Essential Operations Management

by Alex Hill and Terry Hill


The surprising science of motivation (2009)
Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories and maybe a way forward.

The paradox of choice (2005)
Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz’s estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

How great leaders inspire action (2009)
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question ‘Why?’ His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers.

How to start a movement. (2010)
With help from some surprising footage, Derek Sivers explains how movements really get started. (Hint: it takes two.)

Spaghetti sauce (2004)
Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell gets inside the food industry’s pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce and makes a larger argument about the nature of choice and happiness.

Standing out (2003)
Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.

Understanding the rise of China (2010)
Martin Jacques asks why the West often puzzles over the growing power of the Chinese economy, and offers three building blocks for understanding what China is and will become.

Mind-shifting Everest swim (2010)
Lewis Pugh vowed never to take another coldwater dip after he swam to the North Pole. Then he heard of Lake Pumori created by recent glacial melting at an altitude of 5,300 m on Everest, and so began a journey that would teach him a radical new way to approach swimming and think about climate change.

On the tribes we lead (2009)
Seth Godin argues that the internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make big change. He urges us to do so.

Tribal leadership (2009)
David Logan talks about the fi ve kinds of tribes that humans naturally form in schools, workplaces, even the driver’s licence bureau. By understanding our shared tribal tendencies, we can help lead each other to become better individuals.

Creativity and play (2008)
At the 2008 Serious Play conference, designer Tim Brown talks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play, with many examples you can try at home (and one that maybe you shouldn’t).

The art of choosing (2010)
Sheena Iyengar studies how we make choices and how we feel about the choices we make. She talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions.

Where good ideas come from (2010)
People often credit their ideas to individual ‘Eureka!’ moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the ‘liquid networks’ of London’s coffee houses to Charles Darwin’s long, slow hunch to today’s high-velocity web.

Innovation (2005)
In this deceptively casual talk, Charles Leadbeater weaves a tight argument that innovation isn’t just for professionals anymore. Passionate amateurs, using new tools, are creating products and paradigms that companies can’t.

The child-driven education (2010)
Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education: the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.

The shareable future of cities (2011)
How can cities help save the future? Alex Steffen shows some cool neighbourhood-based green projects that expand our access to things we want and need while reducing the time we spend in cars.

It’s time to redesign medical data (2010)
Your medical chart: it’s hard to access, impossible to read and full of information that could make you healthier if you just knew how to use it. Thomas Goetz looks at medical data and makes a bold call to redesign it.

The beauty of data visualization (2010)
David McCandless turns complex data sets (like worldwide military spending, media buzz, Facebook status updates) into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate the information glut and it may just change the way we see the world.

Bold plan for electric cars (2009)
Shai Agassi discusses his radical plan to make entire countries oil-free by 2020.

Warns on latest climate trends (2009)
Al Gore presents updated slides from around the globe to make the case that worrying climate trends are even worse than scientists predicted, and to make clear his stance on ‘clean coal’.

Use art to turn the world inside out (2011)
JR, a semi-anonymous French street artist, uses his camera to show the world its true face, by pasting photos of the human face across massive canvases. At TED2011, he makes his audacious TED Prize wish: to use art to turn the world inside out. Learn more about his work and how you can join in at