TED is a not-for-profit organization which invites speakers (who are sometimes called “TEDsters”) to speak about their ideas at conferences (TED talks), with the individual speeches, each limited to 18 minutes, being video recorded and made available over the internet, for free download/streaming (on www.ted.com).
Speakers are a mixture of well known individuals (politicians, business leaders, media celebrities, etc.) and other less well known individuals (eg, academics, or simply individuals who have researched a particular topic and have an interesting view with regards to the future).
TED stands for ‘Technology, Entertainment and Design‘. Today however it seems to be broader than that. TED’s catchphrase is “Ideas worth spreading” (its mission: “Spreading ideas”). As such, it encourages creativity, innovation and thought, as well as communication and debate. One can learn more about TED on the TED.com ‘About TED page‘ or on Wikipedia’s TED page.
In February 2002, Chris Anderson, founder, curator and custodian of TED, described the core values of TED as including “truth, curiosity, diversity, […], and the pursuit of interest”. He also called it:
the mental equivalent of the full body massage
The TED Talk videos are in my view an excellent source of informative, lively, passionate, and enjoyable discussion. They epitomize hope, optimism, and determination. I encourage anyone who is not familiar to give TED a try. I’ve listed some of my favorite TED talks at the end of this post, but each person has different interests, so you might find it better just to start at www.ted.com.