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This is AI Transformation

Monday, April 12, 2021

Over the last few years, we have seen numerous examples of how AI can do amazing things. Diagnosing cancer. Driving cars. Even defeating grandmaster Go-players. There has also been a huge number of reports on AI's potential, calculated in numbers like BNP growth or possible savings. But to unleash this potential, we need to look at more than data and the technical aspects of AI - the whole organization needs to change. Conny Svensson shares thoughts on how to achieve this and what AI Transformation at AI Sweden looks like.

– All these examples inspire people to dream and fantasize: "What if we could use AI for this! Or for that!" And there is a huge potential in AI – but most organisations are still a long way from making it a reality, says Conny Svensson, Head of AI Transformation at AI Sweden.

While many organizations have hired data scientists and built a few prototypes, Conny Svensson's experience is that things stop there, with a proof-of-concept that's never implemented.

– The problem is that AI often is approached from a technical angle. One has understood that AI is this powerful new thing and feel an urge to do something with it. What's often lacking is an idea on what this "something" is, says Conny Svensson.

Instead of taking the technology as the launch pad, take a step back and think about the pain point in the organisation. Which are those? Could AI help address them? Here, a proof-of-concept isn't enough. Conny Svensson prefers to talk about PoVs, proof-of-value.

What the value is will of course depend on the organization. It could be more money in the bank, removing dangerous steps in a production process, better public sector services to the citizens, etc. The important thing is that a PoV doesn't only focus on the technology – the data and the algorithms – but the value created by the use of technology.

AI isn't just plain old digitalization

"Digitalization" has been on the agenda for at least the two last decades. AI is a part of that, but at the same time a different kind of beast.

– I've been working with ICT and digitalization since mid-90. Nothing has changed an organisation like AI does. When mobility was everyone's top priority, we didn't talk about ethics and moral, about top-management's understanding of the technology or other topics surrounding AI. Mobility was about bringing the organisation's website to a smaller screen, something that could be seen as a traditional business case and run as an ordinary IT project.

AI can very broadly be described as a new toolset for analyzing enormous volumes of data. Where the human brain has evolved to simplify and filter out information, AI can instead draw conclusions from all available data. This means that AI can help us both ask and answer new kinds of questions. And based on the answers have new kind of insights.

AI Sweden's new offering: AI Transformation

There are lots of great courses and trainings for people who want to become data scientists or learn to code machine learning solutions. But there are too few initiatives helping the domain experts and management team understanding what AI is and how it can be applied in their work, says Conny Svensson and continues:

– With our new offering AI Transformation, AI Sweden wants to support our partner organizations to realize what questions AI can ask. For every organization, this will differ depending on what their goals are and how far on their AI journey they've come.

The idea is based on a process called Lean AI Transformation, being both agile and iterative in its nature. In each of the five steps – Assess, Dream, Plan, Change and Scale – AI Sweden will have offerings that can help the partner organizations on their transformation journey.

– One example is a self-assessment tool developed by German AppliedAI, part of UnternehmerTUM. In May, AI Sweden will launch a Swedish adaptation of that, as an online service that any organization can use. That will help in the first step, the Assess phase.

Another example is a use case library, where AI Sweden will collect good examples on applied AI, useful for the Dream phase. What have others done? What would something similar look like in our organization?

Throughout all five steps, there is also a need for sharing experiences and learning from others. Here, a broad offering around training and education is an important part of AI Sweden's offering. This includes, among other things, possibilities like the 45 minute AI introduction for leaders, the AI Change Agent Program and the masterclass AI for leaders. For those who are into podcasts, there is AI för CxO:er & ledare. And, at AI Transformation Day in mid-April, AI Sweden will launch a new partner offering: A new type of network, where partners will meet for roundtable discussion once every month.

– The overarching goal is to help our partners work with mindset, leadership and curiosity. Supporting what we call the AI Change Agents in our partners' organizations is an important part of AI Sweden's mission. And what we do in AI Transformation is the practical part of that mission, Conny Svensson concludes.

So where to start that journey? Listen to the AI för CxO:er-podcast, make sure to attend at AI Transformation Day and if you haven't been through any AI training yet, start with the free course Elements of AI, suggests Conny Svensson.

But he also has a challenge for you:

– Before you do any of that, take some time and write down five opportunities you see in AI. And five things that worry you. While you listen to the pod, see if those things are part of the discussions, if your thoughts are validated or challenged, and what new associations and thoughts they inspire. Doing this will force you to think about AI, not only listen.

If you want to know more about AI Sweden's ideas on AI Transformation or are curious about how our AI Transformation team can help you? Reach out to Conny.

Head of AI Transformation

Conny Svensson

+46 (0)70-190 78 21