Navigating AI innovation: Are we ready for real AI innovation?

16 May 2024

By Aki Antman, CEO & Founder of Sulava, President of AI & Copilot at The Digital Neighborhood, Peter Charquero Kestenholz, Founder, Head of Innovation & AI at Projectum and Erik David Johnson, Chief AI Officer at Delegate.

This blog is the fifth in a series of eight blogs about the challenges and opportunities in AI technology.

All businesses can benefit from AI tools, but many seem to forget to ask themselves 'why' and 'how' when they begin their AI journey.

Only a few have a strategic approach to AI

Every organization can benefit from Artificial Intelligence – private or public, big or small.

Roughly speaking, a company can improve profits by making people more productive or cutting costs. AI can do both and therefore it is actually irresponsible if the board or CEO in a company is not looking seriously into the new opportunities.

Still, most companies tend to feel a bit unready and more old-fashioned than similar companies and thus hesitate to embark on their AI journey.

In order to get the best start, the critical initial questions to ask are 'why' and 'how.'

First, ask yourself why and where Generative AI could help your organization. Is it to become more efficient? To cut costs? To improve quality? To reinvent or invent? The goal of implementing AI should be clear and conscious.

A survey from the business and employers' organization Danish Industry shows that around 50% of Nordic businesses use AI for at least one function. However, only 15% of those have a strategy for using AI. So, they use AI uncontrolled and unstrategic.

For many organizations, AI is the only obvious solution to the growing shortage of workforce. This is perhaps most pronounced within healthcare. In this area, new tools can ease administration, handle routine tasks, and free up time for people interaction, research, and complex functions like surgeries—and basically, for the reasons why people decided on a career in the healthcare sector in the first place.

Other industries might have different reasons for benefitting from the new AI models, and the reasons can be numerous.

"Every single company I meet says, 'We are the most old-fashioned company you have ever worked with. The change will take the longest time with us.' But still, I have yet to meet one organization that is not ready for AI. But of course, you need to invest to make it work for you, but it doesn't have to be a large-scale investment."

Aki Antman
CEO and Founder of Sulava, President of AI & Copilot at The Digital Neighborhood

Look for the most valuable place to start

After answering the 'why,' it is time to look at the 'how.'

First of all, you need to invest both time and money. Small companies can do wonders with small investments. Mid-sized companies have a great advantage because they can easily shift towards different trends, like new technologies, than larger competitors.

Large companies are often troubled by adopting Generative AI. They aim to find the final solution before they take the first steps because every misstep can be very expensive and difficult. So, smaller players with a more dynamic approach definitely have an opportunity to make a loop around bigger players in the market, and this can disrupt industries very quickly.

The best strategy, especially for large companies, is often to pick one area or a function and implement AI from there.

When choosing the first use case for AI, it is worth identifying areas in the organization where AI can give the most value for the investment. However, it is essential to have a balanced focus on profits. Often, the decision on where to make a POC (Proof of Concept) or an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is made on the C-level with the next quarterly budget in mind. But the first case should really be something that every employee can relate to and get the feeling that 'Oh, it actually makes sense for us to use generative AI!'.

With that approach, you can get the organization behind the changes, change the work culture constructively, and create meaningful and real AI innovation.

"I bet that typing on a keyboard in 5-6 years will feel slow and make no sense. So, you will just be speaking, and the AI will do the rest for you. This will open the gates for people with disabilities, and we will no longer have dyslexia as a blocker for becoming an information worker."

Peter Charquero Kestenholz
Founder, Head of Innovation & AI, Projectum

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