Do you have a TED-wor­thy idea? Here’s how to make it real.

ELLE (Canada) - - Features - By Christina Reynolds

Beau­ti­ful ideas from TEDWomen 2015.

i’ve just spent the day lis­ten­ing to 27 talks at the TEDWomen 2015 con­fer­ence in Mon­terey, Calif., and I’m feel­ing both in­spired and a lit­tle sheep­ish: I haven’t cre­ated a ro­bot that helps out dur­ing dis­as­ters or a com­puter pro­gram that can read emo­tions. And I haven’t stud­ied how the genomes of mi­crobes could be used to erad­i­cate the Ebola virus. It turns out I’m not the only one feel­ing this way. “After a day like this, it makes me think ‘What am I do­ing with my life, and what more can I do?’” says Melissa Knapp, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent, global cre­ative, for Clin­ique. I’ve joined Knapp and Jane Lauder, the com­pany’s global brand pres­i­dent, at a din­ner party to cel­e­brate this year’s con­fer­ence. We’re also here to mark the launch of the Clin­ique Smart Ideas con­test, which is be­ing held in part­ner­ship with TED.

“Smart ideas come from ev­ery­where,” ex­plains Lauder. “The ideas we’re in­ter­ested in don’t have to be beauty re­lated; we’re look­ing for projects that can help women around the globe—like the one we heard from Achenyo Idachaba.” The Nige­rian-based en­tre­pre­neur (and the first speaker at the con­fer­ence) started a com­pany to cre­ate house­hold goods, like lamp­shades and bas­kets, from aquatic weeds that have in­fested the re­gion. “She cre­ated a sus­tain­able craft out of ne­ces­sity,” says Lauder. “So many of the TED speak­ers came up with re­ally great ideas that stemmed from some sort of need. And that’s how Clin­ique was born, in a way,” she says, re­fer­ring to the brand’s ori­gin story. In 1967, beauty ed­i­tor Carol Phillips pub­lished a magazine ar­ti­cle called “Can Great Skin Be Cre­ated?” where she in­ter­viewed der­ma­tol­o­gist Nor­man Oren­tre­ich about how to treat var­i­ous skin is­sues and the power a skin­care rou­tine can play in that process. Estée Lauder’s Leonard Lauder saw the story and chal­lenged the ed­i­tor and the doc­tor to cre­ate a skin­care line that was der­ma­tol­o­gist backed, al­lergy tested, fra­grance-free—and cus­tom­iz­a­ble for dif­fer­ent skin types. When I speak with Knapp again a few weeks after the con­fer­ence, she has re­fined her own TED take­away about how to “do more,” thanks to ad­vice from TEDWomen 2015 speaker and man­age­ment con­sul­tant Mar­garet Hef­fer­nan. “She said that it’s not just about what you can do; it’s about what we are do­ing col­lec­tively to make in­cred­i­ble things and to make a dif­fer­ence,” says Knapp. “In the end, I came away su­per-in­spired and know­ing that I just need to keep do­ing what I’m do­ing—be­cause what I’m do­ing is pretty awe­some, and I’m sur­rounded by other amaz­ing women who are help­ing me do it as well.”

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