News TED Prize

What’s your $1 million wish for the world? Some amazing ideas

Posted by:
Who will win this year's TED Prize? Find out during TED2014. Who will win next year? Well, that's up to you. Photo: Ryan Lash

Who will win this year’s TED Prize? Find out during TED2014. Who will win next year? Well, that’s up to you. Photo: Ryan Lash

It’s time to nominate someone for the 2015 TED Prize, a $1 million award to a visionary with a great big idea for creating change in the world. Through Monday, March 31, you can nominate a mentor, a hero, a co-worker, even yourself. TED is looking for someone who has not only a great wish, but a track record that suggests they could accomplish it.

(The winner of the 2014 TED Prize will be revealed on Tuesday, March 18, during the TED2014 conference. Mark your calendar to watch it live online. Check back here for details.)

While nominations open, we were curious: What kind of wishes would fans make with $1 million? These answers have been edited down from a TED conversation. Join the conversation, or make an official nomination through the TED Prize website.

“I would begin by revitalizing the city I live in. There are many run-down buildings, and I would like to employ local people to restore them (creating jobs) to then sell them (at cost or close to cost) to low income families in the area. If successful, I envision creating teams to spread out into other areas, deepening the impact.” —Trian Mort

“My wish: Pro-active psychological support for children in schools. Kids are under huge pressure to succeed, often in the face of adversity at home. I would like to see support reach every child who needs it.” —Xander Mahony

“I would invest in designing a watch that measures the quality of time uniquely to each and every user. Why? Because time is the container that holds and dictates all of our efforts, and I believe we have an outdated approach and perception towards it. Earth didn’t come prepackaged with the 9-5 system, so why are we spending our time like it did? If we can accept the simple fact that we function differently at different hours, we can begin organizing in a way that makes sense and is not merely to satisfy the system. If we can design a time system that brings out the best in people, we are laying the foundation for more amazing skills and great minds to grow on.” —Nicholas Yong Cam-U

“I’d wish for: COMMUNITY GARDENS. I envision every village with a ‘community garden,’ and for towns with several of them. By a community garden, I mean a place where it’s possible to have a cheap and wholesome meal, and a place to share ideas, network, start enterprises, even have an exchange library where local writers can offer readings. This would be a place where it’s possible to rent a space and conduct a workshop, or rent a stall once a week to sell handmade wares.” —Ashen Venema

“I would set up a Mr. Father/International Father of the Year contest where the contestants are nominated based on their parenting skills, community activity, and proactive involvement in enhancing the quality of fathering/parenting skills, etc. My reason: many of the problems we face as a global village stem from poor attention paid to the formative years of a child’s life. Mothers aren’t always perfect, but the biological parenting instinct generally comes more naturally to them. In this day and age, with the stressful and multifocal waves of change sweeping across family life, it is almost sad to admit that fatherhood and fathering needs a bit of a shakeup and some incentivisation. I see beauty pageants as a complete farce. Why not invest the million dollars in creating a new type of beauty contest, one that can help mold our aspirations?” — Sumesh Kassie

I would create a movie on the history of women. What is the female perspective through time — what did women invent, fight for, uphold, contribute to? In order for women to find their collective voice, it would be helpful for them to collectively know their past. I would like the movie to be claymation, so it appeals to young at heart.” —Carolyn McAuley

“I would use the prize to invite 20 G20 leaders to host a child from a third world country at their home for 60 days, and get to understand their way of seeing the world. After that, it would be harder to allocate just a fraction of a country’s annual budget to fighting hunger and lack of child education in the developing world.” —Federico Martinez

My dream is to make sure that if a kid can’t come to school, than school goes to them. I would use that money to start a School on Wheels project. This project will use the existing Indian railway system, turning a train bogie into a classroom that will pass remote villages and teach young kinds basic education. In each village, an elder will teach local knowledge, in addition to the traditional learning the kids will get. The project will also encourage various green projects, like developing a community farm or veggie garden. Together, this will help young kids to grow as individuals. We could even start similar projects in other parts of world where kids still have no schools. In places where there is no rail line, we can make a School on a Bus.” —Gargi Mishra

I’d use half money to provide hospitals with the resources they need to ensure that a safe birth for women in poorer countries is easily accessible, and the other half would go to breastfeeding support. I’ve yet to work out how to do this, exactly, but I feel It’s one of the most important things we could do. If we ensure good health at birth, the likelihood of survival is higher.” —Emma Small

“I would like to set up an interactive museum of tribal indigenous technology from different parts of the world.” —Uba D. Tmar

“I would invest in shelter homes. There are so many people who live on the streets where I come from (Serbia), and we only have one or two shelter homes. It is not enough with an economy that`s providing so little and more and more people declaring poverty.” —Nikola Pajtic

“$1 million dollars is equivalent to N$10 million dollars in Namibia. With that money one could build five libraries and five different sport facilities in the northern part of the country, where we have an uncontrolled problem of alcohol abuse caused mainly by the absence of social facilities. With a million dollars, I would run a campaign on the radio to discourage the use of alcohol and encourage a culture of reading.” —Mesag Michael

“In 2012, Angry Birds generated $200 million in revenue and Farmville reached a billion dollar in sales. These games achieved these levels by providing an entertaining experience to a global market. Imagine an entertaining game that also has a positive impact on the future of the planet. Players gain points, gifts and incentives by finding virtual solutions to virtual problems. There would be in-game resources that could be purchased to help them build a better world, and players could form teams to tackle complex problems and make greater gains. Of course, successful online games must generate an audience, and what better way than with a cash prize. Each year, players that have reached a certain point level are placed on a ballot and the game community votes to choose the player they feel created the best virtual solution to a real world problem. The game would be fun…and rewarding.” —Gord G

Make an official nomination for the TED Prize »

Join a brainstorm of prize-worthy ideas with other TED fans »