Exactly ten years after TED started democratizing ideas by posting TED talks online, the organization invited their ‘Global brain’ for its Summit in Banff (Canada), to look ahead, spark conversations and enjoy an intense experience in the light of ‘ideas worth doing & spreading’. Besides a bunch of veteran TEDx organizers, translators, Fellows, executives and partners, also over 120 impressive speakers joined both the stage and audience.

The ‘T’ of TED (Technology) brought a set of the world’s brightest minds on stage, discussing the need for nuclear energy and CRISPR, but also showcasing the most impressive new techniques within –for example- brain surgery, using ‘diaper techniques’ to execute these ‘high risk moonshot surgery’. With the quick democratization of wealth creation, speakers on blockchain gave an interesting insight in the ‘internet of value’ and their corresponding trust protocols.

The most impactful session of talks came from the TED Fellows program, a group of brainy innovators and change makers supported by the TED organization. Just like at the TEDx events I’ve founded, the personal stories turn out to be the most impactful ones. The Fellows who spoke about the impact of cluster bombs, a rape, going blind and Chronic Fatigue Syndrom therefore gave the audience not only huge lumps in their throats, but also made them aware of the perishability of life.
With the world ‘being on fire’, global issues like Brexit, Panama Papers, the ‘lost continent’ Africa, governmental surveillance and pollution were widely discussed. Fortunately, TED is always giving a positive twist to them, inviting speakers to also shine a light on the positive side on several of these movements. The most remarkable stories came from Suzan Simard, talking about the secret lives of threes and the communication between them, Julia Bacha about non-violent campaigns during the Intifada and TED Price winner Sarah Parcah about discovering new Peruvian treasure sites with en open source approach.


Besides several new speakers, TED also invited several famous ‘old’ speakers to host workshops and join conversations. I was delighted to join discussions on topics like the US Elections, Brexit and refugee crisis, but also have deep, personal conversations with people like Monica LewinskyRodney Brooks and Kevin Kelly. Kevin Slavin of the MIT Lab even invited me to join a project he’s currently executing for the Dalai Lama :-).


With a huge TED-lag and TEDache I flew back to The Netherlands, being reminded again that, while I usually think that I know a lot, I just don’t know anything. We’re living in an exciting and incredible time, often incomprehensible…

The first talks have been posted online: