Plastic engineering professionals, if you haven’t heard of TED talks, you should!

TED’s website showcases thousands of videos of short talks (usually less than 20 minutes) made by world famous innovators and thought leaders.  Hearing the ideas of other designers and thinkers can really inspire plastic engineers so here is a selection of videos (less than an hour, perfect for a lunch break).

The Era of Open Innovation-Charles Leadbeater

Big inventions don’t always come from big companies.  In fact, Leadbeater would argue that they rarely do.  Watch this video to learn about how many well-known inventions, like the mountain bike, come from users themselves.

2) Biomimicry in Action-Janine Benyus

Some of the best engineering innovations have been inspired by mechanisms in nature.  Benyus describes some of these inventions and encourages further biomimicry.

3) We Can Recycle Plastic-Mike Biddle

Writing an article on plastic recycling a few weeks ago, I discovered how little plastic actually gets recycled.  Many of the plastic bottles we so carefully save for recycling end up in landfills after all.  This problem has been further compounded by changing environmental policies in China, namely the Green Wall policy.  Biddle presents an exciting vision for getting more plastics recycled right here in the US.  He details the problems surrounding plastic recycling and offers his solution.

4) A Primer on 3D Printing-Lisa Harouni

3D printing is a huge trending topic in plastic engineering that has come to the attention of everyday consumers.  But how does additive manufacturing work and what is its potential?  Enjoy this quick breakdown of this new technology. 

5) Talk Nerdy to Me-Melissa Marshall

Do you ever feel like your friends and family don’t appreciate all you do in the field of plastic engineering?  Maybe they’re actually more interested than you think.  Marshall explains why engineering and science professionals should actually be more open about their work.  She gives a few tips on communicating your work to non-STEM professionals.

6) On Being Wrong-Kathryn Schulz

As all engineers and designers know, being wrong is a big part of the design process.  Schulz gives some concrete reasons why being wrong is actually more desireable than we think.

7) Design in the Details-Paul Bennett

Sometimes good design is about the little things.  Bennett talks about creating designs that are tuned into their users by observing use patterns.

8) The Power of Introverts-Susan Cain

Susan Cain’s work has taken the professional world by storm over the past few years, so you may have already seen this.  But I couldn’t resist putting this video on a plastic engineering list.  Lots of creative and design people are introverts-so whether this describes you or one of your coworkers, Cain’s ideas may be of use.

9) The Sticky Wonder of Gecko Feet-Robert Full 

I couldn’t find the Youtube video of this to embed, so click on the title to visit the TED talk page.  Gecko feet have inspired lots of engineering and design innovations-from better adhesives to robots.  Full’s enthusiasm about the amazing design of these animals is completely infectious-enjoy!

Did I miss your favorite TED talk?  Tell me what videos you love in the comments section below.

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