About TEDxBeaconStreet

Started in 2012, TEDxBeaconStreet is one of the most innovative TEDx events in the world. Widely recognized in the TED and TEDx community for our unique vision, multi-generational emphasis, diverse and open audience, Ideas in Action theme, and Adventures throughout the year, it is our aspiration to be a Laboratory / Test Kitchen bringing innovation to the TED world. We value our audience and community as much as we value our speakers, creating a powerful community dedicated to lifelong learning and setting ideas into action.

TEDxBeaconStreet features world class speakers for a cross-generational audience as young as the second grade. The youth events and ongoing adventures represent an extraordinary opportunity to spark new interests, educationally enrich and organize the youth in your community.

About John Werner, Founder & CEO

TED has established itself as a formidable force spreading knowledge and innovation, and it is a program in which John is tremendously confident. In addition to his work innovating Adventures, John has been a speaker at TED and TED Ed and has led workshops for TEDx organizers at TEDGlobal, TED Summit, TEDxSummit, and TEDActive. He is also a former TEDxBoston Executive Curator. As a frequent TED attendee and mentor to many TEDx organizers, John is at the pulse of the TED movement.

John is an innovator, mobilizer, and human super connector. He constantly builds community and is a ‘moonshot’ thinker innovating as he goes while incorporating the latest technologies. He believes wholeheartedly in 21st century collaborative creativity in innovating with direct human or environmental impact.

John is a Vice President of Meta and was formerly the Head of Innovation and New Ventures of the Camera Culture Group at the MIT Media Lab and founding Managing Director of the Emerging Worlds (SIG) at MIT Media Lab. At MIT John supported developments on new imaging platforms, and developing hardware and software technologies to augment human vision. He was a leader of ReDx (Rethinking Engineering Design Execution), an effort to solve some of the planet’s most important problems. He has been a co-instructor of MIT’s Computational Photography and Imaging, Fabrication and Ventures, and an advisor for MIT’s Engineering Health. John was formerly the Chief Mobilizing Officer, Managing Director and a founding member of the Citizen Schools education initiative where he helped transform Citizen Schools from a concept paper in 1995. John founded Ideas in Action, Inc., a non-profit which created, and currently leads, the innovative enterprise TEDxBeaconStreet. John has attended over 10 TED Conferences.



For over twenty years, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) has unleashed Ideas Worth Spreading via scores of enlightening talks given by experts in every field at gatherings in Long Beach and at TED Global events (which currently take place in Edinburgh). In order to bring the ever impactful experience of TED to an even wider audience, TED began its TEDx initiative in 2009, whereby local communities could hold their own TED events. TEDxBeaconStreet, where x = independently organized TED event, will take place on November 17 and 18 at various locations in the Greater Boston area. Through intriguing talks and innovative Adventures, our conference will link the best traditions of innovation together with earnest thought and dialog, uniting intergenerational, diverse audiences from the Greater Boston area and beyond around our central theme, Ideas In Action.

Where TED brings great thinkers together in exclusive conferences and gives the content away as ideas worth spreading, TEDxBeaconStreet/TEDxYouth@BeaconStreet opens up and demystifies the TED experience, creating a new community platform for activating ideas in action.

We believe that ideas get traction only when communities and families are personally involved and ideas are made real and accessible. That is why our speakers and community members host Adventures throughout the year, offering free, unparalleled, behind-the-scenes access to the people, places and ideas that make Greater Boston so dynamic. Our model forces top thinkers in their fields to make their ideas accessible to a non-technical and diverse audience spanning all age groups.

The Adventures offer unparalleled, behind-the-scenes access to the people and places that make the Greater Boston area so dynamic. These experiences provide the foundation for our innovative celebration of phenomenal regional thought. By offering Adventures in the two months prior to and twelve months after the conference, TEDxBeaconStreet will allow many more people to get involved, fostering the spread of powerful thought and ignition of critical dialog. Our groundbreaking Adventures will be interactive experiences in fields ranging from social issues to technology to entertainment, from an enlightening tour of the Whitehead Institute to an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the FBI to a helicopter ride over the Boston cityscape to an Architecture tour and day of creating art at Artists for Humanity. Participants will be exposed to the masterminds behind the future of technology, business, and entertainment, to name just a few.

