TEDx events are independently-organized events that can span many subject areas in Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED). Students have used the TEDx conference model to create opportunities for spreading awareness about Innovation and Entrepreneurship, using the highly recognized TED brand.
A TEDx makes sense for a campus that has numerous innovation and entrepreneurship offerings, but a general lack of awareness amongst faculty and students about the importance of cultivating these skills. A TEDx can be focused on innovation and entrepreneurship to inspire a campus community by showcasing examples of innovative faculty research, successful entrepreneurial alumni and current students who have commercialized technology and acheived positive economic, societal and environmental impact. The process of acquiring a license is relatively straightforward and restrictions are outlined by TEDx here.
A TEDx license can be secured for maximum capacity of 100 or 1,000 depending on whether the license holder is a TED Fellow (which simply means one has spoken at or attended a TED event). Some have successfully sought funding to attend a TED event and become a fellow for this purpose. Generally students are not TED fellows and have found a faculty or alumn who secures the license on their behalf, leaving the event planning and management to the student team. Generally, students have felt that the size of the audience does not matter so much as the quality of the speakers and the recorded videos, which can be shared on campus and beyond after the event.
Budgets have varied from $5,000 - $35,000, organizing teams have varied from 5 to 60; and lead-time from planning to execution has ranged from 4 to 12 months. Students cultivating the innovation ecosystem have been very successful holding this event.
- 1 Before the Event
- 2 Building the Event
- 2.1 Organizer Responsibilities
- 2.2 Venues
- 2.3 Speakers
- 2.4 Sponsors
- 3 Running the Event
- 4 Contributors
Before the Event
In addition to the standard TEDx model, there are speciality TEDx conferences designed for specific audiences. The most diverse of which include TEDxYouth, TEDxUniversity, ED Events, Salon Events, and Internal TEDx and these conferences can be an effective way to create change in different communities.
According to the TEDxYouth Resources page (found <a href="https://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event/community-resources/event-type-resources/youth-event-resources">here</a>), the purpose of these events is to empower young people to create positive change in their societies. These conferences specifically focu on topics meant to engage youth, and opportunities for socializing, snacking, and hands-on activities should be provided in between speaking sessions.
TEDxWomen events focus on women and gender and are held on the same day as the TEDWomen. During the event, audience members view a hybrid of live in-person sessions and live sessions streamed from TEDWomen.
TEDxUniversity events can be used to highlight and celebrate innovation and creativity happening within a school’s community (see <a href="https://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event/community-resources/event-type-resources/university-event-resources">TEDxUniversity Resource page</a>). When organizing a university conference, it is important to keep the entire community in mind--faculty, staff, administration, students, alumni, and neighbors. Integrating all of these stakeholders into one conference can provide opportunities for insight, networking, partnerships, and problem solving that would not otherwise exist.
ED events are TEDx conferences that focus specifically on education. They are meant to spread powerful ideas among students, administrators, teachers, and other stakeholders and the audiences should be comprised mainly of people from the area in which the conference is being help. For more information, see the <a href="https://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event/before-you-start/event-types/ed-event">ED Event Resource page</a>.
Salon events are smaller meetups where attendees can watch prerecorded TED talks, host live speakers, and engage in conversation about the topics that were addressed. They are meant to be held in between official TEDx events and create conversation around specific topics in a local community. For more information, see the <a href="https://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event/before-you-start/event-types/salon-event">Salon Event Resource page</a>.
Internal TEDx events provide a distinct opportunity for organizations to improve their culture “through cross-silo communication and collaboration” (<a href="https://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event/community-resources/event-type-resources/internal-event-resources">Internal TEDx Resource page</a>). These unique events facilitate community building, leadership development, and simply spread good ideas throughout the organization. The resource page recommends tracking the impacts the conference has (higher levels of work satisfaction, higher rates of volunteerism, etc) to demonstrate effectiveness.
