10th Global Peter Drucker Forum

Artificial Intelligence as the Voice of Wisdom for Future-Ready IT
Milena Milićević

During the 1960s, Peter Drucker stated that there isn’t much ‘‘participatory management’’ in Japanese organizations and that was a good thing. He observed that ‘‘everyone who would be affected by the decision knew what it was about – whether he (or she) liked it or not – and was prepared for it. There was no need to sell the decision – it’s been sold.’’

At a time when the business of technology is about moving quickly and in stealth mode, the winning strategy for IT in the 21st century is about leveraging intellectual property, protecting valuable data and deep-pocket investments.

Yet what would happen if soon the managerial wisdom in decision-making would be replaced to even a greater extent with machines and augmented intelligence?

According to Diane Gherson, IBM’s Chief Human Resources, the number one job skill that the next generation will need to thrive at work is the ability to work with data and analytics. Will algorithmic become the new literacy, a prerequisite to participate successfully in global competitiveness rate?

Yet this is not the only skill, especially if a company wants to obtain competitive advantage in the long run.

The most successful teams of the future will be able to harness tech innovation, not only because of robust data sets, stellar software and mighty hardware. They will be able to use their own brains, hearts and hands skillfully, in synergy and at global scale.

In other words, technology teams ready for the future will have managerial skills that robots cannot replicate: they will be able to gather resources quickly and make solid decisions despite market ambiguity and changing tech landscape; they will be able to reason critically, use creativity to the fullest, and especially bounce back with their brains and problem-solving skills even if technology collapses.

Below are three trends that affect global and innovative businesses and where artificial intelligence and deep learning can help to a large extent. Still, the success of thousands of companies will depend heavily on skills that algorithms and data cannot recreate: the human touch, empathy and the culture of open innovation.

1) From Information Overconsumption to Wisdom (of Humans and Machines)

Just like people who face unhealthy eating choices, many knowledge workers are overwhelmed with too much information.

The role of Artificial Intelligence is to automate mundane tasks for knowledge workers and decision-makers as well as to showcase market insights that help businesses grow and improve the quality of people’s lives.

Our industry and society will move from machine learning and machine intelligence, to machine consciousness.

AI-powered assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Watson and Cortana keep training while humans sleep. They answer more questions, with greater precision and at the scale that humans cannot.

This outsourcing of automatic tasks to machines should enable humans to do what they are better than machines: to make optimal choices by analyzing pre-ready data sets.

We can defeat information overconsumption in two ways: by having more intelligent machines as our virtual assistants and by building new habits of using technology in a healthy and efficient way. Smarter choices will prepare us for the ultra-marathon of our careers and volatility market.

2) Accurate and Complex Decision-Making Thanks to Data and Soft Skills

Expert technology teams try to help enterprise clients bring long-lasting behavior change with both data and empathy. The challenges are huge.

One of the latest reports on digital transformation, compiled by Capgemini and Brian Solis identified a strong disconnect between perception of company innovation among senior management and employees. In this report 1,700 respondents from top management in 340 organizations and eight countries were surveyed.

37% of respondents stated that their organizations have a culture of innovation, experimentation and risk-taking, whereas 75% of senior executives think the same.

Thousands of companies will benefit from digital transformation internal and external consultants who will enable them to digitalize their business models, upgrade their sales funnels and optimize operations.

For those reasons, Austrian Chamber of Commerce educated the first cohorts of digital transformation consultants under government-supported initiative KMU Digital, while the first generation of 20 consultants was certified in September 2018 in Serbia thanks to the pilot project of Austrian Chamber of Commerce, Serbian Chamber of Commerce and GIZ.

Companies may work with various stakeholders in order to evoke the innovation mindset and constantly upgrade it. They can do this irrespective of market conditions because their business does not grow in silos.

Also insights that company teams get from data should be analyzed in the context of human behavior, not as if the information itself is sufficient.

3) Human-Centered Leadership in IT Sector and Creating Strategic Alliances

It was only after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that it dawned how more restrictions should be imposed on IT sector so that social freedom, privacy and safety are never again jeopardized.

According to author Yonatan Zunger, software engineers still ‘‘do not perceive safety and ethics as the foundations of all design’’. The young engineers believe ‘‘they just need to learn to code, change the world, disrupt something.’’ Business leaders also too often forget to be accountable ‘‘They focus on getting a product out fast, confident that they will not be responsible if that product fails catastrophically.’’

Thus it is high time that technical teams who disrupt how society communicates and behaves are held accountable for any misconducts that affect our privacy and institutional order.

Let us remember Peter Drucker’s thoughts in Managing in a Time of Great Change, ‘‘The question that faces the strategic decision-maker is not what his organization should do tomorrow. It is ‘‘What do we have to do today to be ready for an uncertain tomorrow?’’

The question is not what will happen in the future. It is, ‘What future do we have to build into our present thinking and doing, which time spans do we have to consider, and how do we use this information to make a rational decision now?’

About the Author:

Milena Milićević is a marketing and business development consultant in IT industry.
She is Peter Drucker Challenge Essay Winner in 2016.
Milena co-founded organizations for developing IT skills of Millennials: Innovation Attitude Centre and AI Serbia.

This article is one in a series related to the 10th Global Peter Drucker Forum, with the theme management. the human dimension, taking place on November 29 & 30, 2018 in Vienna, Austria #GPDF18

This article first appeared in LinkedIn Pulse

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Milena Milićević

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