Our story

How it all began

Why does TEDxDresden exist? How are we organized? How did the past events go? And what will the future bring? Find out here!

Humble beginnings

In late 2015 a group of TED-enthused students came up with the idea to bring the highly popular TEDx format to Dresden. There was no seed capital, no experience, and no connections, yet we had an abundance of enthusiasm for our project. Hence the US-based umbrella organization TED LLC couldn’t do anything other than issuing us the license for the very first TEDxDresden, initially with just 100 participants. Everything else, we needed to organize ourselves. For example, we needed a venue, speakers, the famous and stylish TEDx lettering, and the necessary attention. Therefore, we founded the nonprofit “Verein zur Förderung und Verbreitung herausragender Ideen e.V.” and the student organization TEDxDresden.

The preparations were an exciting experience and brought us together as a team. Eventually, on September 11th, 2016, in a sold-out Societaetstheater, the first TEDxDresden took place. Under the motto “The Social Turn”, speakers coming from a variety of different backgrounds presented their ideas on how to strengthen the social community.

Continuing growth

In 2017, we dared to move to a bigger venue: the Staatsoperette Dresden. The modern bright red hall and the ample foyer provided the ideal setting for TEDxDresden 2017—“Embrace the Future”. With a focus on forward-thinking and future-oriented topics, we invited 15 speakers and a robot to our red carpet at Dresden. We also introduced a poster session with 11 local initiatives presenting themselves and their topics. Matching the logo of that years’ conference, we even managed to bring a flying Trabi to stage. Despite early concerns that we wouldn’t be able to fill all seats of the main hall at Staatsoperette, tickets were already sold out three weeks prior to the event. 700 curious and open-minded guests got inspired by entertaining and insightful lectures—available for you to check out here.

Ongoing innovation

The motto of TEDxDresden 2018 was “Listen.”. In times of rising populism, we wanted to make a statement by focusing on active and empathic listening. Naturally, we had many ideas on how to further develop the concept.

In addition to the main stage, we booked a stage of the “Theater Junge Generation”. Here, the audience was able to participate in interactive sessions including discussions with selected speakers, poster pitches and sponsor lectures. With the second stage, we also wanted to provide a platform for dedicated locals from Dresden, the so-called “Changemakers”, to gain attention and present their ideas. To spice up the poster session we also gave the audience the chance to pick its favorite project; not an easy task with 20 projects to choose from. The winner would take home the TEDxDresden Award and decent prize money.

With 15 speakers —more than ever before—the TEDxDresden 2018 became yet another great success.

The future

Throughout the years, TEDxDresden has helped to spread many great ideas and earned an outstanding reputation. The city of Dresden honored this reputation by awarding us the “Dresden Congress Award” in the category “Newcomer—überlegen gestartet”. We are also highly respected by the umbrella organization TED LLC in the US, predominantly for our professionalism, our innovations, the stage design, and the feedback reports.

With great success and wonderful recognition, we hope that TEDxDresden will move on for many years to come. Yet, this cannot be achieved without a proper organizational structure, suitable office and storage spaces, and experienced office workers and tax consultants. Therefore, we decided to combine efforts with the local association Atticus e.V.. Through this, we hope to create synergy and sustainable perspectives. Equipped with this additional resource, we are eager to initiate the next chapter: TEDxDresden at Kulturpalast Dresden.