Cognitive technologies: so what do we do now?

For most decision-makers, artificial intelligence and cognitive technologies will start shaping the world of tomorrow in the very near future. Meanwhile, very few companies yet to have a clear strategy in place. What should you be doing now?

Tom Davenport and New Vantage Partners carried out a study in 2018 among 160 US companies: 72% of executives thought that AI and cognitive technology would be game-changers over the coming decade; and 93% have even begun to invest in the area. But, even though small projects are thriving here and there, they are still limited and rarely form part of the bigger picture.

Everyone agrees that the scale of the disruption brought about by cognitive technologies will in no way be comparable to earlier technological revolutions. Davenport and Mahidhar recommend that readers think carefully about how they want to move forward, and to what degree they are willing to take risks. I love this article because at its heart it is full of common sense. The first step to developing a coherent cognitive strategy is to define your goal, objectives and key components, all the while making sure that it’s not simply about the technology and nothing else. Sounds simple, right? A bit like Strategor updated for 2020? But that’s where the comparison begins and ends. Fortunately, the authors are kind to us, giving some leads to follow for putting a good strategy in place, although their advice comes with a warning: you need the right skills. Whereas it’s true that more and more talents are trained in data and analytics, not too many are expert in cognitive sciences! In short, Davenport and Mahidhar argue that, when we see how quickly and smartly Amazon and Google have adopted cognitive technologies, it would be a shame to miss the boat.

Source: “What’s Your Cognitive Strategy?” by Thomas Davenport and Vikram Mahidhar (MIT Sloan Management Review Summer 2018)