Illustration created by Midjourney with the prompt “a photo of a team of humans corporate executives interacting and working with their ai-coworkers in a conference room. Adapting to the AI Revolution –ar 16:9 –v 5.2 “
Welcome to the brave new world of generative AI, where the machines are no longer just number crunchers, they’re word crunchers, image crunchers, audio and video crunchers. But here’s the catch: If we’re to ride the wave of this technological revolution, we need to rethink not just the tools we use, but also how we use them.
Let’s consider a classic example: creating a marketing campaign. Traditionally, it starts with a brief identifying the need for the campaign, the identification of target personas, the development of messages and creatives, and then, campaign execution and monitoring, followed by a post-campaign evaluation. It’s a well-defined workflow that has been perfected over decades.
Now, imagine incorporating generative AI into this process. Suddenly, the machine can generate hundreds of creative ideas in the time it would take a human team to brainstorm a few. It can iterate on these ideas, taking in feedback and refining its output. This speed and efficiency are enticing, but just handing over this tool to a business unit isn’t enough. Generative AI requires a different approach, a different workflow, and a different mindset to truly unlock its potential.
So how can businesses adapt to this paradigm shift?
First, we need to revamp our workflows and processes. Traditional workflows and processes focus on using tools to perform tasks. But when the tool itself can perform the task, the focus needs to shift to managing and guiding the tool. We must train our workforce to become AI coworkers and AI supervisors – people who can set goals, provide feedback, and understand the nuances of the AI’s output.
Next, our workflows and processes need to adapt. Generative AI doesn’t just speed up existing processes – it can redefine them. Continuing our marketing campaign example, instead of a linear process, we could use AI to concurrently develop multiple campaign ideas, test them in virtual environments, and pick the best performers. We’re no longer working in a step-by-step manner but managing an ecosystem of evolving ideas.
Moreover, we should be open to redefining roles. With generative AI, the traditional demarcations between roles like “strategist,” “copywriter,” or “data analyst” start to blur. Everyone in the team interacts with the AI, guides it, and uses its output. This changes the dynamic of the team and how it functions.
In practice, to get the most out of AI adoption, business cultures need to change. This means overcoming resistance from the middle management mafia, where work has expanded to fit the time allowed. It means overcoming resistance stemming from fear of the unknown, or fear of being replaced. It’s crucial for business leaders to foster a culture of learning and adaptation, so the efficiency of AI inspires teams to innovate rather than figure out how to game the new system.
One team we worked with at a multinational megacorp was able to take a process that had traditionally required three hours each Monday and accomplish the task in 30 minutes. That efficiency produced 2.5 extra hours in an eight-hour workday. (An amazing result.) What did they do with that time? Some went on to their next tasks. Others checked, re-checked, wrote, and re-wrote the work product to fill the usual time allotted. As the saying goes, “the only people who like change are babies in wet diapers.”
Embracing generative AI is not just about adopting a new tool, it’s about reimagining how we work. It demands that we innovate our workflows and processes as aggressively as the technology itself is being innovated. It’s an exciting challenge, and those who rise to it will be the ones who reap the greatest rewards in the AI-powered future.
Generative AI is not just another tool in the toolbox. It’s a new way of working, a new way of thinking. It’s not only about doing things faster or cheaper, it’s about doing things differently. And in this brave new world, it’s the companies that adapt their workflows, their processes, and their cultures to this new reality that will truly unlock the full potential of AI.
If you would like to learn more about how to adapt your workflows and processes to take maximum advantage of AI, sign up for our free online course Generative AI for Execs.
Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.