Category Archives: Projects 2013

The Lincoln Reimagine Project launches with the TEDActive 2013 artists-in-residence

The Lincoln Reimagine Project is launched! Click through for more info.
The Lincoln Reimagine Project! Click through to explore

After an exciting night of design-themed talks at TED@250 the Lincoln Motor Company unveiled three new videos (created in collaboration with TED) to profile the incredible artists they brought to the TEDActive 2013 conference – Aurora Robson, Andy Cavatorta, and Gilberto Esparza.

Launched today, the Lincoln Reimagine Project will lend support to these visionaries in the arts, design and innovation — artists who are equal parts fearless and creative. At TEDActive this year, Aurora, Andy and Esparza showcased original pieces that disrupt the traditional ways we imagine music, sculpture, and even recycling. The videos highlight their artistic philosophies and their unique approaches to the pieces they produced for TEDActive.

Over the past year, the Lincoln Motor Company has embarked on a journey to reimagine the world around with. In this spirit, they collaborated with TED to identify three artists who are equal parts fearless and creative. Aurora, Andy and Esparza each produced pieces that shifted cultural and environmental paradigms. In their hands, the traditional ways we imagine music, sculpture, and even recycling have been turned upside down. These videos highlight their artistic philosophies and their unique approaches to the pieces they produced for TEDActive.

At this year’s TEDActive in Palm Springs, Gilberto debuted his Auto-Photosynthetic Plants and created a futuristic symphony made from plastic tubes, an iPad, and bacteria.


Aurora asked TED attendees to give her the plastic packaging from their gift bags, which she used as a medium to create an ethereal, floating sculpture.


Melodic, chant-like music is not the obvious byproduct of swinging, robotic tubes of steel, but MIT Media Lab graduate and former punk rocker, Andy Cavatorta, has made gigantic, aural structures that are meditative and comforting.

TEDActive 2013 College Campus Takeovers

RISD students brainstorming away
RISD students brainstorming away.

Measuring impact, fostering communication, eliminating silos, harnessing innovation – good ideas lie behind these phrases, but their unspecific overuse often reduces them to meaningless buzz words.

It should come as no surprise that TEDActive’s student interns breathe new life into the phrase “reducing siloed communication.” Maybe it was because they were referring to free pizza. Or maybe it is because – among the students I spoke to – their TEDActive projects are living on post-conference, improving the daily lives of their fellow students.

A little background for those unfamiliar with TEDActive Campus Takeovers:

This year, TEDActive sent a toolkit to students at seven different TEDx participating universities across the country — UCLA Anderson School of Management, University of Washington’s Comparative History of Ideas SchoolVirginia TechSouthern Methodist UniversityThe Ohio State UniversityRhode Island School of Design and New York University. Students opened the kit to reveal four prompts that mirrored the prompts for the TEDActive Projects – Impact, Local, Lifehack, and Mobile. One representative from each university served as the school’s TEDActive Intern. The interns came to TEDActive in Palm Springs and presented their schools’ work to the community.

TEDActive University Interns
TEDActive “Interns”
University of Washington unwraps their Takeover Kit
University of Washington unwraps their Takeover Kit

Students’ responses ranged from a microsite with an interactive visualization depicting the diverse backgrounds of Southern Methodist University students to an internal, standardized assessment among NYU student organization leaders, designed to measure the impact of their own projects and find areas of overlap or openings for collaboration.


Griffin Dooling, who is also a TEDxNYU organizer, described how it allowed “all of these different groups to coalesce around TED, which helped galvanize support for their own projects.”  He added that this was the “first event at this scale with so many organizations” on board participating.

Julia Columbro felt similarly excited by how TED acted as a catalyst for Ohio State’s student groups to work together. Her time at TEDActive in Palm Springs “was really inspiring, and reaffirmed to me that social change is possible and something that I want to pursue.” Back at Ohio State’s campus, she helped set up an RSS feed that allows students to promote their on campus events and meetings – especially meetings that served free pizza. This live feed helped promote the event “A Taste of OSU,” a food fair thrown by another student organization and associated with the Local Project. Due to its promotion, over 4,000 students attended the fair.

Taste of OSU
Taste of OSU

As Brandon Lazarus from SMU said, “Among our student organizations, we share a lot of commonalities, and can share resources and ideas. It’s not a competition when your goal is impact and social good.” At SMU, TEDActive challenged students to a hackathon – they had to prototype a mobile app in six hours to solve an on-campus problem. The winner was an app that helped students avoid construction sites in order to make it to class on time.

Or maybe the winner was the Harlem Shake video that they made during a break:


Inspired by their prompts and TEDActive, student interns were able to lasso the creative energy of their many campus organizations, and demonstrate how they could map out efficient ways to work together.

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?