The potential of “Design Thinking and AI” results in exponential benefits for business when it matures from the “toy stage of involvement” to the “outcome stage.” In this process, the real challenges emerge in the application of Design Thinking and AI.
By outcome stage, we mean that the enterprise or any organization is not just adopting Design Thinking or AI for the sake of visibility and feel good, but rather for driving real and long-term business benefits. At this stage, Design Thinking has to be applied to align Processes, Analytics, User Experience, Dashboards, Data Structures at the internal level, and ability to integrate with the digital systems of clients, vendors, suppliers, and all other stakeholders seamlessly. It is then that the benefits start showing, and the Return on Investment (ROI) starts reflecting on the books of accounts. It is then that the stakeholders, including investors, employees, and clients, start feeling the impact of the initiatives adopted by the enterprise.
Sadly many organizations miss this point and get trapped in the myopic views of Design Thinking and AI. Thus, they are stuck in the toy stage: “a stage when one is happy to have a toy to play with and showcase.” So how do the organizations move beyond and go to the ROI stage? Who will play that part?
For instance, when the IT industry began, many- a- time the IT department or the team was aligned to the CFO of the company as it was seen as an expense, rather than a strategic advantage. Gradually the roles of CTO and CIO emerged, and IT started to be perceived as generating the impact for COO, driving efficiencies, and productivity. Soon it became the choice of interest for the Business Heads and the CEO as it rose to the level of competitive advantage, adding speed, ease of doing business, and reliability to a company’s brand.
Design Thinking and AI are at the same stage today. While there is no harm looking at them from an investment point of view, the real benefit, however, is somewhere else. As we saw in the case of the IT industry, the real benefit is in driving competitive advantage which can be achieved only by designing the impact. The enterprise-wide view has to be taken of along-with the digital ecosystem in which it operates. For this, an in-depth knowledge of business, Design Thinking, AI, and business platforms and ecosystem is required. It is then only ROI can be achieved.