TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and it’s a conference that first started in 1984 to link these three distinct realms. Today, it’s morphed into an annual event that draws some of the world’s greatest minds who are challenged to “give the talk of their lives” in just 18 minutes (which is relatively an eternity in the world of Twitter)
In addition to the annual Long Beach, California conference, there are also a twin conference held internationally called TEDGlobal, and in November 2009, TEDIndia will take place in Mysore, India to explore that country’s burgeoning growth.
TED’s website, whose tagline is “ideas worth spreading,” gives people access to the best of these talks at no charge. It is also possible to subscribe to the TEDTalks to get the latest video ideas delivered straight to your inbox. Currently, there are over 400 talks archived on the TED site with more added weekly.
Talks are divided into categories based on general themes, and one that is particularly pertinent to training and development is called How We Learn including talks by author and linguist Steven Pinker on the blank slate and Rice University professor Richard Baraniuk on open-source learning, among others.
Another recent fascinating talk is by entrepreneur and blogger Seth Godin on the power of tribes in the modern age.
The whole concept of TED confirms the social power that seeking and sharing knowledge has in attracting people to collaborate, innovate, and disseminate ideas.