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.