Navigating an AI-powered world: governance and AI

6 min read
May 26, 2024 3:38:19 PM

With the advent of AI, the opportunities to enhance productivity and advance our purpose are immense, but the challenges are equally significant. Successfully integrating AI can revolutionise how organisations operate, but failing to adapt could mean quickly losing relevance in an increasingly competitive world. Adapting to an AI-powered world doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a considered approach that minimise the risks, maximises opportunities in a strategic manner, and streamlines the adaption process. Boards have a critical role to play in guiding their organisations through this transformation.

Support people on their AI journey

The first step is ensuring that your people - whether board, staff, stakeholders, or volunteers - are comfortable with the technology and have the skills to apply AI in their daily role. AI can seem daunting at first, but practical training can help demystify AI, encourage use, and lay a strong foundation upon which more complex projects can be built.

When thinking of individual AI adoption, encourage your team to apply AI to enhance their day-to-day productivity. The kind of things you can do easily at the moment include:

  • Personalised communication: Tools like ChatGPT can be used to create tailored emails and messages, ensuring that each recipient feels valued and understood. 
  • Simplifying research: AI can convert complex reports and data into more accessible formats. This not only saves time but also ensures that everyone, regardless of their technical expertise, can understand and use the information. 
  • Quick contact lists: Services like Lusha can automate the creation of contact databases, ensuring that you have up-to-date and comprehensive information at your fingertips. 
  • Custom video messages: Tools like Invideo allow the creation of personalised video content that can add a dynamic and engaging element to your communication strategy. 
  • Targeted newsletters: AI can help segment customers to allow the creation of targeted newsletters, ensuring that each customer receives content that is relevant to their interests and needs. 
  • Grant and tender applications: AI can autofill grant applications, saving time and increasing the chances of success. By automating this tedious process, AI allows the staff team to focus on crafting compelling narratives and impactful proposals. 
  • Board reports: Automating data analysis and report generation allows the board to focus on strategic decision-making rather than getting bogged down in data collection and interpretation. 
  • Event planning: AI can analyse past event data to optimise future events. From predicting attendance numbers to personalising attendee experiences, AI can transform event planning and execution. 
  • Social media content: AI can help you create engaging and trend-driven social media posts, ensuring that your organisation stays relevant and visible in the digital space. 
Individual AI upskilling
  • The board's role in supporting individual upskilling on AI is crucial to the successful integration of AI within the organisation. Actions the Board can take to support individual upskilling include:

  • Championing educational initiatives: The board should prioritise the development and implementation of comprehensive AI training programs that provide continuous learning opportunities for staff. This involves ensuring that the budget and resources are allocated to provide high-quality training sessions and workshops tailored to the diverse needs of staff. This isn’t a one-off program – training should be a regular and consistent organisational activity.
  • Leading by example: The board should actively participate in AI training programs and workshops to demonstrate their commitment to learning and using AI tools effectively. By embracing AI technologies themselves, the Board can set a positive example and encourage others to follow suit.
  • Allocating resources: The board should ensure that sufficient resources, including funding, time, and personnel, are dedicated to AI education and training. This includes partnering with AI experts and educators to deliver specialised training and leveraging online learning platforms to provide accessible and flexible learning opportunities.
  • Supporting creative Initiatives: The board can foster a culture of innovation by recognising and rewarding staff and volunteers who develop creative and effective uses of AI. This could include establishing awards for AI-driven projects, highlighting success stories in communications, and providing grants or additional resources for innovative AI initiatives.
  • Facilitating peer learning: encourage a collaborative learning environment where staff can share their experiences and insights on AI. The board can support the creation of peer learning groups, mentorship programs, and internal forums for discussing AI applications and best practices.
  • Monitoring progress: The board should regularly assess the effectiveness of AI training programs and make necessary adjustments. This involves gathering feedback from participants, tracking participation and engagement levels, and measuring the impact of training on the organisation's operations and customer satisfaction.

