TED, ideas worth spreading.
Since its founding in 1984 by Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks, TED
has worked to bring together the worlds most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are all challenged to give the talk of their lives.
Currently the event is hosted by Chris Anderson and owned by his
non-profit organization The Sapling Foundation.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, the three worlds it
originally tried to bring together, but its scope has widened
considerably since its founding years.
The original TED conference is held annually in Long Beach, California,
USA, with more than a thousand people attending as over 50 speakers
each take an 18 minute slot to talk about topics varying from the
original three (Technology, Entertainment and Design) to new ones that
mater to the world like science, business, the arts and global issues
facing our world. Around those 18 minute slots there are also many shorter pieces of content, including music, performance and comedy. The
result is that TED becomes a mind opening experience, connecting the
various topics together and showing the links between them that make up the intricately interconnected whole.
This original TED conference has also spawned off some interesting
extensions, like TEDGlobal, a twin conference held in Oxford, UK that
has now also become annually, its topics are slightly more
international in nature but the TED format is maintained. A similar
initiative will start in november 2009 in Mysore, India called TEDIndia, exploring the beckoning future of South Asia.
Another extension on TED is the TEDPrize, which tries to leverage the
growing TED community's exceptional array of talent and resources in
collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact. The TEDPrize is
awarded annually to three exceptional individuals who each receive
$100,000 and the granting of 'One Wish to Change the World'.
Finally the most interesting extension according to me is the TEDTalks
initiative, which began as a simple attempt to share what happens at
TED with the world. With its limited seating capacity at the TED conferences, only a limited amount of individuals would be able to see
the mind opening talks, so the TEDTalks initiative, under the moniker
'Ideas worth spreading' started releasing the talks online as short
video's. This soon attracted a global audience in the millions,
including myself, who where all enthusiastic at the chance of hearing
the worlds most inspiring voices.
This all leads to what TED is today, while TED is still based on the
various conferences, it is probably best thought of as a global
community, welcoming to people from every discipline and culture, all
of which just two things in common, the search for a deeper
understanding of the world and the hope to turn that understanding into
a better future for us all.