TED Conferences, LLC

TED Conferences Uncovers AI As a Way to Spread Ideas 30% Faster

TED Conferences Uncovers AI As a Way to Spread Ideas 30% Faster


potential reduction in task time by introducing AI in processes, creating organizational efficiencies


potential cost reduction for vendor management


new events per year based on time saved, creating competitive advantage and increasing customer satisfaction

The Challenge

TED has significantly expanded the channels through which it distributes content. In addition to hundreds of TED Talks curated from the organization’s annual conferences and published on TED.com, the organization also produces original podcasts, short video series, animated TED-ED lessons, and TV programs that are translated in more than 100 languages and distributed via partnerships around the world.  

That growth led to multiple processes and technologies used to curate, produce, and promote content—ultimately straining the organization’s resources.  

TED wanted to gain a better understanding of the work required to plan, design, and execute various event formats so that it could eliminate resource bottlenecks and establish more efficiency and consistency in its processes. By doing that, it would unlock new capacity to realize growth goals.

Project Timeline

Mobilized West Monroe and TED teams to develop a project vision and timeline
Conducted interviews and functional workshops to assess current processes and capabilities
Developed high-level strategy maps to align TED teams around future operations
Presented recommended changes and a roadmap for delivering them

An Undeniably Different Approach

TED wanted to make sure growth doesn’t change the magic that makes its events special. We understood that—and made it central to our approach. TED leaders found our “quality over growth” core value aligned with their goal of making every event an experience. They also valued our collaborative style—making sure TED teams were involved at every step of the way. 

Our multidisciplinary perspective enabled us to look for opportunities across TED’s operations. We dug deep to truly understand how the organization solicits, curates, produces, and ultimately markets different types of events that require different levels of resources and effort. By measuring processes, tools, and effort for hosting across various mediums, we could model capacity—showing TED how many events it can reasonably take on in a given year with current resources. With that as a baseline, we could begin finding ways to increase capacity. 

We know that digital businesses perform better. So we introduced new digital capabilities to achieve goals—using data to make resource planning decisions, artificial intelligence to work more efficiently, and process mapping to break down internal silos and promote greater collaboration.

ted west monroe client story

We then translated all of our recommendations into a practical plan of action that addresses TED’s goals, with a balance of quick wins and longer-term transformational changes—all designed to help TED deliver more high-quality and special content. 

Real Results

In just eight weeks, TED gained valuable insights to transform event planning and delivery—and increase its capacity to spread ideas. 

By restructuring initial event definition and design processes, we estimate that TED’s teams can begin event preparation up to 30% earlier in the event timeline—giving them more time to focus on success. Introducing artificial intelligence into processes such as speaker management could reduce the time required to complete tasks by up to 50 percent. Other process changes can create more time to send requests for bids, helping TED reduce vendor costs by up to 20 percent. And by reducing time spent on existing events, we estimate that TED can offer three to five additional new events per year with current resources. 

Our recommendations are also empowering a new commitment to collaboration across TED teams and functions—and that means both a better event experience for audiences and content creators as well as a more satisfying work experience for employees.

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