Prior to the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW teamed up with the non-profit organisation TED for the first “Next Visionaries” ideas competition. But what is TED? Since 1984 the corporation has become a worldwide hit, renowned for seeking out and spreading innovative new ideas. In 2006, TED went online, changing its model dramatically. Today there are more than 2,400 TED Talks available for free on, viewed about a billion times a year.

Using literally thousands of volunteer translators, there are almost 100,000 published translations of TED Talks covering 110 languages. Ted also licences out its model via TEDx, this has seen 21,500 independently organised events held worldwide. So Essentially TED plucks the most creative, inspiring people it can find to speak on stage and present whatever the case topic of the day is.

The event held in Frankfurt overnight was jointly hosted by BMW i and TED. It featured six finalists who pitched their case about the future of mobility and sustainability. The six chosen were plucked from more than 180 submissions, one will go through to a final to be held in New York this year.

This is the first time a car maker has utilised TED in this manner. “The large number of competition contributions and in-depth discussions sparked within the community show how the subject of mobility has energised and inspired creative minds around the world,” says Hildegard Wortmann, Senior Vice President Brand BMW.

Bruno Giussani, TED International Curator and the program’s host, adds: “TED gives creative minds and their most fascinating ideas a way to reach curious audiences around the world. The collaboration with BMW i is about unearthing and highlighting exciting new thinking on all aspects of the future of mobility.”

I spoke with the European Director of TED, Bruno Giussani. He’s a remarkable man, who even managed to convince the Vatican to allow Pope Francis to hold his own TED talk.