Generative AI - What It Means for Your Business

30 January


Imagine if your business had a new starter with endless potential, ready to dive into any challenge you throw their way. This isn't just any graduate; it's Generative AI, a technology reshaping the business landscape with its unique capabilities and occasional, well-intentioned missteps.


What is Generative AI?

Generative AI, much like a resourceful new graduate, brings a fresh wave of creativity and innovation to the business world. This form of AI goes beyond the traditional boundaries of data analysis and prediction, venturing into creation and synthesis.

At its core, Generative AI is an artificial intelligence class that specialises in creating new content, insights, and solutions. It's like having a team member who responds to existing scenarios and imagines and generates what has yet to be thought of.


Capabilities of Generative AI:

Content Creation: Generative AI can produce a wide range of textual content, from writing marketing copy to drafting reports and summaries. Tools like ChatGPT, Google Bard, or Microsoft's CoPilot transform how businesses approach content generation. (See an overview on different Chat Tools). [i]

Multimedia Generation: Beyond text, Generative AI extends to creating images, videos, and even multimedia presentations. It's like having an artist and a designer rolled into one, capable of visualising concepts and ideas in vivid forms.

Data Synthesis and Analysis: Generative AI can analyse vast datasets and synthesise insights, making it invaluable for strategic planning and decision-making. It's akin to a data analyst who can interpret data, predict trends, and model future scenarios.

Personalised Experiences: In customer service and marketing, Generative AI can tailor interactions and content to individual preferences, providing a level of personalisation that was previously unattainable.

Innovative Problem-Solving: Perhaps its most exciting aspect is Generative AI's ability to propose solutions to complex problems, offering perspectives that might not occur to a human mind.


Generative AI in Action: Learning the Ropes

Even the most promising new starters have their share of learning moments. Consider Chevrolet of Watsonville's chatbot.[ii] It was a bit too enthusiastic in customer service, humorously agreeing to sell a car for a dollar. Or the DPD chatbot[iii], which, in a somewhat overzealous attempt to be helpful, gave more candid responses than expected.

While amusing, these instances are gentle reminders of guiding and fine-tuning our AI 'graduates' as they integrate into the complex business world.


Tips for Integrating Generative AI

1. Identify Appropriate Roles

Just as you wouldn't ask a new graduate to chair the board meeting on their first day, assigning appropriate roles to AI is crucial. It's about finding the sweet spot where AI can be most effective without overstepping into realms better handled by humans.

Content Creation: AI can be a whiz at drafting marketing copy or summarising lengthy documents.

Data Analysis: Let AI delve into big data for insights. – ideal for spotting trends or potential market opportunities.

Operational Efficiency: AI can streamline processes, like scheduling or drafting standard operating procedures. It's akin to having a super-efficient personal assistant who never takes a coffee break.

Personalised Customer Experiences: Use AI to tailor marketing or sales strategies to individual customer preferences.

Training and Development: AI can help design personalised training modules or provide automated feedback.

Customer Service: Start with AI handling basic customer inquiries. It's like having extra hands to sort through the simple stuff, freeing up your human team for more complex issues. Just remember the Chevrolet chatbot incident – sometimes AI can be too agreeable!


2. Set Boundaries and Guidelines

Establishing boundaries and guidelines is crucial for AI systems and their teams. This dual focus ensures that technology and human resources are aligned and operate effectively within safe and ethical parameters.

For People

Training and Awareness: Train your team on interacting and working with AI. This includes understanding the capabilities of AI, ethical considerations, and how to interpret AI-generated outputs.

Clear Usage Policies: Develop policies on how employees should use AI tools. This includes guidelines on inputting data, interpreting results, and escalating issues when AI outputs are questionable, as seen in the Pak'nSave 'Savey Meal-bot' [iv]scenario. (See the reference section for a detailed Prompt example to use AI to help create a policy[v]).

Ethical Guidelines: Educate your team about the ethical implications of AI. Ensure they understand the importance of fairness, bias prevention, and the societal impact of AI decisions.

Feedback Mechanisms: Establish channels through which employees can report concerns or provide feedback about the AI systems. This is crucial for continuous improvement and addressing any unforeseen issues promptly.

You create a balanced and responsible AI-integrated work environment by setting comprehensive boundaries and guidelines for AI systems and those interacting with them. This approach mitigates risks and maximises the potential benefits of AI in your business.

For AI Systems

Define Operational Limits: Just as you wouldn't expect a new graduate to know everything on day one, clearly define what your AI can and cannot do. For instance, the Chevrolet chatbot should have had restrictions to prevent it from making unrealistic sales agreements.

Regular Audits and Updates: Keep your AI up-to-date and regularly audit its performance. This is like having routine check-ins with a new starter to ensure they are on the right track and understand their roles.

Data Privacy and Security: Implement strict protocols for data handling and security. AI systems often handle sensitive information, and protecting this data as diligently as you would in any other context is crucial.


3. Facilitate Continuous Learning

To adapt and evolve, continuous learning is essential for AI systems and human teams. This dual approach ensures that your AI solutions stay relevant and practical while your workforce remains skilled and confident in utilising AI technology.

For Human Teams

  • AI Literacy Programs: Implement training programs to enhance AI literacy across your organisation. This ensures your team understands how to use AI tools and grasps AI technology's underlying principles and limitations.
  • Hands-on Experience: Encourage employees to work directly with AI tools in controlled environments. This could involve sandbox testing areas where they can safely explore and interact with AI functionalities.
  • Knowledge Sharing Sessions: Organise regular meetings or workshops where team members can share experiences, challenges, and successes with AI. This promotes a culture of shared learning and continuous improvement.

