Is This The Future Of TED?

Apr 30 2014, 9:17pm CDT | by

The high-powered TED conference, which extended its reach in 2006 by posting videos of its TED talks online, has dramatically reshaped the public’s ideas about what a great event looks like. Many conferences now embrace TED’s format of well-choreographed 18 minute talks, which often mix professional research with heartfelt personal experience – including thousands of TEDx gatherings, which are independently organized TED-like events that have been held around the world since 2009.

But TEDx serves another role, in addition to spreading the TED brand and allowing massive numbers of attendees to participate who could never afford TED’s elite pricetag ($8500 for the 2015 offering). TEDx is also a type of laboratory, and one event – TEDxBeaconStreet in Massachusetts – has spawned an entirely new concept that may reshape how we experience TED around the world: TEDx Adventures.

The concept involves participants signing up for free, hands-on experiences in their local communities, led by an expert and usually lasting 1 ½ to 3 hours. The leaders may be TEDx speakers themselves, or others who have volunteered. John Werner, the curator of TEDxBeaconStreet and the originator of TEDx Adventures (working at the time with TEDxBoston), views them as a crucial way to engage the audience even beyond the day’s events at TEDx. “I’d go to the speakers and say, ‘Who wants to put on an adventure?’” he says. “Instead of the talks being the end goal, the speeches are the beginning.”

Given the extensive database he’s accumulated, “When I say, ‘Who wants to meet the Michael Jordan of Swiss cheese or hang out with a NASCAR driver?,’ we get a lot of cool people.” Indeed, more than 10,000 people have participated in over 100 Adventures to date. Past Adventures include “the physics of sailing”; a tour of an MIT professor’s brain-mapping lab; the opportunity to ride on a lobster boat, help with the haul, and eat a lobster dinner; a glass-blowing workshop for youth; the chance to try out Google Glass at the MIT Media Lab; and the opportunity to practice laparoscopic techniques with a top surgeon.

TEDx Adventures began in 2010, and more than 100 TEDx leaders from 18 countries have subsequently come to Boston to be trained on how to conduct Adventures – so you may be likely to be experience one in your own community soon. Werner’s vision is bold: “My goal is that a third of TEDx events will do Adventures, and that three-minute documentaries [about the adventures] will become as important as TED talks. This would challenge conference organizers to think a little more about getting out into the community.”

Indeed, TED has become a pervasive cultural force, encouraging the public to watch videos of its talks and attend local events. But Werner wants to turn the excitement of a one or two-day conference into an ongoing, year-round appreciation of the innovations and thinkers in our own backyards – perhaps the boldest way yet to share “ideas worth spreading.”

Learn more about Dorie Clark’s new book Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press) and subscribe to her monthly e-newsletter.


Don't miss ...


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Egyptian PM visits Indian plant in Port Said
Cairo, Oct 29 (IANS) Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb promised to resolve all issues faced by Indian investors in the country during a visit to the TCI Sanmar plant in Port Said, the largest Indian investment in Egypt.
OPPO unveils thinnest smartphone and much awaited N3
Singalore, Oct 29 (IANS) Leading global electronic gadgets maker OPPO launched the latest edition of its N series smartphone at a grand event here Wednesday, featuring its unique rotating camera, as also another which it claimed was the world's thinnest yet.
How culture affects physiology
New York, Oct 29 (IANS) People who are born in aggressive environments may pass on traits that make it more likely for future generations to react to certain situations in a violent manner, found a research, underscoring how culture could affect biology.
Russian rocket with space freighter launched
Moscow, Oct 29 (IANS/TASS) Russia launched Soyuz-2.1a rocket with space freighter Progress M-25M from Baikonur space centre Wednesday, Russian space agency Roscosmos told TASS.

Latest from the Network

Chloe Grace Moretz: I'm a geek
Chloe Grace Moretz is a ''geek'' when she's at home. The 17-year-old actress - who can be seen playing a prostitute alongside Denzel Washington in new action thriller film 'The Equalizer' - insists she lives a pretty...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
High powered MRI scans identify language centres in brain
Vienna, Oct 29 (IANS) A study from the Medical University of Vienna found how 7-Tesla ultra high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could be used to clearly show the brain areas responsible for speech processing...
Read more on Business Balla
Timothy Spall sees 'certain parallels' with William Turner
Timothy Spall sees ''certain parallels'' between himself and William Turner. Spall, 57, plays the influential painter in his new film 'Mr. Turner', for which he won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival, and...
Read more on Movie Balla
Trinidad cricket board condemns Windies players pull out
Port-of-Spain, Oct 29 (IANS/CMC) The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) has condemned the recent decision by the West Indies cricketers to abort their tour of India. The condemnation came in the form of a motion...
Read more on Sport Balla
Binge drinking hampers memory in long run
Washington, Oct 29 (IANS) High doses of alcohol during adolescence may continue to affect the brain even after drinking stops, leading to structural changes in the brain and memory deficits, says a significant study....
Read more on Celebrity Balla
EU: inspiring innovation through 3D-printed robot
Brussels, Oct 29 (IANS) The European Union (EU) said that it has a 3D-printed robot ready to be introduced in schools to cultivate the creativity of students studying mechanics, computer sciences, electronics and 3D...
Read more on Politics Balla
'Confident West Indies will appear in 2015 World Cup'
Sydney, Oct 29 (IANS/CMC) John Harden, 2015 Cricket World Cup chief executive, has said he is confident that the former champions West Indies will appear at next year's event in Australia and New Zealand. Harden...
Read more on Sport Balla
NASA cargo spacecraft explodes minutes after launch
Washington, Oct 29 (IANS) In a shocking incident, an unmanned commercial rocket carrying crucial scientific cargo for the International Space Station (ISS) exploded moments after lift-off Tuesday evening. Orbital...
Read more on Politics Balla
Sleep disturbances linked to higher Alzheimer's risk in men
London, Oct 29 (IANS) Elderly men with self-reported sleep disturbances run a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease than men without self-reported sleep disturbances, says a study. "We demonstrate that men...
Read more on Business Balla
Champ Bailey Retires From the NFL
Former Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey retired from the NFL on Oct. 28.Bailey ends his career as one of the top shutdown cornerbacks in league history, per Ben Swanson of the Broncos' official website:"Longtime...
Read more on Sport Balla