There are a variety of non-negotiable rules that must be followed when putting on a TEDx event. With close to 100 rules outlining everything from branding to fundraising, it is imperative that event planners begin by familiarizing themselves with these general regulations, which can be found <a href="https://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event/before-you-start/tedx-rules">here</a>. In addition to the general regulations, specific rules also apply to the various types of TEDx events. Those rules can be found <a href="https://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event/before-you-start/event-types">here</a>.
Applying for a License
In order to organize a TEDx event, you must first obtain a license from the TED organization. The type of license you will need to apply for depends on the type of event you are putting on. A list of the different types of licenses can be found <a href="https://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event/before-you-start/event-types">here</a>.
After you have selected a specific license, you will need to create a name for the event (make sure to follow the naming rules) as well as a hypothetical program outline. In your hypothetical program outline, you will need to include at least three ideas you would like to have presented at the event. It is recommended that you build diversity and novelty into the ideas you include in your program outline.
It is important to know that it can take upwards of eight weeks for your application to be reviewed, and that a minimum of three months is required for planning before the event can take place.
Building the Event
Numerous organizer rules and responsibilities exist to ensure a common, high quality experience across TEDx events. Below is a summary of those responsibilities sourced from https://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event/before-you-start/organizer-responsibilities.
Create a TED-like Experience
Big ideas, rich storytelling and a multidisciplinary program are just a few qualities that make a great TED event. You’ll be expected to capture the spirit of TED in your event by sparking community connections and inspiring ideas that change perspectives.
Follow Rules and Guidelines
We get it: rules can be a pain. But there’s a reason they’re part of the TEDx program – to make your job easier. The better you know the TEDx rules and guidelines throughout your TEDx journey, the less you’ll have to deal with annoying details to correct later on. We promise.
Unearth Local Voices
As a TEDx organizer, you’ll have the option to feature live talks at your event, bringing attention to undiscovered voices in your community. If you decide to include individual speakers, choose extraordinary people who have been heard and seen by few, but have a fresh approach in their field, a unique story to tell, or a new perspective to share – which they can convey in a dynamic way.
Produce Great Content
Whether you’re playing a curated program of TED Talks or combining live talks and video, you’ll be responsible for creating a program that “wows” your guests and viewers. That takes a lot of creativity and work! So be prepared to be both organizer and producer of your gathering.
Excite and Delight your Audience
It’s no news that making your audience happy is essential for a successful event. But the devil is in the details. From the moment your guests receive invitations, to the minute they walk out of the event, they should feel like they’re experiencing something significant. Think of your audience’s needs every step of the way. (That includes your livestream audience, if you have one.)
Celebrate and Protect the TEDx Vision
By licensing you as a TEDx organizer, we’re vesting in you a little piece of the TED vision. That means it’s your job to make sure the vision and mission of TEDx is protected and boldly celebrated. Use your TEDx event logo often, understand and spread the idea of TEDx (including the difference between TED and TEDx!), and invest yourself in the spirit of the TEDx community.
Lead your Team
A group of organized, impassioned people can make one powerful event – they just need the guidance and support to make it happen. We know managing staff can be tough work, but strong, thoughtful leadership can go a long way. Every person on your team (that includes speakers too!) should feel like they’re part of a caring, trusting and accountable community. Be an advocate for them, and their support will follow.
Put in the Work (and passion)
Organizing a TEDx event is a big endeavor, so make sure you have the time and dedication to do the hard work needed to create a great event. Unadulterated joy is also a must! Put in the work and bring a ton of passion to the mix, and it will be an experience you’ll never forget.
Selection of a venue for a TEDx event is a complex process which must take into account numerous factors to ensure a successful event. Venue size, style, location and technical capability must all be considered. Additionally, social spaces must be included to allow guests to mingle throughout the day.
Your chosen venue must be appropriately sized to comfortably fit your expected audience while striving for intimacy and comfort. Organisers are encouraged to select venues with simple designs with the following technical capabilities:
- An ability ot project and watch videos
- A stage for the host and live speakers
- A location for food and beverage setup
- Conveniently located bathrooms
- Exhibit space for sponsor materials, speakers, a bloggers' lounge, etc.
