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Cultivating AI-ready cultures: Key insights from our AI leadership event

By 23rd May 2024June 10th, 2024No Comments

Understanding the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is crucial for businesses. At our recent AI event in London, we gathered together to explore how leaders can approach AI adoption. In this blog, we’ll share five key takeaways from our panel of expert speakers.

Lesson 1: The future of AI could be weird and wonderful

Our first session was led by LJ Rich, BBC Click presenter and thought leader in AI and technology.

LJ gave us all a glimpse into the cutting-edge of AI technology based on her experiences in the field. She painted a vibrant picture of the future AI could bring, balancing the benefits alongside the risks. In this future, we could create music in the metaverse, and solve real-world problems with digital twin simulations. We may also find ourselves influenced by AI avatars on Instagram, or wading our way through a flood of synthetic data to get to the good stuff on Google.

Overall, LJ shared a vision of a future where AI enhances our capabilities, rather than replacing us. The future isn’t something that happens, it’s something we can build. Although we don’t know exactly what’s around the corner, LJ emphasised the importance of deliberate practice in training both AI models and ourselves to face the future with confidence.

Lesson 2: Start small to maximise value

Natasha Bradley, Head of Sales and Marketing at The Inform Team, shared how starting small can create real value when it comes to new technology.

She shared a case study of a government organisation that saved over £400k by optimising their use of Microsoft tools, working in small groups with a Microsoft 365 expert. Together, they came up with innovative solutions that saved time and money, upskilling their people to use existing software more effectively.

This approach resulted in significant savings and set the stage for the successful adoption of AI technologies like Copilot, which they are now implementing in small groups using the same focused approach.

From this example, Natasha shared that change is all about people, and small successes create huge impact.

Lesson 3: Start using Copilot with just three simple words

Charles Burkinshaw, a Microsoft 365 training expert, demonstrated what M365 Copilot can do in just 20 minutes.

In that time, Charles generated a detailed report on the financial sector from a short prompt, transformed it into a PowerPoint presentation, summarised some actions from a previous meeting, and matched his CV to a job specification.

While the outcomes still needed his input to review and adapt the final outputs, Charles showed how Copilot can help overcome the blank page and reduce friction when starting tasks.

“It’s called Copilot for a reason,” said Charles, “you still have to land the plane yourself.”

He closed the session by sharing his top tip for getting started in Copilot.

According to Charles, the best prompt for Copilot is three simple words: “get the gist.” With these magic words, Copilot can help you summarise documents, catch up on meetings, and uncover what your emails are asking of you at a glance.

Lesson 4: Unless you put your people first, AI is simply power without purpose

After lively discussion at lunch, we handed over to Inform change managers, Aimee Blakey and Jack Stamp. They led a session on how leaders can support their people through technology changes.

AI is only useful if your people are able to use it with confidence. To see value from AI tools, you need a people-focused plan. Change management gives you the tools and frameworks to deliver that plan.

Aimee discussed the importance of engaging stakeholders through a four-step change management approach that involves establishing the need for AI, exciting people about its possibilities, equipping them with the necessary tools and knowledge, and embedding AI into your operations.

Bringing people along on the AI journey is key to cultivating an AI-ready culture. Aimee concluded her session by sharing the importance of open and regular communication, celebrating success, and using high-impact channels and local communities to share the AI journey and progress.

She left the audience with a powerful quote from Karuana Gatimu: “Our job as technology and adoption leaders is to architect that aha moment with intention, compassion, and skill.”

Lesson 5: Nothing is new, but everything has changed

In the final session Inform’s Copilot Lead Consultant, Malcolm Bullock, shared his insights on the importance of AI adoption today. While the concept of technology change is nothing new, the scale and impact of AI in the workplace is unprecedented.

Malcolm highlighted the importance of governance in AI adoption. Getting governance right is crucial to prevent chaos and protect people – and businesses – from risk. He shared stories from his experience, illustrating the need for current and relevant AI policies that align with how people work.

AI, while powerful, needs guidance to function effectively. He warned that without proper information governance, AI might surface the wrong information or compromise data security.

He underscored the importance of careful AI adoption, effective change management, and readiness at an organisational level to harness the full potential of AI.

Key takeaways

The insights from our AI event underscore the transformative potential of AI. Successful AI adoption requires a people-focused approach, starting small, with effective governance.

Keep the conversation going:

Stay tuned for more insights on AI, Copilot and change management. To learn more about creating your people-first plan for AI adoption, get in touch with our team today.

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