Last year, Chris Anderson introduced a new lifeform to TED. The 25 so-called Fellows were young innovators from around the world, awarded the modern-day equivalent of Willie Wonka’s golden ticket to the Chocolate Factory and given the run of the conference at Long Beach for free. It’s not exactly an original idea—other conferences run similar initiatives—but it was a deliberate move on the part of Anderson and his team to quash criticisms that TED was becoming a little too incestuous and navel-gazing for its own good. And the Fellows that I met last year were young, dynamic and amazingly engaged—just the type of future loyalists a conference and community needs. 25 more Fellows are due in Long Beach this year, and I caught up with most of them before we got here. I had one question on my mind for this eclectic group of entrepreneurs, scientists, artists and renaissance thinkers: “how exactly do you plan to change the world?” Answers ranged from humorous to very, very serious to completely dismissive of such a ridiculous question. I’ll post all the answers here throughout the conference, along with brief blurbs on the Fellows themselves, too.

Photo: The calm before the storm. Backstage at pre-conference TED. (c) TED / Mike Femia

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