TED Idea Search

TED hosted two idea searches in 2021 with a mission: to hear big, bold ideas from around the world. A select group of people from each application pool will be invited to give TED Talks, either virtually or in person. TED Idea Search: Latin America submissions are now closed -- applicants will be notified of next steps by mid-September 2021.

About the TED Idea Search

When the TED Idea Search is open, applicants are invited to fill out a form and create a 2-minute video as a part of their submission. Finalists are invited to a virtual event where they talk more about their idea and participate in a Q&A with members of the TED community. From there, winners are invited to give a TED Talk, either virtually or in person.

Tips for success before applying

Your "idea worth spreading"

We're looking for ideas worth spreading — that's our mission! So… What does that mean? We're looking for ideas that are new, unique, and can offer an insight or a new way of thinking to a very large audience.

A TED Talk usually has a topic and an idea.

A topic is the high level — the general direction you want to take the talk.
Topic example: We need to fix the opioid crisis

An idea is a specific angle that stems from the topic — a unique message, solution, or insight that only you can share.
Idea example: In the opioid crisis, here's what it takes to save a life

More examples of topics and ideas:

Topic: Africa lacks access to basic energy sources
Idea: The energy Africa needs to develop — and fight climate change

Topic: Paleontology is important
Idea: Hunting for dinosaurs showed me our place in the universe

Topic: We need more organ donors
Idea: How to create a world where no one dies waiting for a transplant

Questions to ask yourself about your idea

To us, an idea worth spreading can mean several things. Before you submit your application, check your idea against this list — does it check a few of these boxes?

  • Does your idea worth spreading offer the audience a unique insight?
  • Will your audience learn something brand new? Something they’ve never heard before?
  • Will your audience learn about a new solution to a problem?
  • TED is not a platform for product pitches. Do you feel confident that your idea is not a product pitch?
  • Did you check our massive library? Are you sure we don’t already have a talk about your idea?

What to avoid

Only in rare circumstances do we invite people to speak about a very personal experience or a personal philosophy. Here are some examples of ideas that we would likely not consider:

  • How I learned to speak my truth and be my authentic self.
  • How to conquer your fears and achieve your dreams.
  • Find your passion through unleashing your creativity.
  • I had a rare experience and it taught me to face my fear.
  • Find happiness using the L.U.V. method: Light, Universe, Vulnerability.
  • I traveled to India and it changed my perspective on the stock market, even though I’m not a banker.