TED (an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design) has been producing thought-provoking conferences all over the world since the mid-80s. Always at the center of TED’s events are changemakers, theorists, experts and innovators who speak to eager conference attendees. The vision of each conference is to set change and growth into motion through the sharing of information in perfectly-packaged 18-minute tidbits. Panel discussions, breakout groups and other old-school conference methods are abandoned, instead speakers are expected to inspire with simple and intentional presentations, to make their point and then step aside for the next speaker. Many of the presentations made at TED conferences have gone viral on the internet, racking up millions of views. One recent example of this was Chef Jamie Oliver’s speaking engagement at the recent 2010 conference, which we’ve embedded below. Oliver was awarded $100,000 by the TED organization in order to continue his efforts. You can read more about TED, the not-for-profit, here.
An off-shoot of TED is TEDx, whereby groups as large as a city and as small as a classroom, apply for the privilege of hosting their own TED event. These events often focus on specific issues or geographic areas–corporations even have the option of hosting private TEDx’s for their employees. Limitations and guidelines exist, however, and this keeps the TED brand pure and ensures that attendees receive a similar, high-quality experience no matter how large or small a TEDx event might be.
Cleveland’s recent TEDx event (TedxCLE) was a smash hit, focusing on Rustbelt ReBirth. Speakers included representatives from the fields of technology, manufacturing, medicine, art and even food.
Susan Lynn Cope, a local event planner, recently applied for and was just granted the option to host the first-ever TEDxBuffalo event. The application requires the applicant to flesh out as many of the details as possible, without actually securing speakers, sponsors or a location, so in my conversation with Cope this morning, we were able to discuss her intentions and some of her ideas for TEDxBuffalo, but much of the upcoming event is still taking shape.
Cope’s overall goal is to have the first TEDxBuffalo event really focus on what it will take to turn Buffalo into a sustainable, thriving community with a functional infrastructure and hope for the future. Slated to speak so far at the event are: Andrew Hessel, described as a “biologist, author, scientist and a catalyst for open source biology”, and Clark Dever whose bio on Cope’s site claims he is “rogue technologist, photographer, and social engineer.” Many of you might recognize Dever from his recent 12 Hours in a City project.
As mentioned above, both speakers are expected under TED’s guidelines to speak for no more than 18 minutes, and since Cope plans on TEDxBuffalo encompassing a full day of learning, other speakers will be added to the roster as plans fall into place. Her ideal location would be Ani DiFranco’s Babeville, and she is shooting for a date this fall. Based on TEDx’s guidelines, only 100 guests will have the opportunity to attend the first TEDxBuffalo event, so when tickets go on sale, we suggest you not waste any time.
Cope will spend the next few weeks organizing volunteers, finalizing schedules and drumming up sponsors. Sponsorship is fundamental to the success of the event, and Cope encourages anyone interested in becoming involved to contact her directly. “I want TEDxBuffalo to really look at and discuss the ways that we can revitalize this city. The message needs to be relevant. This city won’t change without input and action from its residents.”
TEDxBuffalo Website http://www.