IIT-M to host Chennai’s first TEDx conference Karthik Subramanian
TEDxChennai 2009 will be first independently organised TED event for city
Official website offers opportunity to sign up and nominate TED Stars
CHENNAI: A group of enthusiastic young volunteers, drawn from fields as diverse as the media to information technology to entrepreneurs and students, are working against the clock to put together Chennai’s first TEDx conference at the IIT-Madras on November 29.
TEDxChennai 2009 will be the first independently organised Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) event for the city through a licence granted from the Sapling Foundation, a private not-for-profit organisation based in the U.S. that has pioneered the conferences.
TED conferences are popular “by invitation only” meetings devoted to “ideas worth spreading.” Over the years, they have become pivotal in bringing to the spotlight, innovators, both established and upcoming, from various fields. The list of speakers at the annual international TED conferences has included former U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, among others. The videos of all the TED talks have been hosted for free online on the official website www.ted.com since 2006. They are today among the most popular viral videos of all times, garnering some 176 million views in all.
The TED India meeting organised was held in Mysore in the first week of November and featured, among others, Minister of State for External Affairs and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and Massachusetts Institute of Technology student and inventor of Sixth Sense technology Pranav Mistry. The demonstration of the Sixth Sense technology, a wearable device that enables innovative interactions between the physical and the digital worlds, was a huge hit at the international TED meet held in California in March.
Earlier this year, TED curator Chris Anderson called for applications from individuals across the world to apply for independently organised TED conferences that would be marked as TEDx. Kiruba Shankar, who is a part of the Knowledge Foundation, which has previously organised conferences such as Blogcamp, an ‘unconference’ of bloggers, and Proto.in, a platform that brought together entrepreneurs and investors, had applied and TED granted the licence. “We intend to make it an annual affair,” he says. “There are a lot of interesting innovators from south India, and TEDx Chennai can be the event that showcases them.”
In true new media style, the TEDxChennai organisers have been running most of the management via online networking tools such as a wiki, through their personal blogs, an official twitter account (@tedxchennai) and a dedicated group on Facebook. The official website — www.tedxchennai.com — offers, for anyone who visits, the opportunity to sign up and nominate TED Stars — trailblazers from various fields — who will receive special invitations to the event. “The idea is to keep it a community-driven event as much as possible,” says Benedict Gnaniah, advertising professional and one of the organisers. “We will put out audio podcasts and host videos for posterity. That would drive the importance of the event and will encourage us to make it an annual event.”
Those who have confirmed participation at the TEDx as speakers include Padmashri awardee and head of the Telecommunications and Computer Networks Group, IIT-Madras, Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Carnatic music innovators Anil Srinivasan and Sikkil Gurucharan, chief functionary of Prajwala, an anti-trafficking NGO, Sunitha Krishnan and former Chief Vigilance Commissioner N.Vittal.