Generative AI

Is Your AI Thinking Outside the Box?

Aug 28, 2023

Most companies are using AI to automate mundane tasks but haven't tapped its full potential to drive innovation. Research shows incorporating AI as a creative partner leads to better questioning and problem-solving. Key recommendations include letting AI vary question speed, style, and uniqueness to spark creative thinking and harnessing AI's data connections to reshape questions and uncover hidden opportunities. It argues leaders who empower AI as a questioning engine to fuel curiosity and outside-the-box ideas will achieve breakthrough innovations and stay ahead of competitors. The article makes a compelling case for fully harnessing AI’s promise by evolving mindsets beyond automation to creative thinking amplification.

While businesses have successfully implemented AI to streamline repetitive tasks and process data, they have only scratched the surface of what AI can offer. The article argues that the real transformative power of AI comes from treating it as a creative partner to enhance questioning, spark breakthrough ideas, and reveal hidden opportunities. Companies that fail to incorporate AI into their innovation strategies in this deeper way will miss out on the chance to supercharge creative thinking, gain a competitive edge, and unleash AI's full potential to accelerate growth. The central challenge, therefore, lies in evolving mindsets to see AI not just as an efficiency tool but as an engine for developing game-changing questions and solutions.


The Untapped Potential of AI

Present applications of AI focus mainly on improving efficiency by automating routine tasks like analytics, personalization, and predictions. However, AI's biggest value lies in its potential to be an "innovation engine" - enhancing human creativity rather than just replacing human effort.
Groundbreaking research has demonstrated AI's capacity to boost questioning, expand creative thinking, and reveal unseen connections that reshape how we solve problems. For instance, AI systems can turbocharge innovation cycles by automatically generating thousands of question variations across different styles, perspectives, and combinations in the time a human would take to formulate a single query. This supercharged questioning provides a fertile foundation for humans to build upon with unconventional ideas.

Pioneering Companies Lead the Way

Though most businesses are still early-stage, some pioneers have seized the opportunity to deploy AI as an innovation amplifier. For example, AWS provides AI tools like DeepComposer to augment human creativity. Technology provider SecondMind trained its AI to have "curiosity," so it asks questions that spark new ideas amongst employees.  

At Colgate-Palmolive, AI algorithms help predict emerging trends by making obscure associations in data, empowering the leadership team to formulate the right innovation strategies using their uniquely human strengths. As Director of Predictive Analytics Kli Pappas put it, "The AI does the heavy lifting so we can focus on the bigger questions."

The results speak volumes - their AI approach allowed Colgate to capitalize on the previously undiscovered charcoal trend over a decade before competitors. By proactively seeking out AI's creative side over its mechanical side, these companies cement a competitive advantage.

Leadership Mindset Shift is Key

Transitioning to an "AI first" innovation model requires changing management mindsets. Rather than simply accelerating current solutions, AI needs to be explicitly tasked with originating unconventional ideas. Setting up human-AI brainstorming workshops, training AI models on diverse creative thinking frameworks, and incentivizing collaboration with AI systems can all help drive this culture shift.

Forward-looking leaders should view AI as the ultimate questioned and creative partner rather than just process automation. With the right vision and initiative, AI could bring about a new innovation paradigm, helping differentiate those companies that recognize AI's untapped potential early on. The choice is clear - either harness the imagination of AI now or get left behind as the competition soars ahead.

While most companies are in the early stages of tapping into AI’s potential, the message is clear – there is a vast opportunity to evolve beyond narrow AI automation toward amplifying imagination and creativity. Pioneering businesses are already using AI to uncover invisible insights, formulate unconventional questions, and originate unexpected ideas, driving competitive advantage.

However, fully unlocking AI’s innovation promise requires shifting management mindsets to integrate AI into creative workflows and reward human-machine collaboration explicitly. Companies that build an “AI-first” innovation culture poised to enhance the creative process will gain a substantial edge. In the end, harnessing AI’s untapped capacity as an engine for originality and asking impossible questions can completely reshape solutions and progress.


To summarize…

Leaders who prioritize a vision and initiatives to leverage AI as a multiplier of human creativity will discover gains in innovation velocity, quality, and differentiation to propel their organization into a prosperous future.

Say hello to AI as a multiplier of human creativity! Harness the power of AI to unlock differentiated insights.

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Peter Nguyen
Project Manager
Christopher Jones
Data Scientist
Matthew Lewis
Data Scientist

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