For AI Systems

  • Iterative Training: Regularly update your AI with new data and scenarios, like upskilling a graduate. This ensures that the AI stays current with market trends and business needs. For example, continuously feed customer feedback into your AI customer service tools to refine and improve their responses.
  • Performance Reviews: Conduct regular reviews of AI performance. Analyse how the AI is handling tasks and identify areas for improvement. Just like with a new starter, constructive feedback is critical to growth.


4. Promote Cross-Functional Collaboration

Cross-functional collaboration is critical in leveraging your organisation's diverse perspectives and skills. It ensures that AI solutions are well-rounded, practical, and aligned with departmental needs.

Integration of Departments:

  • Collaborative AI Projects: Launch projects that require input from multiple departments. For instance, a project that uses AI to enhance customer experience can benefit from the insights of the marketing, sales, and customer service teams.
  • AI Steering Committees: Form committees or working groups comprising members from different functions. These groups can oversee AI initiatives, ensuring that they align with overall business objectives and address the needs of various departments.

Encouraging Interdepartmental Communication:

  • Regular Cross-Departmental Meetings: Hold meetings where teams can discuss AI-related developments, share insights, and brainstorm solutions to challenges. This could include regular AI strategy updates or department-specific AI application showcases.
  • Shared AI Resources and Tools: Develop a centralised repository of AI tools, best practices, and learnings accessible to all departments. This facilitates knowledge sharing and encourages a unified approach to AI adoption.
  • Joint Training and Workshops: Conduct joint training sessions and workshops for multiple departments. This enhances AI understanding and fosters a sense of community and shared purpose in AI initiatives.

By fostering continuous learning and cross-functional collaboration, you ensure that your AI integrations are technologically sound and deeply embedded in and supported by your organisational culture.


Navigating Challenges with Generative AI

Even the most promising graduates can have their off days. Here's how to navigate these challenges with your AI:

  • Verify AI Outputs: Always double-check the AI's work, especially in high-stakes situations. It might occasionally offer to sell assets for a song or creatively interpret customer service.
  • Address Skill Gaps: As roles evolve with AI integration, focus on upskilling your team to keep up with the changes.
  • Prioritise Ethical Use: Ensure your AI adheres to ethical standards, avoiding biases and maintaining your company's values. AI, left unchecked, could inadvertently cause a stir, as seen with DPD's chatbot.
  • Manage Expectations: AI can be overzealous, like the Pak'nSave bot's adventurous culinary suggestions. Be realistic about what AI can achieve. It's a powerful tool, but it's not a magic wand.
  • Invest in Security: Protect your AI as diligently as you would any critical business asset.
  • Stay Informed on AI Developments: AI evolves rapidly. Keep up with the latest advancements to ensure your AI strategies remain practical and relevant. (This a good newsletter:


Looking Ahead: A Balanced Approach to AI

As we journey forward with our AI 'graduate', a new starter full of potential and curiosity, we're learning to embrace its capabilities and quirks. This journey, first imagined as welcoming an extraordinary talent into our business, is becoming a reality.

With each step, we're not just navigating the business landscape but reshaping it with a blend of human insight and AI ingenuity. Together, we're discovering that the future of business isn't just about technology; it's about the synergy between human creativity and AI's endless possibilities.

In this narrative, Generative AI is more than a tool; it's a partner in our ongoing adventure, where every challenge is an opportunity to innovate and every misstep a chance to learn and laugh. Ready for the future, we continue to harness this potential, turning our ambitious visions into tangible achievements.


This article was written by Andy Cooper, Head of Strategic Development at Skills Group.




[i] 20 Best AI Chatbots in 2024:

[ii] A car dealership added an AI chatbot to its site. Then all hell broke loose.

[iii] DPD error caused chatbot to swear at customer.

[iv] Pak’nSave AI meal bot suggests deadly and toxic spreads, supermarket says it will ‘keep fine-tuning’

[v]Sample prompt to generate an AI policy.  “You are a Human Resources Policy Specialist tasked with developing a comprehensive policy for the responsible use of AI tools in the workplace. Your task is to create a detailed policy document that outlines:

  1. **Best Practices for Data Input:** Provide guidelines on what types of data employees can input into AI tools, emphasizing the importance of data privacy and sensitivity.
  2. **Interpreting AI Results:** Offer a section on how to critically assess and interpret the results provided by AI tools, including understanding the limitations and potential biases of AI.
  3. **Escalation Procedures for Questionable Outputs:** Establish a clear protocol for employees to follow when they encounter questionable or potentially harmful AI outputs. This should include whom to contact and the steps to take for reporting these issues.
  4. **Training Requirements:** Detail any necessary training or resources available to employees to ensure they are well-equipped to use AI tools effectively and responsibly.
  5. **Compliance with Legal and Ethical Standards:** Ensure the policy addresses adherence to legal standards and ethical considerations in the use of AI, including data protection laws.

Use a professional and clear tone of voice to ensure the policy is easily understandable. Your response should be formatted like a formal policy document, with clear headings and subheadings for each section.

Please refrain from including overly technical jargon that might be confusing to employees who are not familiar with AI.

Your expertise in crafting this policy will greatly contribute to the responsible and effective use of AI in our workplace.

Thank you!

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