Their records of dealing with major disruptive technologies – such as the advent of the web, smartphone, and cloud – are generally not encouraging. Responses are often too narrow, reactive, and late. In our team’s close collaborations with the late Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen and since, we’ve seen a relatively small number of enterprises rise to the challenge and capture the upside of upheaval. It isn’t easy, but a playbook does exist.
AI promises at least as much disruption as those other technologies.
It carries innumerable dangers: poor quality outputs, employee alienation, new forms of competition, regulatory crackdown, and many more. But it also offers tremendous promise, such as through hyper-tailored offerings, lightning-fast responsiveness, and step-changes in costs. In our work with AI for over a decade, we’ve seen organizations reap these bounties.
This paper provides a close look at how to handle the disruption, drawing on lessons and case studies of organizations small and giant alike. We see business leaders – in functional roles, IT, strategy, innovation, and general management – grappling with several important questions such as:
This paper addresses these questions. It lays out three routes to take, and you need to take all three. You also must pursue all of them at once. Unlike with other initiatives, you won’t be able to work over distinct time horizons with different levels of urgency, because the industry’s rate of change won’t allow you that luxury. You’ll need to move at the speed of the market.