Drive impactful strategic and operational outcomes

The next level of AI implementation is its application in revolutionising core operational functions that will then enhance the overall effectiveness of your organisation. Some of the practical ways AI is already being used by businesses to achieve a significant impact include: 
  • Drive Customer Loyalty: Starbucks leveraged its AI platform, Deep Brew, to enhance digital customer interactions, optimise store operations, and improve its rewards program, driving increased customer loyalty and operational efficiency. 
  • Improved Operational Efficiency: 7-Eleven was able to achieve a 90% reduction in product planning time and improved operational efficiency by integrating AI and Big Data to revolutionise store management and customer experience.
  • Innovate Store Operations: Domino's Pizza used AI with Azure OpenAI Service to innovate store operations and customer service, resulting in optimised operations and a 10.2% increase in stock value.  
  • Transform Language Learning: Duolingo used AI through its Birdbrain system and OpenAI's GPT-4 to enhance personalisation and improve learning outcomes. Their new subscription tier, Duolingo Max, features AI-powered tools like ‘Explain My Answer’ and ‘Roleplay’, leading to a 42% revenue growth in Q1 2023 and a 62% increase in paying subscribers.
  • Enhance Content and Customer Experience: Disney has integrated AI to revolutionise animation, content personalisation, and theme park experiences. Innovations include deep learning for character recognition, AI-driven content tagging on platforms like ESPN, and interactive robots like Baby Groot and D3-09. These efforts have significantly improved operational efficiency and guest engagement.  
  • Personalise E-learning: Coursera is leveraging AI to enhance the online learning experience through tools like "Coursera Coach" and AI-Assisted Course Building. These innovations provide personalised learning, instant feedback, and efficient course creation, significantly improving user engagement and educational outcomes.
  • Enhance financial research: Bloomberg's AI-Powered Earnings Call Summaries use generative AI to provide succinct, actionable insights from company earnings calls, significantly improving analysts' research efficiency and decision-making. This tool integrates seamlessly with Bloomberg Terminal functions, offering enriched context and immediate access to key financial data.
  • Modernise customer engagement: Avon leveraged AI and AR technologies through partnerships with o9 Solutions and Perfect Corp to revolutionise digital commercial planning and enhance customer experiences with virtual try-ons. These initiatives led to a 320% increase in conversion rates and a 33% rise in average order values, significantly boosting customer engagement and business growth.
The strategic role of the board in AI
The board plays a crucial role in driving strategic and operational adaptation and can support it through:
  • Championing innovation: Prioritise leveraging AI for global collaborations and predicting future trends. Actively promote and support innovative AI initiatives to position the organisation at the forefront of industry-wide advancements.
  • Making strategic investments: Ensure sufficient resources are allocated for AI projects, including funding for new technologies and partnerships with AI solution providers.  
  • Executing effective governance and oversight: Establish a dedicated AI committee or task force to oversee AI integration, ensuring alignment with the organisational strategic goals and ethical standards.  
  • Supporting pilot programs: Encourage AI pilot programs to test new tools and processes, allowing for gradual and controlled integration of AI technologies. This provides valuable insights and reduces the risk of large-scale failures.
  • Establishing ethical guidelines: Lead in establishing and enforcing transparent and fair ethical guidelines for AI applications. This includes safeguarding data and ensuring AI-driven decisions are unbiased and equitable.
  • Promoting resilience and readiness: Prioritise continuous learning and adaptability to new AI technologies by investing in ongoing training and professional development for staff. Stay informed about the latest AI advancements to foster a culture of agility and resilience, ensuring the organisation can navigate and thrive amidst technological changes.
  • Integrating AI into strategic planning: Incorporate AI adaptation into strategic planning. Set clear goals and metrics for AI integration, regularly review progress, and adjust strategies as needed. Ensure AI is a core component of the organisation's long-term vision and planning processes to drive sustained growth and innovation.
  • Fostering collaboration: Promote collaboration between different departments and with external AI experts. This can lead to innovative solutions and a more cohesive approach to AI integration. The board should facilitate cross-functional teams and partnerships to enhance the organisation's AI capabilities.
Embracing AI is not just about survival; it's about leading and thriving in a rapidly changing world. Navigating the complexities of an AI-powered world requires more than just the adoption of new technologies; it demands visionary leadership, strategic foresight, and an unwavering commitment to continuous learning and ethical practices. Boards of all organisations, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, must spearhead this transformation to lead their organisations into a future defined by progress, resilience, and competitive excellence.

When you're ready here's how BoardPro can help


Start a Free Trial — run a whole board meeting cycle for free, no credit card needed. You’ll be able to create board packs in a click, and have all minutes, decisions, actions and interests in one place. Be more effective, save time, and have everyone on the same page!

Book a Demo — see BoardPro in action in this 30-minute demo, and have all your questions answered by a BoardPro specialist. You’ll get an introduction to all of BoardPro’s features — see how to set an agenda, create board packs, and take minutes. 

Attend a Free Governance Webinar — learn from our community of governance experts on subjects such as strategy, understanding board dynamics, reporting, and running effective meetings. You’ll join hundreds of others in these engaging events covering the latest governance topics.

Find a Governance Template — practical documents to make governance easy! Templates cover strategic planning, board evaluation, risk assessment, SWOT analysis, and many other essential governance and business topics to grow your organisation and adopt good governance practices. 


Click me

Get Email Notifications