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With over 2,000 videos available to the public, the TED website is one of the best free resources available for customer intelligence professionals today. If you are a market researcher, an insight professional or user of insight, TED videos could be a source of lessons and inspiration.

Many people working in market research and customer intelligence have asked me for recommendations for TED videos to watch. Although I have a long list of favorites, I’ve picked my top five.

How to Start a Movement — Derek Sivers, entrepreneur

This three-minute video shows how quickly a powerful and challenging idea can spread.

“Leadership is over-glorified,” says Derek Sivers, founder of MuckWork, a company that assists musicians with project management tasks. In this provocative video, Sivers redefines the concept of leadership—something that we tend to call “influence” in the market research or insight world.

Many marketers have this notion that some people are influencers and the rest of us follow their lead. Sivers, however, challenges that assumption, saying, “If you really care about starting a movement, have the courage to follow and show others how to follow. And when you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first one to stand up and join in.”

RELATED RESOURCE: For more tips on how to thrive in market research, download Leaders of change: How influential researchers reimagine customer relationships and insight.

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are — Amy Cuddy, social psychologist

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at the Harvard Business School, explains how the way we hold our body impacts the way others see us and the way we feel at both the mental and biochemical level. The second-most watched TED video of all time, Cuddy’s presentation reveals the power of “power posing” (think the Wonder Woman post) and how it leads to a more confident life.

“Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes,” says Cuddy, encouraging her audience to try power posing before tackling stressful situations like giving presentations or going to job interviews—situations that insight professionals are very familiar with.

The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen — Hans Rosling, medical doctor and academic

A global health expert based in Sweden, Hans Rosling has several TED videos, and they’re all worth watching. In this video, he debunks common assumptions about what most people refer to as the “developing world.” A stats and communication guru, Rosling uses widely available (but seldom used) data to reveal surprising long-term trends about fertility rates and income in different parts of the world.

Rosling’s presentation is powerful because it demonstrates how complex data can be mined for insight, crafted into a story, and delivered in an engaging and informative way. It’s a masterclass on storytelling and the use of interactive graphics without getting bogged down by numbers.

Why Some People Find Exercise Harder Than Others — Emily Balcetis, social psychologist

Don’t be confused: this presentation, by Emily Balcetis, a social psychologist and associate professor at NYU, is not about exercise. What it is, really, is a fascinating talk on perception and the way the human brain works.

The point: different people see the same thing in different ways. Depending on the context and their own point of view, people may interpret the same thing differently. Balcetis’ presentation is a great reminder for insight professionals that the way people see things is shaped by personal context. As Balcetis says in her TED presentation, “we all see the world through our own mind's eye.”

The Beauty of Data Visualization — David McCandless, designer and author

David McCandless is the godfather of data visualization. In this presentation, he shows how data can be rendered in visual form and demonstrates how to find data patterns.

“Even when the information is terrible, the visual can be quite beautiful,” he proclaims. When data is visualized beautifully, “we can get clarity or the answer to a simple question very quickly.”

As you watch the video, you’ll note that, in most cases, McCandless’ ideas aren’t complex. He uses simple shapes, simple colors, and simple ideas to expose the insight in the data. His approach allows him to communicate ideas in a way that’s memorable and clear.

Your favorite TED videos?

I’ve listed five TED videos that I think are essential viewing for insight professionals. What video or videos would you add to the list?

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