How do you help someone who might change the world? You nurture his or her ideas. Then you spread them.
Imagine a party. Now imagine a room in which you find:
- The founder of Africa's first online ad network
- A physicist who uncovered the mathematical patterns of war
- An actress who plays a spy in peril
- A metals sculptor who's saving coral reefs
- The pioneer behind a women's inventor network
After eavesdropping, chances are you'd step out of that room and into a world flipped upside-down.
That's the idea behind TED. You bring together the world's leading thinkers and doers. You pair techies with filmmakers, designers with doctors, musicians with philosophers, mathematicians with politicians. Then you watch the future take shape before your eyes.
That's also the idea behind a new TED program called TED Fellows, whose focus is world-changers-in-the-making -- most of them under age 40.
The five people listed above are not hypothetical. It was my honor to introduce them, and 35 other Fellows, at the 2009 TED Conference in Long Beach, California this past week.
It's clear their work now is the prototype for what's around the corner. By mixing them with the talent and experience of the TED community, we hope to aid their incredible projects -- and maybe get a sneak peek at what's coming. Many left the conference with new ideas, new project plans, partners, mentors and perhaps financing. I can't predict what exactly will come of it, but more than a few news making collaborations have begun that way in TED's past.
TED Fellows is actively seeking outstanding individuals for our next group, who will attend the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford, U.K. this summer. We'll open to applications on February 23rd. Potential Fellows may apply directly or be nominated. (If you have someone in mind, don't wait!)
Note: We're focusing on attracting applicants who live or work in the Asia/Pacific region, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East, although people from anywhere around the globe may apply. Our target age range is 21-40, though anyone over age 18 may apply. Ideal candidates should show real achievement and real promise. We're seeking makers and doers -- not just talkers.
For more information, please visit www.ted.com/fellows.
Follow Tom Rielly on Twitter: www.twitter.com/trielly