This week, Heidi Sinclair, president of Weber Shandwick’s Global Technology practice, attended the TED Full Spectrum conference. As her seventh year in attendance, Heidi remarked that it was another “brain expanding” experience. In lieu of the weekly Trending Tech post, Heidi shares the top ten talks from TED 2012. All of the content at the event was streamed live and will be available for download. Check it out.

10. Mozilla Founder Demonstrates Collusion TED is not usually a place to launch a product.  But, this is a free downloadable privacy tracker available on Mozilla.org/collusion.  The TED University talk by Gary Kovacs brings the raging Internet privacy debate home. Literally.

9. Storytelling Advice From a Master Andrew Stanton is a Pixar filmmaker who shares his formula for telling a great story.  As the guy who wrote Toy Story, Finding Nemo and WALL-E, he has great advice for all of us who are crafting stories for our clients every day.

8. Doing What it Takes James Hanson’s talk about his mission to bring the science of climate change to light has many lessons for us: the science of his argument; the way he makes his argument and finally the motivations of a lifelong activist.

7. Values-Based Brands Will Win Former P&G CMO Jim Stengel shared his personal story that drove his push to make all brands grounded in values. His research has proven that being a good company is good business.

6. Amazing Robots TED was full of robots this year. Vijay Kumar’s flying robots have all sorts of implications for robotic application across a full range of industries.

5. Technology’s Impact on Our Relationships Social theorist Sherry Turkle suggests we are too wired, too tied into our devices and our over connectivity is ruining our ability to relate to one another. Very important talk for anyone who has children.

4. Battery Miracle MIT professor Donald Sadoway gave a great talk about his work with a handful of grad students to rethink the battery.  This is critical to the whole sustainable energy issue.  We need clean, scalable, powerful, grid-level storage.  Sadoway’s answer: the Liquid Metal Battery.

3. Teenage Boy Genius Seventeen-year-old Taylor Wilson gave a short talk about his work building a nuclear fusion reactor in his garage, which he completed at age 14. He also shared his work building new airport screeners for 1/100th the price of existing systems.  He won the Intel Science prize for the latter and is now a full-working nuclear physicist.

2. DARPA Head Says Be NICE TO NERDS I have seen Regina Dugan speak three times now.  This talk was her best as she shared the amazing technology risks and creations coming out of DARPA (the US Defense R&D organization that created the Internet).  Yet, her real message was technologists and scientists need to be able to fail, to be supported no matter what and to be seen as the heroes they are.

1. Best TED Talk This Year: Nothing to do With Technology or Communications.  Simply Powerful. Alabama civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson gave an overwhelming talk about his work defending the poor, the incarcerated and condemned.  He asks us to seek truth and reconciliation and suggests that justice is the antidote to poverty. When this talk is posted on TED.com, watch it.

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