Innovation & AI is not just about technology. It's about connecting with our creative powers, breaking down barriers, and adopting radically new mindsets - with the aim to make a difference in the real world.
Whenever I am in Amsterdam, I enjoy spending time in my favorite bookstore, a small shop in Westerstraat with always new highlights. While browsing the shelves, the current cover story of HBR catches my eye: “The AI-Powered Organization”.
When preparing our Poetry in Business™ Premiere event - “Designing the Meetings of the Future with AI” – this past spring, we came up with three hypotheses that we wanted to examine. Our first hypothesis suggested that "if employees can co-define how they will benefit from AI, they will overcome their fear of becoming obsolete". Our second hypothesis stated that "leaders and teams can break down cultural and organizational barriers to AI if they manage to capture the opportunities AI has to offer them". And third, "staff at all levels will enjoy and benefit from machine-human collaboration if they are ready to adopt a new mindset and constantly enhance their 21st century skills, especially their communication skills, their creativity and imagination, their collaborative skills, intuition and empathy”.
So it was interesting to read the HBR article with hindsight to our event, which was designed to deal with the topic of AI in a purely creative, intuitive and joyful way. We wanted people to feel alive and have fun while coming up with lots of fresh ideas that they would later on transform into real-life business solutions.
Space for imagination
Among other things, the HBR article states that “One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is to view AI as a plug and play technology with immediate returns. [...] they begin investing millions in data infrastructure [...] While cutting edge technology and talent are certainly needed, it’s equally important to align a company’s culture, structure and ways of working [...] But at most businesses traditional mindsets and ways of working run counter to those needed for AI.”
And this is where we come in: We help organizations to create a space where employees can feel safe, share their ideas and experiences and explore new pathways of thinking and doing. With customized inputs and impulses we invite people to connect with their creative power, get into a creative state of mind, and come up with fresh ideas. Our 2CG® training methodology connects teams and individuals across hierarchical levels and disciplines and supports them in enhancing the skills they require in the 21st century. We primarily focus on communication skills, creativity and imagination, empathy and the skill to collaborate within and across networks. What is more, we help people to identify and critically analyze real life situations in their work environment that need to be changed.
What is your future story?
What I have seen in my work with clients in the private and public sector is that successful leadership in the 21st century is about motivating people to constantly develop their skills further and inspiring them to find new ways of doing. Visionary leaders have already realized that they need to unlock the full potential of their people so that their organizations can cope with the complexities of their current and future business.
Participants of our Premiere event received customized artistic impulses from a puppet, a bot and a musician, and were then asked to capture their meeting of the future with AI in cross-disciplinary teams. After initial difficulties to leave traditional meeting structures behind, the teams started enjoying the idea to completely re-imagine current meeting structures. And all of them finally came up with brilliant ideas. Like this, fears of becoming obsolete were transformed into permanent information and knowledge buffets; new views and perspectives were gained during non-data-based mountain hikes; and ecological footprint concepts were worked out with the support of AI in smart and sustainable chillout structure.
The big aha
So what does all of this mean? What may look a bit 'crazy' at first sight can become very useful for reflecting current structures and creating new realities. A safe space for imagination, an entrepreneurial mindset and lots of fresh ideas can serve organizations - teams and individuals - as a basis for working out concrete implementation plans that will make a difference in the real world.
At our Premiere event we could prove all our hypotheses: people at all hierarchical levels will need to embrace AI, be able to capture its benefits, and continually improve their skills as well as adopt an entrepreneurial mindset. The big aha for our participants was that if they embrace digitalisation, AI will allow them to tap their creative potential and use their time and energy in a much more productive, fun way than their current daily operations do. Of course, such workshops also help leaders and teams to identify and better understand current barriers to change, to determine where they need to invest and to find out what kind of training they would need to make a change.