Today marks the final day of TED's four-day Takeover of UCLA Anderson. This partnership was TED's first with an institution of higher education. The "takeover" was designed to immerse the UCLA Anderson community in the TED experience, and I must say this event has to be one of the most memorable on-campus events of the quarter. I'm sad to see the splashes of TED's signature velvet red go, but it's been quite a run. Bold ideas, lively discussions, insightful panelists, challenging calls to action -- we students were treated to a highly concentrated dose all of these things as we wandered into the brightly decorated student lounge in between classes to see live recordings of various TED speakers from the 2012 conference in Long Beach.
One of the featured speakers was Jim Stengel, former Global Marketing Officer at Procter & Gamble and current adjunct professor at UCLA Anderson. He made the case that we are entering an era where the narrative of business must change. Companies must be driven by higher-order brand ideals in order to achieve truly sustainable growth. These companies will attract the best talent and innovate in ways that make life better for the people they serve. Without an ideal to guide an organization, people lose their passion to create and do meaningful work. And without passion, your organization may be relegated to a future of mediocrity and underachievement.
The capstone event for the TED Takeover was an afternoon "campfire" with TED-inspired talks with some of our fellows classmates and professors. Prof. Rakesh Sarin proposed his equation for the science of happiness, Prof. Bhagwan Chowdhry discussed his Financial Access @ Birth campaign, and fellow classmate Stephen Lehtonen challenged us to join the fight to design education around children's passions rather than standardized testing. Class of 2013 students Stuti Goswami and Guy Holzman delivered inspired talks about the Dream Act and the need for corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. Prof. Benartzi proposed a strategy for saving in the future by keeping a lid on your lifestyle while increasing earning potential. The energy in the crowd was electric. Standing ovations and loud cheering rumbled through the alumni plaza. Great food and drinks + being surrounded by good company + bold innovative ideas = a night to remember.
Wish you all could have seen it for yourselves.
-- Jesse Ferlianto '12
Stephen Lehtonen - my friend, classamate, and founder of Breakaway, giving his talk about education reform that had the entire room engrossed from beginning to end. No joke. That's tough to do these days, and this just gives you a sense of how gifted this guy truly is.