A local group is looking for people who have "compelling ideas that can change the world" to launch a new TEDx Talks event in Rochester.
"It's a great platform for ideas that matter," said Ben Creo, co-organizer of TEDxZumbroRiver.
The organizers are announcing their plans for a spring event this evening at Thursday on First & Third.
In the past several years, intellectually challenging speeches on a wide variety of concepts have grown very popular through the TED Talks events in California.
The idea of the modern version of Toastmasters is simple. After applying for the opportunity, a person is chosen to speak to a live audience on their topic for three to 18 minutes. The talks are recorded, and TED Talks post them online to reach as many people as possible.
Starting in 2006, the short and often impassioned speeches have exploded in popularity with the YouTube generation. By 2012, TED Talks online video had tallied 1 billion views. This summer, TED.com posted its 2,000th talk online.
After hearing local young professionals talk about how much they liked the popular TED Talks, Creo and co-organizer Barbara Spurrier went through the detailed application process applied for and received a license from the national nonprofit group.
"Rochester is a fantastic city and an intellectual capital of the Midwest. Let's showcase our city to the world," stated Creo in the press announcement. "It's time for Rochester to have a TEDx, and now, we will."
Rochester is cleared to host events with more than 100 audience members. Spurrier, who is the administrative director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Innovation, says this shows the confidence in Rochester because TED starts most franchise groups off with audiences of only up to 100.
Creo and Spurrier are hoping to attract a crowd of about 1,000 for the inaugural TEDxZumbroRiver event in the spring of 2016. They expect to have about 20 people speaking. No local venue has been finalized to host it yet.
Every speech will be recorded and sent to the head TED organization to be posted on its website.
Part of TED's rules include that no local organization, such as Mayo Clinic, can control or dominate the talks. Organizers say don't expect an event dominated by well-known local leaders.
"It needs to be community-driven," said Spurrier. "We're trying to reach across the community to create a holistic program."
All topics are on the table, with nothing being banned as a potential speech. The focus will be on fresh, energizing ideas. While the event will be based here, speakers can come from beyond the Rochester area.
TEDxZumbroRiver has speaker applications on its website at www.tedxzumbroriver.com. Creo said the applications will be "curated" by a group of about 12 volunteers.
"Right now, the focus is on finding compelling ideas," he said.