Most of us who are active on the interwebs are familiar with the concept of TED Talks. Founded in 1984 (and operating annually since 1990), the format has become a phenomenon that’s begun to reshape the structure of many conferences. Integrating Technology, Education and Design (hence, TED) and founded by Richard Saul Wurman, TED has hosted talks by the likes of Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and many other people not named Bill.
What’s truly unique about the format is that each speaker, rather than the traditional 45-90 minute keynote, gets a maximum of 18 minutes to get their point across and their audience engaged. And while many presenters do use visual aids in some form, it’s considered poor form to use the typical bullet-pointed powerpoint slides (which is a delight to those of us who are allergic to bullets).
The TED phenomenon has become so pervasive that there are now similarly themed TEDx conferences around the country, and national conferences that delve into specific topic areas like TEDMed – an annual health-focused conference held in rotating locations, running in 2012 in Washington DC from April 10-13. And while TEDTalks videos have been watched over 500 million times online, TEDMed is doing something new this year … making the conference available – live – to thousands of people who weren’t able to come to DC. TEDMed Live is being simulcasted to hundreds of locations around the world – and participants can generally sign up for individual sessions in their home location for no charge. Follow the TEDMedLive link and then select “Participating Locations” on the lefthand menu to find a location near you.
For those of us lucky enough to live in Austin, our own local TEDx chapter (TEDx Austin) is hosting TEDMed Live in association with St. David’s Medical Center. This year’s conference will feature speakers such as:
Katie Couric – Co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer and Special Correspondent, ABC News
Todd Park – Chief Technology Officer, The White House
Billie Jean King – Tennis legend and champion for social justice
Leslie Saxon – Founder, USC Center for Body Computing
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey – CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
John Hoffman – VP, HBO Documentary Films; Producer of The Weight of the Nation
Cookie Monster – Omm Nom Nom Nom, Sesame Street
Looks like a great series of sessions – especially if you get to see them live, for free, and for people in your own community who care about health. Give it a look! If you’re in Austin, you can register for each session here; in other locations, refer to the TEDMed Live directory of participating institutions.