7 Practical Applications of Artificial Intelligence, End of Bureaucracy, & Benefits of “Walk & Talk” with your Customers

“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” – Jack Welch

From leadership and strategy to managing yourself and others, my Leadership Insights offer practical tips on the most essential business topics to help you succeed. Maximize both your own and your organization’s performance and become a more effective, well-rounded leader who can make better decisions to gain better results. Here are some insights/opportunities to help you out learn and out think the competition.

7 Practical Applications of Artificial Intelligence

Chapter 2 of Applied Artificial Intelligence provides a great summary/progression of how AI is applied to business. You can read the chapter in 5 minutes. Co-authored by Mariya Yao, it’s subtitled A Handbook for Business Leaders – and it is!  

Mariya labels these applications of AI, in Chapter 2, MIC (Machine Intelligence Continuum). The seven are machine learning systems that: Act, Predict, Learn, Create, Relate, Master, and Evolve. And she shares examples where each is being used in business, which should spur some creative ideas for your own organization. I then suggest you go right to Chapter 6 where she details how to build an AI-ready culture. No surprise – it’s best if the CEO is on board and at least one C-Suite executive has an advanced math degree (often top CMO’s have this, since it’s such an analytical function – or should be!!!).

Things to Know

End of Bureaucracy — this is the title of the Nov. cover article for HRB. It highlights Haier, the Chinese white good manufacturer which eliminated all 10,000 middle managers, a story I’ve been sharing in my keynotes. Notes authors Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini:

Having long viewed bureaucracy as a competitive liability, Zhang Ruimin, Haier’s renegade CEO, has for a decade led an effort to build a company where everyone is directly accountable to customers (a policy he describes as “zero distance”), employees are energetic entrepreneurs, and an open ecosystem of users, inventors, and partners replaces formal hierarchy.

Over 50 Employees — Bureaucracy tends to sneak in when firms get over 50 employees, so there are important lessons for most of us in this detailed article. At Haier, most employees are in a “microenterprise” of 10 to 15 employees – so think of a large company made up of 4000+ small businesses. Please take 6 minutes to study this article — it’s an important but lengthy and detailed treatise on how to scale agile! Thank you for UK Scaling Up coach Neale Lewis for sharing this article.

Scaling Up Case Study – Bluewire Media’s “Walk and Talk”

About a year ago Toby Jenkins and Adam Franklin, co-founders of Brisbane, Australia-based Bluewire Media, tweaked their weekly council (strategic thinking) meeting. It’s now a Steve Jobs-like “walk and talk.” Notes Toby: “Adam and I walk up to 10 kms, sometimes in the bush, other times by the river.” And the benefits, continues Toby: 

  • It “stacks” exercise, nature, work and friendship (35 years this year including 14 years in business together).
  • Nurtures body, mind and energy at the same time.
  • Much higher energy level and focus for the whole 2-3 hours
  • A sense of moving in the same direction.
  • Often feels like a much higher quality conversation

FYI, over the past five years Bluewire Media has scaled from 99% working only in Australia to now active in 44 countries. Same Walk and Talk Format with Clients – Bluewire Media uses the same approach with clients. “High quality 1-on-1 time with the key decision maker,” continues Toby. “I’ve found it useful in the negotiation phase, when we’re both trying to get crystal clear on the higher-level context and then zoom in on the nitty gritty of an engagement. And it’s been highly useful as a regular check-in process too.” Toby noted in an email to Verne Harnish (our foundation thought leader) that “we’ve basically followed your whole Scaling Up playbook, with 90 day ‘advances’ for a decade.”


Connect with me: [email protected]