18 Great Ideas From 2011 That Can Shape 2012

On behalf of The Huffington Post and TED, we are delighted to invite you on a year-end journey of ideas that can help shape the world in 2012.

Starting today, we will be counting down 18 of 2011's most impactful TEDTalks -- and combining them with new blog posts written by the people who delivered them, examining how their ideas were impacted by being shared with a global audience. We are also inviting the HuffPost blogging community to weigh in on the issues and ideas raised by the talks.

Why 18? It's a bit of an inside joke. TEDTalks are famously limited to no more than 18 minutes -- that way, no one has the chance to get bored. So 18 seemed like the perfect number for our countdown.

Picking the 18 wasn't easy. For the TED team, it was like being asked to name their favorite child. And this year, they had over 300 kids to pick from -- all of which attracted rave reviews, passionate responses, and between 150,000 and 1 million views each.

But they finally managed to come up with their selections for 18 of the most intriguing, powerful, and timely TEDTalks of the year.

Two of these talks have never been posted before -- and will be unveiled simultaneously on TED.com and here on HuffPost. The others were introduced on TED.com within the past 12 months. And from there, they've made waves. They've gotten inside people's heads, provoking excitement, controversy, inspiration, and conversation -- a conversation that we hope will take unexpected twists and turns with the new blog posts and comments from the HuffPost community.

TED stands for technology, entertainment and design, but the content has become much broader than that. The talks you'll be seeing will touch on science, business, global issues, education, personal storytelling, and much more.

When you follow the news, it's easy to get depressed about the state of the world. These talks offer a fantastic antidote. By pulling the camera back from immediate events to explore the ideas and trends underlying them, a whole new picture opens up. And, for the most part, it's hopeful: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to teach and learn. Human ingenuity is changing the world in ways that will have far more long-term impact than our gridlocked, posturing politicians.

We think these aren't just 18 of the best ideas of 2011, but 18 of the best hope-bringers for 2012 and beyond.

Watch them, comment on them, and pass them along. An idea is one gift that you can hang onto even after you've given it away.