In the 2017 “cerebral” Olympic games, artificial intelligence defeated the human brain in several key categories. Google’s AlphaGo beat the best player of Go, humankind’s most complicated strategy game; algorithms taught themselves how to predict heart attacks better than the AHA (American Heart Association); and Libratus, an AI built by Carnegie Mellon University, beat four top poker players at no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em. Many technologists agree that computers will eventually outperform humans on step-by-step tasks, but when it comes to creativity and innovation, humans will always be a part of the equation.
Inspiration, from the Latin inspiratus, literally means “breathed into.” It implies a divine gift – the aha moment, the lightning bolt, the secret sauce that can’t be replicated. Around the globe, large organizations are attempting to reculture their companies to foster innovation and flexibility, two core competencies needed to survive the rapid-fire rate of change. Tom Agan’s HBR article titled “The Secret to Lean Innovation” identified learning as the key ingredient, while Lisa Levey believes that seeing failure as a part of success is key.
At the same time, although innovation is a human creation, machines do play a role in that process. Business leaders are using AI and advanced business intelligence tools to make operations more efficient and generate higher ROI, but are they designing their digital ecosystems to nurture a culture of innovation? If the medium is the message, then they should be.
“If you want to unlock opportunities before your competitors, challenging the status quo needs to be the norm, not the outlier. It will be a long time if ever before AI replaces human creativity, but business intelligence tools can support discovery, collaboration and execution of new ideas.” – Joe Sticca, COO at Synaptik
So, how can technology augment your innovation ecosystem?
New business intelligence tools can help you manage innovation, from sourcing ideas to generating momentum and tracking return on investment. For instance, to prevent corporate tunnel vision, you can embed online notifications that superimpose disruptive questions on a person’s screen. With this simple tool, managers can help employees step outside the daily grind to reflect on the larger questions and how they impact today’s deliverable.
The market is flooded with collaboration tools that encourage employees to leverage each other’s strengths to produce higher quality deliverables. The most successful collaboration tools are those that seamlessly fit into current workflows and prioritize interoperability. To maximize innovation capacity, companies can use collaboration platforms to bring more diversity to the table by inviting external voices including clients, academics and contractors into the process.
Social listening tools and sentiment analysis can provide deep insights into the target customer’s needs, desires and emotional states. When inspiration strikes, innovative companies are able to prototype ideas quickly and share those ideas with the digital universe to understand what sticks and what stinks. By streamlining A/B testing and failing fast and often, agile companies can reduce risk and regularly test their ideas in the marketplace.
While computers may never birth the aha moments that drive innovation, advanced business intelligence tools and AI applications can capture sparks of inspiration and lubricate the creative process. Forward-thinking executives are trying to understand how AI and advanced business intelligence tools can improve customer service, generate higher ROI, and lower production costs. Companies like Cogito are using AI to provide real-time behavioral guidance to help customer service professionals improve the quality of their interactions while Alexa is using NLP to snag the full-time executive assistant job in households all over the world.
Creativity is the final frontier for artificial intelligence. But rather than AI competing against our innovative powers, business intelligence tools like Synaptik can bolster innovation performance today. The Synaptik difference is an easy user interface that makes complex data management, analytics and machine learning capabilities accessible to traditional business users. We offer customized packages that are tailored to your needs and promise to spur new ideas and deep insights.
By Nina Robbins