Each year we source bold ideas with the potential to address pressing problems. We look for ideas that cover a wide range of issues — from global health to climate change to social justice to education.
Based on the criteria we use to evaluate submissions, these are some components of a compelling idea you will want to keep in mind to make sure you're thinking audaciously and are primed for success.
Your idea should capture a bold, breakthrough vision for tackling one of the world's most urgent topics, but must also have an emotional pull that galvanizes a public-facing audience and funders alike.
It is your opportunity to take a giant leap forward; you may be tempted to think incrementally, but remember for it to be bold, your idea should offer significant, enduring impact. This vision should bring us much closer to your version of an ideal world in a matter of years rather than generations.
Innovative and original. There should be a unique aspect or creative element to your approach that challenges convention or changes the narrative for the greater good.
You should highlight why philanthropy is the best route for your idea, as opposed to government support or private sector investment.
There should be evidence that the idea will have impact based on a track record of past success, a demand from those that would be affected, and justified confidence that results can be sustained in the future.
Your vision should have clarity on where you will be at the end of the multi-year funding term and the strategy that will get you to your goal, including the resources required to achieve it.
A bold vision has clear outcomes. We want to hear about the changes that would take place because of your idea, not just the components that go into implementing it.
You and your capable and confident team have the backing of a nonprofit, NGO, or institution (or is part of a collaboration between multiple such entities). This organization should be able to receive philanthropic funds and have the core infrastructure necessary to support the work. (Note: Past projects have had an annual operating budget of $1 million or more.)
Interested parties should share their ideas by completing the brief survey (linked on this page). This survey is open all year long and we review submissions on a rolling basis. *To be considered for our next cycle, the 2021 cohort, ideas should be submitted via the survey link by February 28, 2020. Please note: given the anticipated volume of submissions, we will not be able to respond individually or schedule follow-up calls or meetings.
Select candidates will be invited to submit a first-round application. *For the next cycle, invitations for a first-round application will be sent by March 2020.
First-round applications are evaluated by internal and external reviewers.
A subset of candidates are invited to submit second-round application to expand on their idea. *For the next cycle, invitations for a second-round application will be sent in late-spring 2020.
Second-round proposals are evaluated over the summer by internal and external reviewers. Additional due diligence and discussions with candidates may occur during this period.
Finalist candidates are selected in autumn. Finalists will have the opportunity to work closely with TED and partners to expand upon and refine their ideas.
Finalists’ ideas are shared with The Audacious Project donor group during the winter and catalytic funding is committed to selected projects.
The new Audacious Project cohort is publicly unveiled at the next annual TED conference.