TED logoSo, if you’re like me, you know a little something about this TED phenomenon; maybe you’ve watched some of the inspiring videos that live under its virtual umbrella.  Maybe some of you even attended the recent TEDMED event in Washington, D.C., one of many modules that have emerged from the mothership

I’ve had a reminder by my desk for the last week or so to “Check out TEDMED.”  Today I finally did.  Wow.

But let me retreat for just a moment and start from the beginning.  TED was founded by American architect and graphic designer Richard Saul Wurman and first held in 1984.  In 2001, TED was acquired by the foundation created by former editor-in-chief of Wired, Chris Anderson.  Since then, with Anderson as curator, TED has continued to grow in scope and reach.  What was once an annual conference now has many iterations and offshoots, physical as well as virtual, large and small, global and local.

Described by Fortune magazine as having a “hummingbird mind,” Wurman was famous for seeking ways to make the complex clear. (Wikipedia)  And indeed, TED – Technology, Entertainment, Design – brings together executives and entrepreneurs, musicians and artists, scientists and doctors, politicians and statesmen to wrestle with some of the biggest ideas and issues of our time.  The two annual TED conferences – the TED Conference on the West Coast each spring and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer – bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).  These days TED also includes the award-winning TED Talks video site (with more than 1,400 talks available for sharing and re-posting), the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize. Click here for the official “Taste of TED” video.  

TED Talks – (1) A clearinghouse of free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers and (2) a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other

For 3½ days every spring at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, a multi-disciplinary community of 1,800 leaders from across society gather for TEDMED, “the Burning Man for health aficionados,” according to Robin Hogen, vice president for communications for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted solely to the public’s health.  The TEDMED mission is to host an inclusive conversation about how to create a better future in health and medicine.

You’ll find one recap of this year’s event by RWJF, “TEDMED 2013 Moments,” here.

Other commentary includes

TEDMED Day 4 – Harnessing Our Data, and Motorcycles, to Work for Us

And, impressions by first-time TEDMED speaker Peter Attia, MD, of The Eating Academy, and co-founder and President of the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI).

Attia’s experience included meeting the creator of his all-time favorite TED talk, Ric Elias, on “3 things I learned while my plane crashed.”

Elias had a front-row seat on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? At TED 2011, he told his story publicly for the first time.

Learn more at the TEDMED website or follow TEDMED on Twitter – @TEDMED – or on FacebookRegistration for the 2014 event (April 8-11) is now open.

TED will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2014.  The theme at the annual spring conference (March 17-21 in Vancouver, Canada, and via live simulcast at affiliated auditoriums around the world) will be “The Next Chapter,” an exploration of the most significant developments of the last 30 years and an attempt to apply that knowledge to understand what’s ahead.

Attendance at TED is by application.  Registration for 2014 is open now.  All applications are reviewed in an attempt to actively seek out leading thinkers and doers across a wide range of fields.