The era of Generative AI has changed our relationship with technology from just using tools to collaborating with an intelligent partner, but it’s clear we’re slow to get started — too slow. Despite AI’s potential to transform how organizations work, we’re seeing slower adoption and deployment, possibly because of workers’ misplaced fear. Big promises have made the tech intimidating. And it’s made worse when AI sounds like Einstein is moving into your office. The reality is closer to having an army of multi-skilled associates on hand ready to execute at speed and scale exactly what you need doing.
The best way to open up the universe of possibility for all of us is just to get started. But breaking through that membrane of just getting started is massive. What our research shows is that massive change can happen with the smallest first step. Allison Sadler, Head of Learning and Development for USAA Insurance and Sales says, “One of the simplest steps is to educate people on the impact of AI on their role. Specifically, AI can elevate and extend human reach and provide insights and aggregations that allow our teams to use the highest levels of cognitive potential, rather than banal reasoning tasks performed today.” In short, you can learn to reinvent how you work in small doses, and that’s exactly what we’re enabling today. We’re carrying out research with Google Workspace around AI’s potential day-to-day impact with teams. Here’s what we’ve found so far.
“AI in the mundane”
Everyone’s been talking about what’s possible with AI, and it makes people excited and thrilled. But if you actually look at what professionals inside of your company are using generative AI for most days, it’s minimal. Our research shows that a great place to get an immediate uplift from AI combined with broadest adoption will be in sales—often a place in the organization with many professionals who can quickly use it to customize their connection and upgrade their outbound emails. It’s the simplest idea: just getting sales reps to pull in research, contextualize past emails, and generate something with the aid of AI that is a higher-order thought leadership, more intimate, and with higher velocity and volume. We’re testing this approach with a number of organizations right now. Aparna Pappu, Vice President and General Manager of Google Workspace, says: “Generative AI is being used in a myriad of ways at work – catching up from time off, writing in the right style for their audience, creating engaging content – all of these things just got a lot easier – this frees up valuable time for employees and creates efficiencies for businesses. There is no problem too small to try and solve with AI.”
Today’s biggest challenge is learning
Mark Leiter, the Chief Digital Strategy Officer at Boeing, told me recently how the temptation is to use generative AI like it’s a search engine when its potential is far, far greater. “The difference with generative AI is it’s about creative content as a creative thought partner,” said Mark, “Artificial intelligence is a mirror of the authentic intelligence on the outside. But what you see is tremendous variance in how people are using it and too often their first instinct is to treat it like a search engine. We need to teach them to really have in-depth conversations that are dynamic and iterative, and that’s a skill.” That means the challenge today is our adoption, learning and development. How do you teach and coach people how to use the tools? The answer is to break through the membrane of doubt and uncertainty. Take the first, easiest and most rewarding step. Just get started. These aren’t just tools. They are collaborators that will help you learn.