social change | November 20, 2012

Ben Rattray: How TED Talks Inspire People To Change The World

“In college, I was always disappointed by lectures that covered social problems but failed to identify what I could do to change them," Ben Rattray tells Mashable. "Part of the problem was that many professors simply didn’t believe they had a role in converting awareness to action." The founder and social change speaker believes that a lecture can do more than just convey knowledge, it can inspire people to get off the couch and act. That, he explains, is why he is drawn to the people who present their ideas in TED Talks. “My favorite videos on TED overcome these barriers by providing a platform for people who intimately understand the most important social issues to share their unique insight and offer solutions about how to make a difference," he tells the online media outlet. The messages that the speakers convey, and their passionate calls to action, inspire the social entrepreneur to try new things with and to continue to innovate and make positive social change.

"These insights [in the TED Talks] inform our work at, helping our team build the tools that will be most effective in empowering people to create the change they want to see," he says. In the interview, Rattray also lists 5 of his favorite TED Talks that he says, "reveal some unrecognized challenges and the opportunity for impact we all have." As the CEO of, Rattray has created an innovate platform for people who want to make a difference in the world but don't know where to start. The website allows people to sign petitions—or make their own—to help draw attention to prominent issues. In his talks, he also explains the importance of acting on your beliefs. Social media and the Internet have provided an invaluable outlet for people to come together and make a difference in the world, he explains, and he helps inspire audiences to take their passion and turn it into positive action.

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economics | November 19, 2012