TED Idea Search

TED is hosting another idea search with a mission to hear big, bold ideas -- this time specifically from Southeast Asia. Applications are open to anyone living in Southeast Asia or of Southeast Asian descent.

TED Idea Search: Southeast Asia is now open

Applicants are required to create a 2-minute video as a part of their submission. At this time, we are only able to accept applications in English. Additionally, applications without videos or applications with videos that exceed 2 minutes will not be considered. The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2022 at 11:59pm ET.

If selected for round 2, you'll be invited to a virtual event where you'll talk more about your idea and participate in a Q&A with members of the TED community. From there, a smaller group of winners will be invited to give a TED Talk, either virtually or in person.

Apply for TED Idea Search: Southeast Asia 2022

Which countries are part of Southeast Asia?

In contemporary definition, Southeast Asia consists of the following countries:
- Brunei
- Cambodia
- East Timor
- Indonesia
- Laos
- Malaysia
- Myanmar
- Philippines
- Singapore
- Thailand
- Vietnam

Why Southeast Asia?

TED is committed to a global mindset. We seek to source ideas from everywhere and to make them widely and freely accessible. Powerful ideas, expressed and distributed with care, can bring different groups together and create a shared vision of a future worth pursuing. It is with that global mindset that we are focusing on different regions of the world for several idea search events.

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.

Preparing your video submission

Please make a 2-minute video as a part of your application. You'll find these instructions with more details on the application form as well.

Video setup

  • Film yourself using good lighting angled towards your face rather than coming from behind you. Do not use a green screen as your background.
  • Use a stable camera oriented in horizontal framing (this does not need to be a professional camera -- it can be a computer or phone camera), set to the highest resolution. (On most phones, the resolution you want to use is 4k, 1080.)
  • Make sure your sound is clear and audible (avoid filming outside, and prevent objects from rubbing on the microphone).
  • Your combined answers to the 4 questions should not exceed 2 minutes. A good way to plan for 2 minutes is to write out a script that is around 280-300 words.
  • When you are done, upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo and title the video, “your name - TED Idea Search: Africa 2022”. Make sure the video is listed as "public" or "unlisted" so that we won't need a password to view it.

Questions you'll need to answer in your video

  • Question 1. Who are you and what are your credentials?
  • Question 2. What is the idea you want to share?
  • Question 3. What insights will you leave the audience with?
  • Question 4. Why should we invite you to give a TED Talk?

Apply now

Applications are open to anyone living in Southeast Asia or of Southeast Asian descent. At this time, we are only able to accept applications in English. Additionally, applications without videos or applications with videos that exceed 2 minutes will not be considered. The deadline for submissions is September 30, 2022 at 11:59pm ET.

Apply for TED Idea Search: Southeast Asia 2022