Zoe is a blogger for Psychology Today (PT), and each week we’ll be sharing her PT blog posts here. Enjoy! 

A number of years ago, Umair Haque, an important thinker, and writer, published a thought-provoking essay in the Harvard Business Review titled “Let’s Save Great Ideas from the Ideas Industry.”

In his essay, he critiques “TED thinking,” which, he says, serves “as a shorthand for the way we’ve come to think about ideas and how we share them, whether it’s through an 18-minute talk, an 800-word blog post, or the latest business ‘best-seller’…. ‘TED thinking’ is just a symptom: and the underlying syndrome is our broken relationship with Great Ideas.”

While Haque makes good points, I believe that the construct he presents creates a false dichotomy between TED thinking and deep thinking; between solutions-oriented thinking and theorizing; between application and analysis; between idea-generation and Great Ideas.

To me, this either/or construct is both unnecessary and unhelpful, especially if one strives to be a solutionary.

I’ve never met anyone who suggests that “TED thinking” should replace other forms of thinking.

What TED does, and does well, is offer a venue for sharing ideas. TED has not presented itself as an endpoint, but rather as a launch pad. As with any medium that conveys a message, it’s up to audience members to take the next steps, which, fortunately, they often do.

psychology today