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Activate: What’s The Future of Work?


For this TEDActive 2013 Project, Office 365 challenged the group to create the ultimate work hack: a tip or trick that streamlines a task or opens up the faucets on creativity and productivity. A group of TEDActive attendees found three big problems to tackle, and they need your help! Contribute to these projects by posting answers to the questions below on Facebook  or on Twitter with the hashtag #ActiveLifehack.



Our everyday lives are cluttered with boring, repetitive tasks that take time away from the work we need to get done and the relationships we need to nurture. So, what if we could make more boring things happen automagically? What if smart systems could do things for us? Help us figure out what to automagic first:

What would you automagic away?
What boring stuff gets in your way?


In the US, the average office worker is interrupted every three minutes and can’t really get going on her work until she’s been at it for 23 minutes! So, how can we keep her motivated and free from interruptions (even the ones she creates herself)? By gamifying her work.

How would you gamify your To Do list?
How would you earn points?
What would be your epic wins?


Sometimes the most complex ideas can only be explained and explored through doodles, diagrams, and drawings, but it’s hard to collaborate on those things when you’re a world away. Video conference, smartphone photos, and shared screens just don’t seem to cut it. So, how can we build new ideas with far flung colleagues, partners, and friends.

If you had a magic wish, in what way would you love to share ideas?
What do you wish you could share?

Reflections from Day 3 of TEDActive


During our conversations with TEDActive attendees, we unearthed a couple of moments that we thought were worth sharing, inspired by today’s talks. 

As TEDActive attendee Marcela Garcia watched Alastair Parvin’s 3-D models of his open-source construction set, her eyes widened in recognition. Over 30 years ago, throughout their childhood, she and her sister had spent hours upon hours building very similar model homes as part of an old board game called El Constructor Infantil she and her sister used to covet. As she recalled the red flaky cardboard box that opened with each game in nearly ceremonial splendor, Marcela began to light up with childlike glee. Marcela and her sister don’t speak much anymore, she explained. However, she was so moved and overcome by the wave of memories this morning, that she immediately sent her sister an email, excited at the prospect of sharing old memories of the past, and building upon them with new ideas for what Parvin’s modern counterpart could mean for the future.


A second conversation overheard in the jacuzzi earlier today celebrated the incredulity of Stewart Brand’s talk in Session 5. As one woman explained to the other, as a little girl she had always proudly proclaimed to her mother, “Mom, when I grow up I am going to save all of the extinct animals.” To which her mother knowingly responded, as mothers often do, “Oh honey, you mean endangered animals. You can’t save extinct animals, they have already gone.” After hearing Stewart Brand’s talk this afternoon, this TEDActive attendee excitedly sent her mom a Facebook message, the gist of which we assume went something like, “See Mom, I told you so!”

Here are more reactions from Twitter of Sessions 4-7: Disrupt! Dream! Create! and Sustain!

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Stay tuned for more great reactions from Day 4 of TEDActive 2013. 

The Suitcase Chronicles

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TEDActive is full of surprises, so it’s hard to know just what to pack. We peeked inside the suitcases of a few attendees looking for answers, and it turned out they came to TEDActive more than prepared. Some of our favorite hidden treasures:

1. Dennise Demming brought Angostura Bitters from her home of Trinidad and Tobago, where the alcohol is made. You may have had them in a drink, but did you know their story?

2. Salah Almhamdi comes bearing gifts of pottery plates from Tunisia. He hasn’t decided who to give them to yet, but he says, “If you want to establish friendships, you should give gifts. A gift is an impact.” So be very, very nice to him, because it could be you!

3. For Lade Ibrahim, it’s not what he brought, but what he’s taking home with him – a jarful of Palm Springs desert sand. Whenever he travels, he brings a piece of his destination home with him to Nigeria.

4. Michael Sternfeld came with nothing less than the longest audiobook in the world: the 75-hour Ramayana, which he produced.

5. Heidi Fledderjohn packed her mala meditation beads – she takes one breath for each of the 27 beads. Make sure to catch one of her morning group yoga sessions.

6. Fully half of Javier Yunes‘ suitcase was filled with this candy left over from his birthday. It was enough to attract the attention of airport security. We think it looks mighty suspicious, too.


7. Per Klemming came armed with his party shirt! At last year’s TEDActive, he and other attendees navigated Palm Springs by bicycle, and Per discovered the bright floral garment at a local thrift shop. Though it didn’t come along in his suitcase, he also sported a party tattoo. Ask him about it.

8. Isaac Cohen of the Hit + Run silkscreening station has lots of mysterious goodies in his bag, including this cool patch.


9. And Najia Yarkhan kept it simple – her luggage contains “as many shoes as I could fit.” Awesome.