Our Adventures, some of them led by TEDxBeaconStreet speakers, will allow for an unprecedented degree of interaction between conference attendees, fostering a spirit of community and continuity before, during, and after the main conference weekend. The Adventures which took place before the main weekend energized audience and community members in anticipation of the weekend itself, and the Adventures happening after the weekend will extend the spirit of TEDxBeaconStreet for far longer than is possible at most other TEDx conferences. TED and TEDx gatherings generate a wealth of energy around ideas that can often be lost following the conclusion of the conference, but the Adventures of TEDxBeaconStreet provide us with the means to harness that energy and extend it throughout the following year and beyond. Furthermore, it may be logistically difficult for some people to spend a whole week at TED in Long Beach or Edinburgh, just as it may be difficult for others to attend the main weekend of TEDxBeaconStreet. But with the addition of Adventures which will take place for a full year over a wide array of days and times, many more people will be able to have a TED experience.

Our goal is not just to provide Adventures for our direct participants in the Boston area: indeed, we want our model to be accessible to people around the world. To this end, during our main conference, TEDx curators from all corners of the Earth came together to discuss how to produce their own TEDx Adventures. We hosted a workshop program and brainstorming session on how to create a TEDx Adventure. In addition, we have developed a comprehensive tool kit which is accessible to TEDx curators and which will assist them as they prepare their own Adventures.

By attending TEDx Beacon Street, a diverse group of international TEDx curators acquired the skills necessary to spread the Adventure model to their own communities around the world, so that a broader group of people will be able to experience the wonder of a TED Adventure. One of our main goals at TEDxBeaconStreet is to learn from each other, and discussing the Adventure model is just one of many instances of that kind of learning. TEDxBeaconStreet will serve as a sort of test kitchen on the subject of Adventures for the benefit of the greater TEDx community.

John Werner, Executive Curator of TEDxBeaconStreet, first piloted the Adventure model during TEDxBoston, for which he was 1 of 5 Executive Curators. 500 people participated in Adventures during TEDxBoston2010, and that number increased by a factor of 10 just one year later during TEDxBoston2011. He presented on the Adventure model at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Qatar, a conference which contained 650 TEDx curators from 97 countries.

Named for the historic neighborhood and the signal lights of the city on the hill, Beacon Street connects Boston to neighboring Brookline and Newton. Ten miles in all, Beacon Street is Boston’s longest street, uniting towns and cities, neighborhoods and businesses, schools and families along the way. It’s a journey through Boston’s nearly 400-year history of innovation, through architectural masterpieces, and entrepreneurial dreams. Beacon Street, then, provides the ideal backdrop for an exciting exchange of ideas. It also accentuates our desire to serve as a beacon to the TEDx community with our Adventure model and signifies our focus on the whole New England area. Hundreds of New England towns have a Beacon Street; there are 490 Beacon Streets in Massachusetts alone.

We have assembled over 45 Curators and 80 Braintrust members. We are thrilled to be able to count so many prestigious organizations as our partners. Due to the strong relationships which the curators have developed with these organizations over time, we have been able to secure many in-kind contributions for TEDxBeaconStreet, ensuring that our conference is spectacular and yet still affordable for our audience.

The leadership of TEDxBeaconStreet is committed to a conference distinguished by unparalleled attention to great speakers and amazing Adventures, but also to a third element which will set TEDxBeaconStreet apart from all other TEDx events: audience engagement. We founded TEDxBeaconStreet not only so that we could emphasize Adventures, but also because we wanted to attend to the audience with as much care as is usually afforded only to the speakers. TEDxBeaconStreet will place a special emphasis on audience participation and interactivity, employing an intergenerational approach. The events on Saturday, November 17 were specially geared to an audience of elementary and middle school students, while Sunday’s events at Google in Cambridge were geared to an intergenerational community, including many from the tech community who are recent college graduates.

