4 years of TEDx and the journey forward: The TEDx Workshop at TEDGlobal

imageTED Curator Chris Anderson

"What would happen if you wanted a bunch of people to come with you on a journey?" 

TED Curator Chris Anderson asked this to a crowd of over 100 TEDx organizers from 43 countries — including Sudan, South Africa, France, China, Egypt and more — during his talk on what makes a good TED Talk at the TEDx Workshop at the Lyceum on Sunday, June 9 at TEDGlobal in Edinburgh.  

But this question may as well have well been about the evolution of the TEDx community, which has exploded from 352 events in its first year, to now 7,000 events, held in 179 countries. 

imageTEDx Director Lara Stein

The global brand ambassadors kicked off what will be a week of immersion in the TED ethos, culture and experience with knowledge-sharing talks from both TED staff and TEDx organizers. 

imageExecutive Director of TED Media June Cohen

imageTEDxRainier organizer Phil Klein

Later, TED staff shared their expertise in Deep Dive sessions at the nearby HUB.

imageTEDx organizers in Deep Dive sessions

imageTEDx organizers in Deep Dive sessions

In the afternoon and evening, organizers enjoyed a hike to Arthur’s Seat and a private reception at Edinburgh Castle. 

imageTEDx organizers at Arthur’s Seat

imageTEDx organizers at the top of Arthur’s Seat

imageTEDx organizers at Edinburgh Castle

So — what has happened in 4 years of the global journey that is now TEDx? Events in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Antarctica; 750 organizers convening for a global learning workshop in Qatar; Chinese TEDx’ers gathering at the Great Wall of China; 150 TEDxWomen events augmenting the stories of women and girls worldwide; 250 TEDx Talks became TED Talks and spread to the audience of TED.com.

imageForming a human “x” at Arthur’s Seat

TEDx Director Lara Stein also announced TEDxSummit 2014 during the workshop — a continuation of the 2012 Doha summit, which will take place in Berlin in June.

TEDx’ers have already expressed their excitement in community groups: “And the countdown for the next TEDxSummit begins. See you guys there!”

Check out all the photos from the TEDx Workshop at TEDGlobal »>

Surprising things made out of jumbo dung…

The TEDxCoimbatore name tags. Wanting to produce badges that were both eco-friendly and useful, the team at TEDxCoimbatore turned to an interesting material — elephant dung.

Registration begins at TEDxCoimbatore

Laced with plant seeds, the tags (and speaker profiles!) were made in a way that made them perfect for re-use: a paper of bleached elephant dung, that when placed in soil and watered, sprouts flowers.

"Most often, handouts at fairs and name tags are disposed of," said the designer of the name tags in an interview with The Times of India. "We wanted to show that they can be put to better use."

No word yet on how they smelled, but we’re guessing the bleach took care of that.

Snapshots of TEDxKids@Chiyoda, a TEDxKids event in Tokyo, Japan.
TEDxKids@Chiyoda brought over a hundred youngsters to the Chiyoda-Ku district of Tokyo for a day of talks, performances, and activities. The event was brimming with great ideas, but here are just a few highlights:

  • TED Talk subtitles in kid-friendly Japanese: "As many Japanese kids doesn’t speak English yet," organizer Ryuta Aoki said, "and many Japanese subtitles for TED Talks are too difficult for kids to understand, we made subtitles for kids and used them for TEDxKids@Chiyoda. The translation team got a lot of words of thanks from participants, especially their parents."
  • Live Japanese sign language interpretation: The event was streamed online with Japanese sign language interpretation, so that hearing-impaired kids and adults could join in on the action.
  • A giant cardboard stage set: TEDxKids@Chiyoda’s design team created an over-sized table, chair, hat, shoes, and even a muffler made completely out of cardboard for a stage that even grown-ups couldn’t help but be wowed by.
  • The TEDxKids@Chiyoda Kids’ Talent Search: The TEDxKids@Chiyoda team sent out a call for hopeful speakers before the event, eventually receiving over 10,000+ hits to its social media, and, in the end, two talented youth speakers — recipients of hearty applause on the big day.

Innovation spotlight: TEDxNottingham’s audience feedback boards give speakers live feedback

 From TEDxNottingham organizer, Iain Botteril:  TEDxNottingham was our first event and we were working under a very tight budget, as a result we had to maximise everything that we had.

Whilst we were planning, we thought that we had 100 people in the audience who wanted to be more involved and integrated with the event. So we began to see them not as statues to sit and take on information but rather as an active part of the event’s fabric.

Before the day, we put up 10 boards (one for each speaker) with pins on the side. Then, as part of our audience’s welcome pack, we put in 10 mini red cards and a pen. In between each speaker’s talk, we asked the audience to jot down a few thoughts from the talk on a red card and then stick them up accordingly at the break.

TEDxNottingham by Flickr user, pcmcreative

This helped the audience to remain stimulated during the talks, and also was a great point of discussion and interaction at our breaks and intervals.

It also helped the speakers get a lot of feedback and helped boost the confidence of the other speakers as they saw what was happening with everyone else’s talks and feedback.

Next year, we hope to turn the feedback into gifts for our speakers. We want to purchase a frame for each speaker, and fill it with a selection of photos of their talk, as well as a selection of the red feedback cards. This would give each speaker a really unique and genuine gift for their time. We like the idea of involving the audience and creating genuine gifts.