself accountable so as to see beyond fear, and open hearts to your bounty.
  4. Avoid ambiguity.
  5. Blindness gave him vision.


Speaker: Lesley Hazelton



Overarching theme: Exploration of The Vast and Often Terrifying Arena in Which Politics and Religion Intersect.


  1. The ‘soul’ful dimension of being transforms the bitter to the joyful.
  2. Fear builds walls and shrinks souls.
  3. Brave souls don’t hate difference and don’t fear the unknown.



 Session: Engaging Conversations

Overarching theme: Conversations should emphasize results over relationships.


  1. Dialogic Organizational Development, a way of seeing and understanding together what we cannot see alone.
  2. Stop passively consuming and start actively engaging.


Session: Telling Your Signature Story

Overarching theme: Become self-aware, discover your story, and share it on every stage possible.


  1. Conflict creates necessary tension.
  2. Structure of story: a. make the opening engaging, and provide a peek into the future, b. get to the conflict fast, c. close with the lesson, the takeaway.
  3. Find the adventure, own the experience.


Session: Lessons From the Longest Study on Happiness

 Overarching theme: More than any other factor, good relationships, regardless who they are with (family, friends, spouses) keep us happier and healthier.


  1. Isolation (unplanned or unwanted), is toxic, and diminishes happiness and longevity.
  2. The quality of the relationship matters more than the quantity, and these relationships actually protect you brain, enhance your emotions, and elevate your well-being.
  3. Key factor in healthy, happy relationships is trust, being able to rely on each other.
  4. Attention is the most basic form of love ~ John Tarrant



 Speaker: Don Tapscott



Overarching theme: Take the Long View On Our Digital, Connected, Hyper-Collaborative World. Regarding blockchain, rather than redistributing wealth, could we pre-distribute it?


  1. Blockchain is the Internet of value that removes the middleman, transactions without the use of third parties.
  2. Trust is established through collaboration, cryptography.
  3. org, blockchain as platform of innovation and value creation.


Speaker: Bettina Warburg



Overarching theme: Use blockchain to lower uncertainty and exchange value.


  1. Blockchain and the transactions can be used to collapse institutions that monopolize transactions as 3rd party handlers.


Speaker: Joseph Lassiter


Overarching theme: Can nuclear energy deliver carbon-neutral supplies of reliable, low-cost energy all around the world?


  1. Bring power (energy) to people rather than people to the power.
  2. Rich people (countries) do what they choose, whereas poor people (countries) do what they must.



Speaker: Rachel Botsman



Overarching theme: How collaboration and trust enabled by digital technologies will change the way we live, work, bank and consume.


  1. Trust is the force that propels you from the known (and over uncertainty) into the unknown.
  2. Technology can increase personal confidence and relationships with the unknown.
  3. Trust Stack = what needs to take place before we are willing to move from the known into the unknown. 1. Trust the idea, 2. Trust the platform, and 3. Trust the other user.

NOTE: One of my favorite speakers: authentic, engaging, knowledgeable, provided insights and delivered outcomes.


Speaker: Rebecca MacKinnon



Overarching theme: Issues of free expression, governance and democracy (or lack of) in the digital networks, platforms and services on which we are all more and more dependent.


  1. Anti-terror legislation and actions can quickly become state and government sponsored suppression of individual rights.


Speaker: Suzanne Simard


Overarching theme: Do trees talk, the complex, symbiotic networks in our forests.


  1. Biological pathways connect entire forests, the trees are constantly talking, interacting, sharing resources with each other (regardless of species) so as to increase likelihood of overall success.
  2. If you remove a “power” connector tree, then you kill off all the connections as well, whereas if you selectively remove some trees, leaving the “power” trees intact, the forest will repopulate quickly, and fully.



Session: Sarah Kay, Spoken Word Poetry

Overarching theme: Spoken word empowers individuals, elevates education, and elicits meaning.


  1. There are 3 key questions relating to meaningful writing; 1. What do I write about (make lists they help), 2. How do I write about it (avoid abstraction, provide sensory details), and 3. How do I perform it (through experimentation and joy).
  2. Possible lists to generate and use as inspiration for writing:
  • 3 things I know to be true…
  • Regret (or substitute other words for regret) looks, sounds, smells, feels like…


Speaker: Monica Araya



Overarching theme: Advocates for the next step: a fossil-fuel-free society.


  1. Stop building cities for cars and start building them for people.


Speaker: Jonathan Tepperman



Overarching theme: There are solutions for the worlds most pervasive and seemingly intractable challenges, if we are willing to look globally.

Insight: Regarding problem solving

  1. Embrace the extreme.
  2. There is power in promiscuous thinking.
  3. Please all of the people some of the time.


Speaker: Shai Rashef



 Overarching theme: Democratize higher education.

Insight: University of the People (SO AWESOME)

  1. An online school that offers tuition-free academic degrees in computer science, business administration and health studies (and MBA) to students across the globe. The university is partnered with Yale Law School for research and NYU and University of California Berkeley to accept top students. It’s accredited in the U.S. and has admitted thousands of students from more than 180 countries.
  2. Education is a major factor in solving the global challenge of immigration, and war.


Speaker: Sam Harris



Overarching theme: Growing our understanding of ourselves and the world changes our sense of how we should live.


  1. Humanity’s willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs.
  2. We intentionally construct economies that create wealth but no jobs.
  3. Is artificial intelligence ethical?

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