The 4 Types of AI Wins: The Free Lunch (pt 1)

How to increase the chance for easy AI wins in your company
March 20, 2024

By Steffen Huß

The Free Lunch is the most popular type of AI win: You take a well-known task, bring in AI-support and get better results immediately, without relevant upfront effort. Examples for Free Lunches can include:

  • Getting an email pre-drafted with Copilot and saving time writing it
  • Researching with tools like ChatGPT, you.com, or Perplexity.ai, and getting suggestions immediately, and in the language of your choice
  • Using apps like Descript to edit videos of your latest webinar by just changing the transcript, doing the same task faster

Obviously, Free Lunch AI wins are great and every company wants to have as many of them as possible. However, one important thing to understand is that Free Lunch AI wins by their very nature require bottom-up adoption. Only those actually performing the tasks can judge whether and when AI speeds them up, and whether the quality meets their standards and their individual preferences.

However, there are certain things you can do to create an environment in which bottom-up adoption leads to more of those easy AI wins:

Set up policies

While it may seem trivial, it's not yet standard. According to a Salesforce survey, most GenAI users operate without their employer's approval, primarily due to a lack of guidelines. This can lead to privacy issues or AI-generated errors appearing in company documents. Therefore, establishing clear, easy-to-understand policies can enhance security and promote bottom-up adoption.

Facilitate tool access

Often, Free Lunch AI wins are identified by vendors and offered cheaply compared to the benefit they provide. Therefore, you should keep an eye on the market for these tools and provide your employees with easy access to test accounts whenever possible. Ideally, you should also simplify the subscription process for AI tools that fall below a specific price threshold, as long the risk of sensitive data being shared is low. By doing so, your employees can independently explore these tools. However, you should insist on monthly subscriptions given the rapid evolution of the market.

Provide incentives

Reward your employees for AI-solutions that scale across your company. This not only motivates to work with AI and explore its applicability – it also sends the clear message that you endorse AI usage, and that you want usage-ideas to be shared.

Upskill your team

Many Free Lunch AI wins can be achieved by using LLMs effectively. Prompting is not too complex, but some basic knowledge on GenAI should be acquired and some simple techniques be mastered. Hence, invest in upskilling your team on competent usage of GenAI, just as you would with any other vital technology. This way, you also reduce the risk of your employees getting lost in solving hopeless use cases with AI, and of work results deteriorating due to improper AI usage.

To wrap it up, keep in mind that Free Lunch AI wins are not the only type of AI wins. They are the most convenient ones, but not necessarily the most important ones. To maximise Free Lunch AI wins, support (also) bottom-up AI adoption in your company.

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