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The TEDxStockholm Week — an idea worth spreading?

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In this special guest blog, Teo Härén, co-founder of TEDxStockholm, explains the concept behind TEDxStockholm week, which will begin tomorrow (April 17) and run until April 24.

It is all there in the TED tagline, isn’t it? — “Ideas worth spreading”: Three words that say it all. Three words that all TED lovers know.

But today I would like to reflect on the well known tagline for a moment, and I would like to start with the middle word: “worth“. As TED lovers we all believe that TED is important. We think that it can change people’s minds, and therefore change the world. We agree that the inspiration we find at TED is valuable; it really is worth something. We also believe that it is worth even more if we share it with other people. So, all over the world we have embraced the bold and brave TEDx concept to help spread TED talks to places as diverse as Calcutta, Cape Town and Copenhagen. During the past 18 months, it has grown much larger than most people could have imagined.

TEDxStockholm was one of the first groups in the world to host a small TEDx just a few months after the launch of the concept. Since then we have hosted two more. And last September, 200 TED enthusiasts gathered for the third TEDxStockholm, with speakers like Hans Rosling and David Bismark (David even appeared on the TEDGlobal stage later that year).

But there was a problem. We had 200 creative, inspiring people at the event, great talks and even better conversations. They all came to the event ready to embrace new ideas, but all our attendees already knew about TED and we asked ourselves: Are we really spreading anything at all?

So, we took it one step further. We asked ourselves: What if all the people at our event came together and arranged their own TEDx event? Then, we could not only help spread TEDx around the globe, but also locally in and around Stockholm. We challenged them to arrange their own TEDx – and the community rose to the challenge.

Next week, 25 TEDx events will take place in and around Stockholm during the TEDxStockholm week. Both groups and individuals arranged events like TEDxViggbyholm, TEDxHumlegården and TEDxBotkyrka. Some are large, some are small; even the US Embassy in Stockholm is holding one. Our aim was 15 events — we’ve got 25.

But then we thought of all the other events that will take place around the globe — what if everyone that attended a TEDx event in their city kept on spreading TEDx locally by organizing their own event? TEDx would not only spread around the world, but keep on spreading deeper into communities. Then we really would start spreading those valuable ideas.

Remember, the TED tag line is not “Ideas worth watching.” It is “Ideas worth spreading.”

For another interesting perspective on TEDxStockholm, read the other TEDxStockholm co-founder Henrik Ahlen’s blog about it here >>