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TED Global Idea Search 2021

The deadline for this round of submissions is January 21, 2020 (11:59pm EST).


TED is hosting two global idea searches in 2021 with a mission: to hear big, bold ideas from every corner of the world. A select group of people from each application pool will be invited to give TED Talks, either virtually or in person.



  • Applicants are required to create a 2-minute video as a part of their submission. The deadline for this round of submissions is January 21, 2021 (11:59 pm EST).

  • If selected for round 2, you'll be invited to a virtual event where you'll talk more about your idea and participate in a Q&A with members of the TED community.

  • Winners will be invited to give a TED Talk, either virtually or in person.


Tips for success before applying


Your "idea worth spreading" We're looking for ideas worth spreading — that's our mission! So… What does that mean? We're looking for ideas that are new, unique, and can offer an insight or a new way of thinking to a very large audience.

A TED Talk usually has a topic and an idea. A topic is a high level — the general direction you want to take the talk.

  • Does your idea worth spreading offer the audience a unique insight?

  • Will your audience learn something brand new? Something they’ve never heard before?

  • Will your audience learn about a new solution to a problem?

  • TED is not a platform for product pitches. Do you feel confident that your idea is not a product pitch?

  • Did you check our massive library? Are you sure we don’t already have a talk about your idea?

What to avoid

Only in rare circumstances do we invite people to speak about a very personal experience or a personal philosophy. Here are some examples of ideas that we would likely not consider:

  • How I learned to speak my truth and be my authentic self.

  • How to conquer your fears and achieve your dreams.

  • Find your passion through unleashing your creativity.

  • I had a rare experience and it taught me to face my fear.

  • Find happiness using the L.U.V. method: Light, Universe, Vulnerability.

  • I travelled to India and it changed my perspective on the stock market, even though I’m not a banker.

Preparing your video submission

Please make a 2-minute video as a part of your application. You'll find these instructions with more details on the application form as well.

Video setup

  • Film yourself using good lighting angled towards your face rather than coming from behind you.

  • Use a stable camera oriented in horizontal framing (this does not need to be a professional camera -- it can be a computer or phone camera), set to the highest resolution. (On most phones, the resolution you want to use is 4k, 1080.)

  • Make sure your sound is clear and audible (avoid filming outside, and prevent objects from rubbing on the microphone).

  • Your combined answers to the four questions should not exceed two minutes. A good way to plan for two minutes is to write out a script that is around 280-300 words.

  • When you are done, upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo and title the video, “your name - TED Global Idea Search”. Make sure the video is listed as "public" or "unlisted" so that we won't need a password to view it.

Questions you'll need to answer in your video

Question 1. Who are you and what are your credentials? Question 2. What is the idea you want to share? Question 3. What insights will you leave the audience with? Question 4. Why should we invite you to give a TED Talk?


Apply now


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“Lighting the candle of others won’t blow yours out" - Al