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Authentic AI Transformation

11. Oktober 2023

Michael Laussegger


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If we thought the digital world was changing rapidly in recent years, this year has taught us a lesson. Never before has disruptive technology spread so quickly across all industries, leaving many puzzled about what's still to come. Some are fearful, some hopeful.

Once again, organizations need to transform, but this time, innovation theater won't suffice (Here's what not to do: Hallucinate Transformation). I have gleaned a few insights from agile transformations of the past 15 years. Some of these might help us integrate the newest team player: AI.

Authentic AI Transformation

For AI transformation to be successful, it requires more than just adopting buzzwords like Agile or Design Thinking. It's about fostering an environment where creativity thrives, politics take a backseat, and the focus is on rapid learning. AI is for everyone—literally. So we need to involve everyone.

Cease Political Games and Befriend AI Now

If we've allowed a culture to develop where processes overshadow results, and where the workplace becomes more about competition than collaboration, it's time for deep introspection. Not making AI a priority in organizational change could carry a heavy price later on. Let us help put an end to political games and befriend AI now; its limitations may vanish tomorrow, and we want to celebrate, not fear, this moment.

Supporting the Best Ideas and the Most Committed Teams

AI or not, the essence of a thriving organization lies in its people. Their well-being and creative freedom are paramount. When we truly value our experts, we provide them with a conducive environment for experimenting with AI. We trust them and help them succeed. AI is transforming organizations so fundamentally that breakthrough innovation can emerge from anywhere. We have to ensure the best ideas and most committed teams find their sponsors, no matter where they spot an opportunity to improve. Relying on the HIPPO (highest paid person in the room) to drive AI transformation is not enough.

Solving the Problems at Hand

AI product development is complex, and it's impossible to foresee the challenges that product teams may face. Do we have the data? Are we allowed to use it? Promptly addressing these issues is essential. An organization whose "chain of command" demands "solutions, not problems" is ill-equipped to support its teams. AI transformation needs a supportive leadership culture that helps teams solve problems and succeed. Otherwise, organizations will accumulate a portfolio of "all-green" AI initiatives but fail to deliver value or drive transformation.

Not Engaging in Innovation Theater

A transformation program that prescribes tools, frameworks, processes, and rituals—even with the best intentions—won't truly address the real issues. Instead, it establishes an innovation theater with no value beyond joining the hype. It won't be long before big consulting firms start rolling out what "has worked elsewhere." I'll be skeptical.

Let's be true to ourselfs

I suggest listening to our teams, encouraging experimentation, investing in their initiatives, and tackling the issues they face instead! This will spark a genuine AI transformation rooted in user needs, expert knowledge, and real-world challenges. Everything else is innovation theater.

No recipe can provide the culinary perfection needed to build a Michelin-starred restaurant. We need to be the recipe.

Let's strive for authenticity at every stage of this transformation. It's the most profound and fastest change humanity has ever faced. Our understanding of what it means to be human is being put to the test.

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