- Party space for sponsored lunches and other events
TED makes some suggestions as to the types of venues which should be selected depending on audience size. For events under 100 guests, they recommend “white box” spaces including art galleries and private music venues. For events with 100 - 300 guests they suggest lecture halls, auditoriums, museums or city art centres. Lastly, for the largest events with over 300 guests, they recommend utilising a concert hall, opera house, large hotel conference centre or even a stadium.
When selecting speakers and topics for a TEDx event, care should be taken to ensure that each talk conforms to the common theme of the event as a whole. Themes should be abstract, open to interpretation, and broad enough to leave room for a wide range of topics and speakers. Some examples of past themes include:
- The Great Unveiling
- The Big Questions
- Think Again
- The Substance of Things not Seen
The topics being explored at your event should be diverse, interesting, and should reflect the local community while having global implications.
Before selecting speakers, a selection committee should be formed to ensure fairness and a diversity of opinions in the selection process.
When selecting speakers, the committee should begin by finding an interesting idea or innovation in the community and then finding a speaker in and around that idea. Speakers should satisfy the following requirements:
- A local voice that few people have heard before?
- Someone who can present their field in a new light?
- Someone with a perspective to which the global TED community may not have access?
- Diverse by demographic, ethnicity, background, and/or topic?
Creating and managing a budget for your TEDx event can be a challenge. Most events will cost at least some money, so you’ll want to know how much you need, and how to get it.
Before raising capital, event organisers should create a budget including the projected costs for the event. To be safe, organisers should overestimate their costs by 1.5 times to account for unforeseen costs.
Organisers should explore the possibility of cash and in-kind donations to mitigate the costs of running the event. This can be done through sponsorship however it can also take the form of individuals donating their time and expertise in exchange for tickets to the event. For example, a local baker might provide cupcakes for the event in exchange for tickets. TED maintains a database of sponsors who can provide products and services to TEDx organisers <a href="https://www.ted.com/participate/organize-a-local-tedx-event/community-resources/tools-how-to-s/sponsor-marketplace">here</a>.
As TEDx events can take place all over the globe, it is the individual responsibility of the event organisers to ensure that event funds are managed according to local laws and regulations. TEDx organisers may decide do route their funds through an existing non-profit organisation or to create a new one. If this is the case, the non-profit must not include anything related to TED or TEDx.
When approaching sponsors, a major component is spending time educating them on what it means to be a TEDx event sponsor. In short, TED/TEDx provides sponsors an opportunity to do something different. There are 9 steps to securing TEDx sponsorship:
- Review the TEDx sponsorship rules.
- Brainstorm potential sponsors that might be a good match for your event. Check out local businesses, or big businesses with local branches.
- See if your prospective sponsors fall under the prohibited sponsors list or the prohibited industries list. If so, you are not able to approach them to sponsor for your event.
- Reach out to the potential sponsors with a letter and slide presentation. We also find it helpful to review the Why TEDx video and Sponsorship video.
- Finalize sponsorship using an agreement.
- Collaborate on activation. Check out some of the TEDx sponsor innovations for ideas.
- Invite your sponsor to your event.
- Send your partner a thank you note after the event, along with photos and a recap of your event.
- If you’re interested in having them as a sponsor for next year’s event, make sure to keep in touch.
Running the Event
Branding is an integral contributor to the success of a TEDx event. When designing the logo to be distributed and printed on all publications for the event, it is important to consider elements of graphic design that underline the simplicity and universality of the logo itself. TEDx provides multiple template options to assist in the design process of the event’s logo, but specifies that the TEDx logo must be in a Helvetica typeface and take up no more than two lines of space. The TEDx portion of the logo must remain in the standard red color, and the location of the event, for example, Sydney, must appear in black or white color adjacent or underneath of the TEDx segment. These standard regulations ensure that all of the TEDx events occurring globally can be associated with each other as independently organized events that further the mission of the same nonprofit organization, TED. Once the designed TEDx logo is approved, it may then be added to branding materials and distributed.
