On June 24, an amazing something called TEDxSavannah will happen in Savannah. Perhaps you’ve heard of a “TED Talk,” because this term is part of the lingo nowadays. Just what exactly is a “TED Talk” and what is “TEDx?”
A TED Talk is a presentation given by a speaker to an audience at the main TED conference or one of its satellite events around the world. TED Talks are a maximum length of 18 minutes and cover thousands of topics.
TED speakers present new ideas supported by evidence that can be relevant to a broad audience.
TED started 32 years ago when a West Coast architect noticed a pattern: People from dissimilar areas of industry or business were collaborating on projects. The diverse areas of technology, entertainment and design — TED — became an acronym for sharing innovation, affecting change using converging disciplines and exchanging and intersecting ideas.
The architect decided to showcase the “TED” effect with an event, so he gathered a group of business, industry and creative thought leaders together to present to each other in a conference-style format. This conference, sharing “Ideas Worth Spreading,” became TED and “Ideas Worth Spreading” its iconic slogan.
That wildly successful initial TED conference became an annual event. Educators, scientists, entrepreneurs, business leaders, artists, musicians, provocateurs and innovators wanted to speak at TED. For many attendees, TED became one of the intellectual and emotional highlights of the year.
Struck by TED’s power and promise, the nonprofit Sapling Foundation acquired TED several years later and in doing so, applied the not-for-profit model and a determination to stick to the foundational principles that made TED so successful: “. . . the inspired format, the breadth of content, and the commitment to seek out the most interesting people on Earth and let them communicate their passion.”
Soon, demand for access to TED conferences became overwhelming so TED began posting TED Talks online. Within a few months, more than a million viewers had seen a TED Talk on the TED website.
Today, TED Talks are available in more than 100 languages on a huge array of topics — all free. Check out the original six TED Talks posted in 2006 — still powerful and pertinent — here: http://bit.ly/1UEeUKm. Watch 30 years of TED Talks here: http://bit.ly/1W6ZeyZ.
Many famous people have done a TED Talk (Bill Gates, Mike Rowe, Colin Powell, Bill Clinton, Bono, Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking, Arianna Huffington, several Nobel Prize winners and many others), yet none of these are in the Top 10. In fact, two of the Top 10 TEDx Talks were by people who weren’t famous at all — at least before their Talks. Almost anyone can give a TED Talk that could go viral.
Now for the fun part for us in Savannah. With TED’s meteoric rise in popularity, demand for live, local TED events increased. So, seven years ago, TEDx — individually organized, live events in locations all over the world — was born and Savannah got on board.
Of course, it was those groundbreakers at The Creative Coast, supported by SEDA and the city of Savannah, who first licensed “TEDx Creative Coast” in 2009 and produced the first event here. Hard work, passion and the unlimited idea and talent pool in our community have given us a rich history of TEDx Talks of our own.
Last year, The Creative Coast released TEDx from its roster of successful events, and a group of local TEDx supporters and community action heroes formed Inspire Savannah, Inc., a nonprofit, and renamed the event “TEDxSavannah,” with the successful legacy and forward thinking strategies of the past six years of great local “Ideas Worth Spreading” to carry on.
TEDxSavannah debuts on June 24 at the Jepson Center for the Arts. Beginning at 8 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m., it will be a day of 14 dynamic, thought-provoking, inspirational and educational TEDx Talks by local leaders, focused on one theme: “Challenge What Is: Personal. Local. Universal.” Tickets go on sale April 25 at tedxsavannah.com.
Come see TEDx Savannah in action.
In addition to her marketing and outreach role at DIRTT Savannah, Laura Lee Bocade serves as a volunteer board member with The Creative Coast and is a founding member of Inspire Savannah, Inc. Laura Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to TEDxSavannah.com for event details and tickets.