TED Conversations

Kate Torgovnick May

writer, TED


This conversation is closed.

What would you do for the world with $1 million?

The TED Prize has entered a new chapter, with this year's winner receiving $1 million dollars to execute their one wish to inspire the world.

This has me thinking: what would you do for the world with the $1 million prize? Answer here and you may see yourself on the TED blog soon.

Want to nominate a mentor, colleague, friend or even yourself for the TED Prize? Nominations are open from now until August 31st at this website:



Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Aug 9 2012: Give 1,000 aid workers (local and international, cleaner to country director) a social change investment fund of US$1,000, over which they have total personal discretion.
    Task each of us to find an “under-the-radar” grassroots organization, leader, or initiative worthy of support. The only stipulation is that as fund managers we must find a group that has been in existence for at least three years and has never received international assistance. (With estimates of grassroots organizations around the world at four million, this will not be as hard as it sounds.) Only one-page proposals and reports allowed.
    Aid workers spend plenty of our time in budgets and logical frameworks. What will happen if we have total freedom to break the rules…take a risk!?! During the year, the fund managers will be tasked to just have fun! We must find a person, an organization, or an idea that inspires us. We can learn more about a topic of interest. Our mandate will be to tap into the enthusiasm that drew us into this work in the first place.
    At the end of one year, the fund managers in every organization get together and share what we’ve learned through facilitated and documented reflection exercises. We distill good practices and actionable insights about what is required to unleash the potential of grassroots leaders and movements. We will let the truth hang out. We will admit that some investments didn’t go as planned.
    We will let that be okay.
    If we are serious about “flipping the aid system” to put more local and national actors in the driver’s seat of development, we have to let go and learn in myriad different ways. These investment funds could help us release the “pressure” of bringing about large-scale impact in order to more deeply understand the local processes that bring about change. If we’re forced to think micro, we may actually build a more inclusive discourse on aid that changes our understanding of what we value (local ownership) and what we measure (social change).

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.