Effective promotion of the upcoming TEDx event is essential in driving up attendance and stimulating conversation around the topic addressed during the event. Creation of a captivating or intriguing headline name is important in the optimization of views: note that “A song that flies you to Machu Picchu, 1496” sound far more interesting than “The power of a song” (ted.com). The event can be advertised through a variety of media: event pages (provided by TED), event websites, social media platforms (for example, a Facebook page), blogs, email updates, a TEDx trailer, or even an official press release. All advertisements should include specific information such as the event’s name, date, time, location, if the event is public or private, a list of speakers, the overall theme, a live webcast URL, and related social media accounts, as this information becomes available or changes.
Video and Photography
It is important to carefully plan out logistics surrounding the photos and video recording to secure high quality content to be shared globally, both during and after the event. Detail oriented plans, from the equipment used to the editing softwares implemented are instrumental to the success of the overall production quality. Consider stage directions, lighting, audio, and camera placement when formulating plans for recording and photographing the event. In particular, you will want to frame the shot so that there is a clear background, as so that the TEDx logo is in the frame. If a webcast is involved, it must first be approved before seeking out streaming options such as Facebook Live or YouTube Live. While third-party websites can host the event webcast, there cannot be any advertisements shown to viewers. Viewing parties are encouraged as a means of inviting the broader community to the event; however, they cannot hold more than 100 guests and they should be free of charge.
Post-event and Renewal
Within 48 hours of the event’s completion, a survey must be sent out to all attendees. This survey contains only one question, “Would you recommend this TEDx event to a colleague or friend?”. Additional questions can be added to the survey for more thorough feedback. You will be emailed results within a month in order to help you strategize your planning when organizing events in the future. Don’t forget to upload your videos to YouTube, your photos to Flickr, and refresh your TEDx event page. Your license cannot be renewed until this profile event page has been updated with links to the videos and photos posted to other social media platforms. In order to renew your TEDx license, you must submit an application that includes a proposal for your next event. This cannot be done until all other necessary materials have been uploaded to social media and your event page as a follow up to the TEDx event just hosted. When renewing a license, if it is still active, a “renew” option is visible next to your TEDx name on your TED.com profile. If the license has expired, a new application will need to be started for that name, as the name is now open for other applications and must be resecured.
I'm a student at UTS studying a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology coupled with a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation. I also work as a freelance full stack web developer for a range of clients in Australia. I have a passion for teaching which has driven me to work as a head teacher at Code Camp (an educational program which teaches young children to code). In my spare time, I create artworks for Displate.com, develop entrepreneurial ideas, and chill out in the great southern land.
Nick is a University Innovation Candidate and a senior studying History Education at Utah Valley University. Early on, Nick discovered his passions for education and public policy, and these passions have led him to be involved in a number of projects. When he was in high school, he founded and ran a free academic credit recovery program at his school. After graduating and enrolling at Utah Valley, he worked for the federal education grant GEAR UP where he tutored and mentored over one hundred low income high school students throughout Utah County. During the 2016 Legislative Session, he served as the legislative intern for the State Superintendent’s Office and the State Board of Education. In this capacity, he conducted policy analysis and research for the Board, tracked legislation for the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and designed the Legislative Session in Review presentation for education stakeholders throughout the state.
In 2017 Nick was invited to shadow the education policy staff at the National Governor’s Association as a Program Scholar. During his time with the NGA, he conducted education policy research with the NGA Center for Best Practices and gained a detailed knowledge of the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Common Core. Nick's current projects include competing in the Oxford Map the System Social Innovation Challenge, working as the Presidential Intern to the Vice President of University Relations at Utah Valley University, and serving as the Associate Director of the Center of Innovation in Education Task Force. In this capacity he is working closely with members of the Utah State Office of Education, the Utah State Legislature, and Utah Education Policy Center to create a Utah Center of Innovation in Education.