Living businesses know that relevance requires a consistent, rapid mastery of new skills and technologies. Those that succeed strive to combine human ingenuity and artificial intelligence, leveraging man-machine collaboration to tackle obstacles in a workforce that excels at learning and adapting.
GE Global Research, for example, is investing in training scientists to become “dual scientists”—individuals who are not only masters in their original area of study, but also understand how to interact with AI and other machine learning systems to create additional value. For example, dual scientists help develop cloud-hosted software models of GE machines (such as turbines, aircraft engines and locomotives), that can help the company improve customer safety levels, as well as cut costs. These models called “digital twins,” help anticipate and a specific machine’s service needs and tailor its maintenance schedule, and by doing so, help customers get the most out of their investments. The company reported that a locomotive digital twin resulted in a 32,000-gallon reduction in annual fuel consumption and a concurrent reduction in carbon emissions of 174,000 tons.
By July 2017, 400 employees had received certification in data analysis and about 50 scientists had shifted jobs accordingly. Meanwhile, GE created 100 new jobs related to AI and robotics in 2016.
Rewiring your organization can seem complex, but living businesses understand the ROI that comes from such an investment. As reskilling and continuous learning continue to shape the workforce, organizations need to act proactively, rather than reactively when it comes to being relevant.
Three qualities of a hyper-relevant living business
Companies that follow these transformation pathways will evolve into Living Businesses, which share three fundamental qualities that make them—and keep them—hyper-relevant to customers:
- Consistently delivering intelligent experiences—data-driven customer, partner and employee experiences that adapt in real time to individual needs, preferences and context—while staying true to their brand values.
- Engaging in responsive innovation—when an organization’s infrastructure and culture are primed to embrace new ideas, behaviors and technologies effectively so they can anticipate and respond to evolving opportunities.
- And finally, becoming an agile organism, with operating models that have broken down internal siloes so that pertinent knowledge reaches those who need it, when they need it, leading to swift, confident decision-making.