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6. May 2024

With People and AI to Success: How Companies Gain Real Competitive Advantages

by Holger Schmitz, Christian Seeringer und Christopher Topp
Die KI-Beziehung.

Studies and consultations predict a productivity increase of up to 0.6% per year through artificial intelligence, which equates to slightly more than 4 trillion US dollars worldwide. That’s an impressive number.
But what if generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) was not just a productivity booster, taking over tasks from humans en masse because it performs them many times faster (and ideally better)?
What if GenAI had much more fundamental impacts on our human capabilities? What if it helped us develop entirely new ways of thinking and working, ways that we can only imagine once we have experienced them ourselves?
Sounds crazy? It probably will be. Beyond our expectations and beyond what we can currently imagine.

And that is where the opportunity lies for companies to gain real competitive advantages in the future.
Using GenAI purely as a productivity booster will lead to more of the same, to an inflation of purely machine-generated content. Because LLMs are trained on past data, they reproduce existing material in ever-new variants—and they do so for all companies in a similar manner.
True game changers and strong, differentiating brands of the future will not emerge solely through the massively scaled intelligence of GenAI. They will require the intuition, curiosity, imperfection, and even the touch of madness that we humans bring to the table to truly create something new.
The most innovative companies of the future will be those that foster genuine collaboration between humans and machines.

These companies will be those

  • where people are not replaced by machines, but find new roles in symbiosis with GenAI, roles in which they contribute valuable input.
  • where people do not just delegate tasks to GenAI, but enter into a genuine relationship with it, engaging in a dialogue that furthers their own (professional) development.

    But what might such a dialogue between humans and GenAI look like exactly?

For example, some people are currently using GenAI as a coach, asking it questions and seeking prompts that open up new perspectives on their development topics. Or they have GenAI review their work, helping them to further develop the thought patterns that led to their results.
In the future, much more will be possible that we cannot even imagine today.

How can companies support their employees in building a strong relationship with GenAI?

We consider three areas of action to be particularly effective in promoting relationship building. These three areas go hand in hand – which also means that if a company does not focus on all three, it will not reach its full potential.
Together, they support each other like a flywheel, gradually gaining momentum across all three areas

Das KI-Beziehungs Schwungrad: Mindset, Experience und Skills als die drei zentralen Handlungsfelder.

These three areas of action are:


What do we think about generative AI and our possibilities with it?

What can companies do to foster an appropriate mindset?

Confidence Building: Establishing an Optimistic Narrative
Instill confidence in employees about their future relevance and inspire them to further develop their relationship with AI.
Level Up: Share New Assumptions About Capabilities
Establish new assumptions within the organization about what can be achieved and accomplished together with generative AI.
Innovators on Call: Create New Roles for Experts
The roles of people in the organization will change. Communicate new concepts of roles and their value contribution.


How do we design GenAI applications and the surrounding ways of working to contribute to a productive relationship between humans and machines?

What can companies do to provide an appropriate experience?

Safe Playground: Create a (Data) Protected Experimentation Field
The fundamental basis—employees must be allowed to use generative AI applications to experience the power of a productive relationship with AI.
Impact Experience: Make Effectiveness Tangible
How can employees experience that AI, due to its analytical strength, does not make all the decisions, but that humans, with their experience and unique contextual understanding, remain in the driver's seat for relevant decisions? This must be considered when designing AI applications within the company.
Don't Fall Asleep: Stay Awake in the Driver's Seat Instead of an AI Hammock
The best strategy for humans to make themselves redundant in collaboration with AI? Not checking and improving the AI's results. It is essential to design the functionalities of AI applications so that humans receive regular reminders or prompts to actively intervene and take control.


What competencies do employees need in a work environment shaped by generative AI?

What can companies do to build these competencies?

Dance with GenAI: Lead and Be Inspired
The AI relationship offers us at least two different modes of working:
First: We delegate tasks to the AI and lead it.
Second: We get inspired by the AI and use it as a partner for our professional development.
Companies are well-advised to support their employees in mastering both modes and balancing them situationally.
Grow Yourself: Self-Leadership and Development for New Roles
One of the key competencies in the GenAI era will be self-leadership in one's own development: recognizing what my future role will be, identifying the skills needed for that role, and acquiring that knowledge.
New Growth Framework: Realign Talent Management for the GenAI World
As the demands on roles will fundamentally change, the competency map will also need to be redrawn: What competencies are we looking for? What behaviors and results indicate talent? How do we support each individual's development?

Competitive Advantages Through a Dynamic AI Relationship

In an environment where more and more companies are supported by generative AI, real competitive advantages do not arise from using AI as a productivity booster, but from an inspiring interaction between humans and AI—a dynamic AI relationship. The AI relationship will significantly transform the inner workings of companies. Those who approach this transformation early, holistically, and with a spirit of experimentation, will create the right conditions to fully leverage the potential of GenAI.

We are happy to receive project inquiries

Christian Seeringer,

Business Partner Brand & Transformation Strategy

Porträtfoto von Christian Seeringer