Explaining IdeaWave, and resolving the TEDx confusion

“TEDActive prerelease tickets for March 2nd starts now” “No, TEDx is on March 12th in the email I saw?” “Where do we register?” “On Facebook” “No, on the Belfry’s website” A discussion on an email list I’m on went something like this. Clearly there is some confusion about TEDx in Victoria, so I will try to explain it.

First off, I run an ideas conference called IdeaWave, and it is in no way associate with TED or anything TED related. The only similarity is that we’re both ideas conference, but we’re not competing. There’s one other idea conference I’m aware of, IdeaCity. I’ve alway wanted to go to TED, and IdeaCity, but they are ~$7,000 and $3,000 respectively, so they are not approachable to most. If you do manage to go, you are a name brand person who gets to meet name brand critical thinkers.

As the high financial cost was one of the major reasons that I created IdeaWave, if I was going to make an ideas conference it would be approachable to the masses. IdeaWave is $50 to attend this year. Instead of monetizing off of the attendees, I would monetize off organizational sponsors — organizations that want to support idea generation and innovation. The mission statement for IdeaWave is to engage critical thinkers in the community, with the goal of fostering innovation.

Then I decided, if I’m going to create my own ideas conference, what would an ideal conference look like to me? I decided to try several new things that I’m not aware have ever been done before at an ideas conference:

  • No limit on subject matter. For example, talks are not limited to Technology, Entertainment and Design.
  • 10 minute talks. This forces speakers to separate the wheat from the chaff.
  • 50 talks in two days. If the talks are only 10 minutes each, how many can we fit into a week-end without complete mental shut down?
  • Make it affordable to the vast majority of the community. As mentioned above, monetize from sponsorships instead.
  • Amazing people with amazing ideas, you’ve never heard of. As the founder, and regular at the Victoria Ideas meeting, as well as many other ideas meetings around the world, I’ve met inventors and innovators doing things that are going to change the world. Creating a venue for them to be heard is something I want to be a part of.

For a list of the three ideas conferences this year that I’m aware of:

  • IdeaWave – February 26 & 27, 2011 – Victoria, Canada
  • TED – February 28-March 4, 2011 – Long Beach, CA
  • IdeaCity – June 15, 16, 17, 2011 – Toronto, Canada

So anyway, back to TEDx. With TED’s brand, they’ve created a process that people can independently organize TED events. Mind you, to run one it has to be approved, and  you must follow strict requirements to be eligible.

What happened this year has created some confusion, it appears that 6 TEDx events in Victoria have just been approved by TED, all in about the same month. Or at least, the various people who were authorized to create a TEDx in Victoria all found out about each other around the same time.

This is the list of Victoria based TEDxs I’m aware of:

You can get the full details on John’s TEDxJuanDeFuca website. What is really exciting to me is that I’ve become great friends with several of the local TEDx organizers since meeting them, and they are working collaboratively instead of competitively which is great to see. As long as each one manages to keep their unique branding without the various events diluting together, which is clearly happening right now and needs resolved, it looks like this is going to be the best year for sharing ideas in Victoria, ever!