Thrive by Five18 Dec 2021

Thrive by Five TED Talk confirmed as the most popular TED Talk of 2021

A ground-breaking TED Talk by a 7-year-old girl has been officially recognised as the most popular TED Talk of 2021.

Molly Wright delivering her TED talk.

Molly Wright, a Grade 2 student from Queensland, Australia, became one of the youngest TED speakers in history this year when her talk premiered at TED’s Session Zero, Monterey, California, USA, and was simultaneously shared around the world via

As of mid-December, the Thrive by Five TED Talk has been viewed almost 5 million times – more than twice the number of views of the year’s second-most popular talk – indicating Molly’s message about parents and caregivers interacting earlier and more often with children has struck a chord around the globe.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Michael Gracey (director of The Greatest Showman), the Thrive by Five TED Talk demonstrates the simple yet life-changing things we can all do to help children thrive.

The Thrive by Five TED Talk was brought to life by Minderoo Foundation, one of Australasia’s largest philanthropic organisations, and aligns with Minderoo’s Thrive by Five initiative.

Since the global launch on 22 July 2021, Thrive by Five TED Talk has reached a potential global audience of more than 1.3 billion people across traditional and social media.

The talk has been viewed over 4.8 million times on, with more than 50 million views of campaign content across social media.

Leading philanthropist and Minderoo Foundation Co-chair Nicola Forrest AO said the global response to the Thrive by Five TED Talk had been overwhelming.

“Minderoo Foundation is so incredibly proud of Molly and thrilled that this important TED Talk has been recognised as 2021’s most popular. It is an extraordinary result,” Mrs Forrest said.

“Molly’s message is for everyone, and I encourage all parents and caregivers to watch the talk and think about their interactions with children. This has the potential to change lives.

“We believe every child can, and should, thrive by the age of five.”

A Mid-Campaign Evaluation conducted by Kantar Public highlighted that 9 out of 10 parents and caregivers who viewed the Thrive by Five TED Talk reported that they intend to, or have taken action, as a result of watching the talk – namely to connect, talk and play more, early and often with their child – an impact which makes it one of the strongest campaigns measured within this sector.
The Thrive by Five TED Talk has been shown to new parents in maternity wards in Australia (through Ramsay Health Care) and Afghanistan (via Bayat Foundation) as part of a pilot – with plans to roll out the film in hospitals around the world.

Molly’s TED Talk is now available in over 33 languages, with UNICEF supporting global distribution of the film.

“Science tells us that the volume of a child’s brain has reached 90 per cent by the age of five so we want to help set parents up for success and increase awareness of the importance of having positive interactions with children – early and often,” Mrs Forrest said.

“Molly beautifully delivers this universal truth – that the early years are the most critical period for shaping a child’s life now, and in their future.”

Minderoo Foundation
by Minderoo Foundation

Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.

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