Ideas Worth Spreading — and Funding

Author: Michelle Russell       


The 2018 edition of TED, themed “The Age of Amazement,” got underway this week, April 10–14, at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver. TED has built its brand around “Ideas Worth Spreading,” and the insights shared during the five-day technology, entertainment, and design event do have a ripple effect beyond the 1,000 audience members with the TED Talks video series.

That’s what live events do best, right? They share ideas and knowledge, in the hopes that they will take root and result in something beyond a conversation and into action: to build new things, spark new enterprises, to effect change. It’s with that goal in mind that TED has announced its newest initiative: The Audacious Project: Collaborative Philanthropy for Bold Ideas. It’s a “joint endeavor housed at TED, to surface and fund critical ideas that have the potential to impact millions of lives,” according to the press release.

The idea behind the project is to bring social entrepreneurs and nonprofits together with donors, who pool resources and join forces in support of these ambitious ideas. It’s meant to be a model of philanthropy that mimics the way startups are funded, “so the projects can be more ambitious, more collaborative, and more effective.” 

Plans call for the project to identify up to five bold ideas each year that are well thought-out, with “a credible path to execution, scale, and impact. Nominations come from the coalition of partners and an application that is open to the public.”

TED will marry the ongoing (year-round) Audacious Project with its once-a-year live event by publicly unveiling the fully researched and vetted ideas at a special session during TED. These TED Talks will be shared via AudaciousProject.org following the session, so that members of the live audience as well as those who view the video around the world can choose to support each project financially and in other ways.

This is not just a concept that TED is rolling out — the groundwork has already been laid. The coalition of nonprofit organizations, foundations, and individuals have quietly been working together for several years to raise more than $250 million to fund the inaugural seven Audacious Project ideas for global change, which was unveiled at TED2018 on April 11. 

“TED is dedicated to sharing ideas that matter,” Chris Anderson, TED curator, said in the press release. “But many of the  ideas that matter most require funding on a scale that most people and organizations would never believe was available to them. This initiative is designed to surface those ideas and help turn them into widely supported action plans.”

 The reveal of The Audacious Project recipients was livestreamed exclusively on Facebook Watch  on April 11 at 5 p.m. PDT at facebook.com/TEDBackstage.