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TED Prize Results > Previous TED Prize results: 2005

2005 TED Prize winners from left: medical inventor Robert Fischell, musician and activist Bono, photographer Edward Burtynsky

A musician, a photographer and an inventor prove that they can ...


WISH ONE: I wish for you to help build a social movement of more than ONE MILLION American activists for Africa.


  • Empower Americans to fight stupid, crushing poverty in Africa and AIDS by making a big noise.

Actions Taken:

  • Rights to the URL secured and delivered by the Jane Addams Hull House.
  • Sun builds cool SMS technology that allows instant sign-ups at U2 concerts; a team from Sun travels with the U2 tour to run it.
  • Multi-company team of Sun, Macromedia, Microsoft and Tribe, redesigns the website.
  • Anonymous TEDster commits $10M over five years to Bono's team.

1.4M signups ahead of G8 summit where major debt cancellation/AID package agreed. signups subsequently exceed 2M.

WISH TWO: I wish to tell people ONE BILLION times about ONE, with as much of this as possible before the G8 Africa Summit in July 2005.


  • ONE billion media impressions for the mass-market campaign to tell everyone in the U.S. about ONE and the global fight against poverty.

Actions Taken:

  • John Kamen, of Radical Media, creates ONE film which plays all over TV Networks and the Internet
  • Google contribute adwords
  • Jay Amato and Viewpoint negotiate 1.5 BILLION online ads with help from 24/7 Real Media,, Accuweather, ad pepper, AOL,, Burst Media, CBS, UPN and CBSNews, Ebay, Gamespot, iVillage, MaxOnline,, MSN, MSNBC, NowPublic, Right Media, UGO, ValueClick, VIEWPOINT Search,

Exceeded ONE BILLION impressions target before the G8 summit. Total impressions granted eventually exceeded TWO billion.

WISH THREE: I wish for you to show the power of information —its power to rewrite the rules and to transform lives — by connecting every hospital, health clinic, and school in one African country, Ethiopia, to the Internet.


  • Track and improve public health with information technology; expand the resources available to local schools

Actions Taken:

  • Sun, AMD, HP, Cisco, and TEDsters Taylor Milsal and Joseph Mouzon meet with DATA for a half day brainstorm.
  • NYC meeting with Jeffrey Sachs' Earth Institute team from Columbia.
  • TED delegation are hosted in Addis Ababa by Tom Darden's Cherokee House.
  • TED delegation visits schools, clinics, and meets with government: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Building Capacity, The World Bank, State Department, Ethiopian Telecommunications, local NGOs.
  • Big problems are encountered: Pushback from teachers and doctors, government telecoms monopoly and erupting political violence.

After in-depth research, TED reports back to Bono... this is NOT the best way for TED to help in Africa. Instead, TED decides to connect the community to remarkable people, projects, businesses in Africa and announces TED Global in Tanzania, June 2007.

Edward Burtynsky

WISH ONE: I wish my artwork could persuade millions of people to join a global conversation about sustainability


  • To encourage a massive and productive worldwide conversation about sustainable living.

Actions Taken:

  • Burtynsky partners with, a fast growing website that's already fostering the intended conversation.
  • Worldchanging receives $300k growth injection from the Sapling Foundation.
  • Print ad campaign designed by Stefan Sagmeister and printed by Clear Magazine; Sagmeister also designs the cover of the newly released Worldchanging book.
  • Interactive slideshow of Ed's artwork produced (Words: Saatchi & Saatchi, Music: Michael Montes, Hosting:

Ed's images are zipping around the world right now.

WISH TWO: I wish we could launch a ground-breaking competition that motivates kids to invent new ideas in sustainable living.


  • To raise environmental consciousness in grade-school kids; to empower them to propose solutions and act upon them.

Actions Taken:

  • Cool website & competition structure designed by IDEO, with Pylon Design creating the visual identity.
  • TEDsters Kate Trgova and Susan Hallius consult on content and operation.
  • Great offers received for prizes and publicity (yet to be utilized) from Hunter PR and Marketing,, National Education Association, National Geographic Kids, Edutopia, Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and Technology & Education: Connecting Cultures.
  • Leading producer of US children's programming, WGBH agrees to create, build, host, and promote.
  • TEDsters Brook and Shawn Byers generously agree to fund the project.

The competition launches in 2007.

WISH THREE: I wish I could create an IMAX film that would make my work accessible to a broader audience


  • To extend Ed's artwork to an audience that wouldn't normally visit galleries and museums.

Actions Taken:

  • More than 30 offers of help from TEDsters come in connecting Burtynsky to producers.
  • Burtynsky chooses Canadian IMAX producer, Jonathan Barker of Shaftesbury Films.
  • Burtynsky's idea develops into the first of a series of five 40-minute IMAX films on earth, fire, water, the human body, and air.
  • Fundraising begins ($5M needed).

Burtynsky is on his way to making an IMAX.

Robert Fischell

WISH ONE: Help me discover new cures for brain disorders utilizing a responsive neurostimulator computer device implanted into the cranial bone connected by wires to electrodes in the brain.


  • The goal is to make life better for the millions of people suffering because of anomalies in their brains' electrical activity. For example, there are an estimated 5,000,000 Americans with some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and there is no existing good treatment for many of these patients.

Actions Taken:

  • Anonymous TEDster connects Fischell to scientists researching electrical cures for depression.
  • Fischell uses part of prize money to kickstart testing of cure for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Neurospace, Inc, creator of the device, adds several million dollars and starts clinical trial.

WISH TWO: Create the final design for a portable Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS) that can erase a migraine headache without drugs.


  • The over-arching goal of the project is to eliminate migraine headaches without the use of drugs. There are more than 25 million Americans who suffer from migraine headaches with at least half of these patients never gaining good relief.

Actions Taken:

  • IDEO undergoes major project with Fischell to redesign the TMS.

The TMS can now be taken to market commercially.

WISH THREE: Create a Brain Trust to rethink our approach to medical liability.


  • The over-arching goal is to improve health care in the USA. The present USA system is forcing skilled practitioners to quit while enriching the lawyers and insurance companies. This must be changed!

Actions Taken:

  • TEDsters Juan Enriquez, Jay Walker, and William Roberts form Brain Trust.
  • Research leads team to Philip Howard of Common Good, an existing brilliant initiative to change the legal system.
  • Brain Trust gives birth to a blog,, highlighting insanity of current system, authored by David Gerlach.
  • Anonymous TEDster donates funds for first year of blog operations.
  • SmartDesign steps up to design, Typepad offers free hosting and Harmony Design Studio creates the logo for thismakesmesick.
  • Guest bloggers, with relevant organizations, join the conversation: The Sorry Works! Coalition, Dr. Eric Noack, Donna Baver Rovito.

Blog continues to raise awareness and act as a tool for the cause. Fischell works with Philip Howard to rewrite malpractice legislation in the State of Maryland as test case.