Ken Robinson

Sir Kenneth Robinson works with governments, education systems, international agencies, global corporations and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations to unlock the creative energy of people and organizations. He has led national and international projects on creative and cultural education in the UK, Europe, Asia and the United States. The embodiment of the prestigious TED Conference and its commitment to spreading new ideas, Sir Ken Robinson is the most watched speaker in TED’s history. His 2006 talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity” has been viewed online over 40 million times and seen by an estimated 350 million people in 160 countries.

For twelve years, he was professor of arts education at the University of Warwick in the UK and is now professor emeritus.  In 1999, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim. He was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province. He was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for its strategy to become the creative hub of Southeast Asia, and the guiding force in Oklahoma’s statewide strategy to cultivate creativity and innovation in culture, commerce and education.

He has been named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s ‘Principal Voices’. He was acclaimed by Fast Company magazine as one of „the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation” and was ranked in the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top business thinkers.  In 2003, he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts.

His book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything (Penguin/Viking, 2009) is a New York Times bestseller. It has been translated into 23 languages and has sold over a million copies worldwide. A 10th anniversary edition of his classic work on creativity and innovation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative was published in 2011. Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life (Viking, 2013), also a New York Timesbestseller, is the acclaimed companion to the Element, and provides readers with a practical guide to finding and developing their own talents and vocations. His latest book, Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (Viking, 2015), tackles the critical issue of how to transform the world’s troubled educational systems and is now available in 15 languages.

Honours and Awards

2003  Appointed Knight Bachelor by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for Services to the Arts

2004  Rhode Island School of Design, Athena Award for Services to the Arts and Education

2006  Open University and Central School of Speech and Drama, Doctor of the University

2006  Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Companionship

2008  Birmingham City University, Doctor of the University

2008  Johns Hopkins University, George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America

2009  Rhode Island School of Design, Doctor of Fine Arts

2009  Ringling College of Art and Design, Doctor of Arts

2009  Aston University Birmingham, Doctor of Science

2010  Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Royal Society of Arts for Outstanding Contributions to Cultural Relations between the United Kingdom and the United States

2011  Gordon Parks Award for Outstanding Contributions to Creativity and Education

2011  City of New York YMCA, Arts and Letters Award for Outstanding Leadership

2011  LEGO Prize for Extraordinary Contributions on Behalf of Children and Young People.

2012  Oklahoma State University, Doctor of Philosophy

2012  Sir Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, Imagination Award

2012  County of Los Angeles and the HeArt Project, Commendation for Dedicated Service to the Community

2012  Oklahoma State University, Doctor of Philosophy

2013  Queens University Belfast, Doctor of Social Sciences

2014  Liverpool John Moore’s University, Fellowship

2014  American Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, Bammy Award for Special Achievement in Education

2016  Miami State University, Doctor of Philosophy


TED Organization

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Our Mission: Spread ideas

TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On, we’re building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.

In fact, everything we do — from our Conferences to our TED Talks to the projects sparked by the TED Prize, from the global TEDx community to the TED-Ed lesson series — is driven by this goal: How can we best spread great ideas?

How TED works

TED is owned by a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation. Our agenda is to make great ideas accessible and spark conversation. Everything we do — from our TED Talks videos to the projects sparked by the TED Prize, from the global TEDx community to the TED-Ed lesson series — is driven by this goal: How can we best spread great ideas?

Who owns TED?

TED is owned by the Sapling Foundation, a private nonprofit foundation (a 501(c)3 organization under US tax code). The foundation was established in 1996 by publishing entrepreneur Chris Anderson.

The goal of the Sapling Foundation is to foster the spread of great ideas. It aims to provide a platform for thinkers, visionaries and teachers, so that people around the globe can gain a better understanding of the biggest issues faced by the world, and feed a desire to help create a better future. Core to this goal is a belief that there is no greater force for changing the world than a powerful idea.

Many factors can amplify the power of ideas: mass media, technology and market forces, to name three. In the past, Sapling supported projects that used these tools to leverage every dollar spent and create sustainable change in areas such as global public health, poverty alleviation and biodiversity. More than $10 million was granted to enlightened organizations such as the Acumen Fund, Environmental Defence, One World Health, and PATH.

Sapling is no longer accepting proposals for outside grants; the foundation has turned its focus to the impact possible through TED itself. Ever since the foundation acquired TED in November 2001, it has been seeking ways to allow the extraordinary passion and inspiration created every year at our conferences to effect beneficial change in the world.

How does TED make money?

TED makes money through conference attendance fees, sponsorships, foundation support, licensing fees and book sales, and we spend it as soon as we get it — on video editing, web development and hosting for TED Talks and TED-Ed videos (ideas are free, but bandwidth is expensive…); support for community-driven initiatives like TEDx and the TED Fellows, and of course, paying fair salaries to staffers and interns.

Everyone who buys a pass to attend a TED conference is helping share free TED Talks video with the world, as well as supporting the TEDx program, the TED Prize, free TED Fellowships, TED-Ed video lessons and more great stuff that is shared with the world for free. For this reason, a percentage of the attendance fee is a charitable contribution.

TED Talks on the web are also supported by partnerships with carefully selected organizations; their ads on the videos and website support making TED Talks available to the world for free in many languages and on many platforms. We are very selective in the organizations we partner with. Other projects and initiatives are supported by foundation funding and individual donors.

And of course we’re also supported in kind by tens of thousands of volunteers — like all the amazing translators with the Open Translation Project, TEDx organizers, conversation moderators, organizations and individuals that support the TED Prize, and everyone who ever shares a TED Talk with someone else.

What does TED do with its money?
  • The TED Prize takes a great idea each year and seeks to achieve goals of global impact.

  • and our mobile apps allow great ideas to be easily accessible anywhere in the world, for free.

  • The TED Fellows program supports extraordinary new voices as they develop their careers in science, the arts, social justice and more.

  • TEDx supports the creation of independently run TED-style events in communities around the world.

The profits made by the TED conferences are directed toward these initiatives, and the Sapling Foundation welcomes contributions from those who share its philanthropic goals. Even more, it welcomes support for the wishes of our TED Prize winners and assistance from any organization or company that can help distribute „ideas worth spreading.“


Subscribe to our magazine


As long as poverty, injustice & inequality persist, none of us can truly rest. It doesn’t take much to change a life, Get in touch today and start making the difference.