As a management consultant, I’m fortunate to spend time with intelligent and dynamic business leaders across Canada and the US. The smartest leaders are asking themselves the fundamental question, “Am I a good leader, today?” The trick in responding to this is that what made us great leaders in the past may not necessarily make us great leaders today because of the constant state of change we’re operating in.
We’re Living in an AI-First World
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that “artificial intelligence is going to have a bigger impact on the world than some of the most ubiquitous innovations in history.”
First, let’s define AI. Today’s AI is not about intelligence, it’s about prediction.
Netflix uses AI to predict what thumbnail images we’re most likely to click on. Amazon uses AI to predict what items we want to buy next. Our iPhone keyboard uses AI when it automatically creates spacing around letters that we’re likely to hit next.
AI (or prediction) is hidden in many places today, and as the cost of prediction drops, it’s about to be everywhere.
Three Principles for Adopting AI in Your Organization
While AI brings us the gift of prediction, the remaining components of intelligence firmly rest in the hands of human leaders. Today, AI is a tool that organizations can use to amplify human ingenuity. Here are three principles for adopting AI in your organization:
Step 1: Establish your Prediction Objective
This requires a level of specificity that should feel challenging. Consider using AI to identify who you should be recruiting to join your organization. You, of course, want the “best” candidate. But you will need to define best in quantifiable and measurable terms — for example, the ability to achieve director status within five years, ability to drive a 10x return against their salary by year three, etc. This step is the most important and should not be rushed.
Step 2: Build Modularly
Today, machine learning models are mature and open source. Before deciding to invent new cognitive models, understand what’s out there and look to build upon them like LEGO blocks. When Elon Musk designed the Tesla Roadster, he didn’t invent a new vehicle frame, he licensed one from Lotus.
Step 3: Leverage Design Thinking
Design thinking is rooted in two key principles. First, look at the problem from the inside out — in other words, look at the problem through the lens of your end-users: What do they want and what do they need.
Second, focus on iteration not perfection. Instagram began as an app called burbn. It allowed users to check-in at locations, plan future check-ins, earn points when hanging out with friends, and take and upload pictures. It was a failure by many measures. Not a single person checked in. But of the limited users, they all took photos and uploaded them. They decided to strip out all features except the photo option. Using a simplified user experience and a fresh brand identity, two years later, they were acquired by Facebook for $1 billion.
Digital transformation, artificial intelligence (AI), and modern leadership expert Andrew Au brings both substance and style to navigating disruption and future-proofing organizations. From working with top companies across North America, including Microsoft, FedEx, and 3M, he shares some of the strategies that future-forward companies and leaders are adapting to capitalize on new technology and stay ahead of the curve.
Interested in learning more about Andrew and how he can empower your audience with fresh insights, industry relevant keynotes, and actionable takeaways to drive organizational change? Email us at [email protected].