TED2013 Talent Search

From April to June 2012, TED held special salons in 14 cities on six continents seeking to uncover new talents, voices and ideas the world needs to hear. In each city, we worked with local TEDx organizers who have demonstrated their ability to put on powerful events. The entire TED community then had a chance to vote on the most promising presenters, of which 33 were chosen to be speakers at TED2013.

Explore the salons below to to watch over 290 videos from TED's Worldwide Talent Search, with speakers and performers from many countries vying for a spot at TED2013.

Who were we looking for?

Anyone who had not spoken at a TED Conference, TEDGlobal or TEDActive, and those who did not have talks posted on TED.com/talks, were encouraged to apply. We were especially looking for:

  • The Inventor, sharing an innovation with world-changing potential
  • The Teacher, sharing valuable knowledge in a memorable way to teenagers or adults
  • The Prodigy, young talent ready to break out
  • The Artist, who can showcase their work in a compelling, new way
  • The Performer, music, dance, comedy, drama ... or something entirely different
  • The Sage, wisdom the world needs from those who have learned it the hard way
  • The Enthusiast, with an infectious passion about a topic they can share
  • The Change Agent,helping shape the world's future with work that matters
  • The Storyteller, vivid, original, meaningful ... with a talent for connection
  • The Spark, with a powerful idea worth spreading

Who weren't we looking for?

Product-hawkers, jargon-junkies, dullards, wafflers, motivator wannabes, self-promoters, spouters of new-age fluff.

Where was the search held?

The salons took place between April and June, in Amsterdam, Bangalore, Doha, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi, New York, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Tunis and Vancouver. In each city we worked with local TEDx organizers who have demonstrated their ability to put on powerful events. The first audition was held in April 2012 in Doha, as part of the TEDxSummit.

What was the process to apply to give a talk?

There was an online application process, which was open separately for each city, at least two months before each event. Applicants were encouraged to include a short video of themselves, and of that large pool, we invited around 30 of the best applicants to each salon. Applicants were encouraged to apply to their nearest city even if they were from a different country. In some exceptional cases we agreed to contribute the cost of attending the audition. The presentations were 3-6 minutes long, and the language was English. As all the events have already taken place, applications are now closed.

How were winners selected?

We posted all the videos from each of the worldwide events on the TED2013 Conference site. All members of the public had a chance to vote for the ones they thought were best. Voting was closed on August 31, 2012. As a result, 33 successful candidates were given the chance to deliver a longer talk or performance at TED2013, and were offered coaching and AV support as needed. TED covered speakers' travel to Long Beach, California and their accommodation for the entire conference. Videos were then made available for viewing on YouTube.