C-Suite Network™

The New Reality of Innovation and AI

Talent is the most valuable asset of any organization. While automation and artificial intelligence improve productivity and profit, they are not the drivers of success. The succession of strategies that continually move an organization forward to create sustainable success over time – innovation – comes from humans.

Innovation depends wholly on the talent of your team, even when they do not share a physical space. Collaboration can be challenging for any organization, and especially difficult for those thrown into creating a virtual culture due to a natural disaster, inclement weather, or “social distancing” experienced during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Collaboration requires human interaction. If the right culture is not in place, the quality of human engagement and performance across the organization will suffer, as will the bottom line.

Human AI Accelerates Innovation

One of the most powerful ways to leverage human talent within an organization is to approach problem-solving the way intelligence machines do – through artificial intelligence. When humans are inspired to share their knowledge and resources toward a shared goal, the whole (what I refer to as “Human AI”) becomes different and greater than the sum of its parts.

As I explain in detail in my upcoming book ‘Crowd Success: Welcome to the Age of Human AI’, scientific studies reveal that the collective intelligence of the crowd solves problems better and faster when key criteria are met.

These criteria can be summarized as:

  • Diversity is Essential: Cognitive diversity is essential to a high-performance organization.
  • Each member of the team must feel personally invested in success.
  • Collaboration and problem-solving should allow spontaneous interaction.
  • Every member of the team must be valued equally – where one is not safe, no one feels safe.

The Virtual Team Challenge

Creating a collaborative environment can be difficult to facilitate in virtual environments, especially when team members are new to working virtually. Choosing talent to create the most innovative ‘Human AI’ is quite different than traditional hiring approaches. Duplicating the “ideal” employee or modeling a team that resembles the boss are outdated approaches to team-building. The more diverse the better. Creating cognitively diverse teams that include a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds create healthy tension and accelerate innovation faster than any team assembled purely on socioeconomic, academic, or traditional resume criteria.

Simply put, bias is good, discrimination is not.

Leading Innovation

How do you encourage innovation in teams when you cannot control the process?
Simply put; you don’t.

When trusted, the team will come up with the best solution on its own. The collective intelligence of the group will far surpass what any one individual would come up with, no matter how talented or experienced they are. It is the interaction created by each member of the team applying their unique perspective, experience, and ideas that will spur innovation faster than anything methodically planned by an individual or group of like-minded humans.

This approach may be difficult for some to embrace, but this mindset is essential to leaders and organizations that seek sustainable success. The digital transformation will be the greatest disruption in human history.  To survive and thrive in the age of AI and intelligent machines we must embrace the genius within ourselves and every person we lead to creating solutions greater than ourselves. Humans can and must be empowered to, excel in the areas they outperform machines; such as innovation.

Now, more than ever, innovation requires leadership with vision and courage. ‘Human AI’ is the key to unleashing the talent within our teams to innovate faster and better – now, and in the future.

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