Many TEDx events charge a fee for admission, but audience members of TEDxBeaconStreet—like only a few other TEDx events—did not have to pay anything to experience our conference. Rather, we wished to make the event as accessible as possible, with the expectation that each audience member will share with others—of all ages—what he or she has experienced. Our goal is to have a combined view and share count of 2 million for all of our talks once they have been posted online. In this way, Ideas In Action will spread far beyond the boundaries of Greater Boston.

Through the innovative combination of speakers and Adventures, TEDxBeaconStreet will provide the Greater Boston area with an unprecedented experience, highlighting the best of two spheres: both the intellectual and the interactive. And we intend for our successes to be replicated all across the surface of a third sphere—the global one.

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About TEDxYouth @BeaconStreet

TEDxBeaconStreet features world class speakers for a cross-generational audience as young as the second grade. The youth events and ongoing adventures represent an extraordinary opportunity to spark new interests, educationally enrich and organize the youth in your community.


About TED

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

The two annual TED conferences, in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). On TED.com, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 900 TEDTalks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks are subtitled in English, and many are subtitled in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.

Today, TED is best thought of as a global community. It’s a community welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.

The TED Fellows program helps world-changing innovators from around the globe become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. TED Fellows, TEDGlobal Fellows, and TED Senior Fellows are drawn from many disciplines that reflect the diversity of TED’s members: technology, entertainment, design, the sciences, the humanities, the arts, NGOs, business and more.

The TEDx program gives communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently.

The TED Open Translation Project brings TEDTalks beyond the English-speaking world by offering subtitles, interactive transcripts and the ability for any talk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. We launched the project with 300 translations, 40 languages and 200 volunteer translators; one year on, there are more than 21,000 completed translations from our thousands-strong community. It’s an ambitious project that radically enhances the accessibility of the talks — for the hearing-impaired, for those who speak English as a second language, for search engines (which can now index the full transcript of a talk), and of course for the vast audience of non-English speakers worldwide.

The springtime TED Conference is held annually in Long Beach and simulcast in Palm Springs. More than a thousand people attend, and the breadth of content includes science, business, the arts and the global issues facing our world. Over four days, 50 speakers each take an 18-minute slot, and there are many shorter presentations, including music, performance and comedy. There are no breakout groups. Everyone shares the same experience. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It works because all of knowledge is connected. Every so often it makes sense to emerge from the trenches we dig for a living, and ascend to a 30,000-foot view, where we see, to our astonishment, an intricately interconnected whole.

TEDActive features a live simulcast of the Long Beach conference, in Palm Springs, with an emphasis on connection, conversation and creation.

TEDGlobal is TED’s summer conference. The themes of the global conference are slightly more international in nature, and the full TED format is maintained, with a wide-ranging roster of speakers and performers over four days of TED mainstage sessions — plus the famous TED University, where attendees share their own knowledge with one another. TEDGlobal was held in Oxford, UK, in 2005, 2009 and 2010, and in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2007. TEDGlobal is now held annually in Edinburgh, Scotland.

TED also hosts events around the globe. TEDIndia was held in November 2009 in Mysore, India, celebrating and exploring the beckoning future of South Asia.

TEDWomen was held in December 2010 in Washington, DC, asking the question: How are women and girls reshaping the future? TED also hosts smaller events around the globe, including many TED Salons, evening-length events with speakers and performers, andTED@ events, exploring a topic or location.

The TED Prize is designed to leverage the TED Community’s exceptional array of talent and resources. It is awarded annually to an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and, much more important, the granting of “One Wish to Change the World.” After several months of preparation, the wish is unveiled at an award ceremony held during the TED Conference. Over the life of the prize, wishes have led to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact.

TED Talks began as a simple attempt to share what happens at TED with the world. Under the moniker “ideas worth spreading,” talks were released online. They rapidly attracted a global audience in the millions. Indeed, the reaction was so enthusiastic that the entire TED website has been reengineered around TEDTalks, with the goal of giving everyone on-demand access to the world’s most inspiring voices.

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