AI as a Mini Consultant for Innovation

AI as a Mini Consultant for Innovation

Amazon’s Alexa just got a new competitor. 

Alexa used to be, what I would argue, one of the best consultants in the world. No matter where you are – whether you’re on a run, on the kitchen counter, or in the living room – you can ask Alexa anything and you get an answer right back.

Alexa, tell me a joke.

Alexa, is the economic situation of the world getting worse?

Alexa, play “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars.

But not any longer. Enter artificial intelligence (AI) technology which comes in the form of the following tools: Grammarly, ChatGPT, Otter.AI, and Tableau, among others. AI technology has exponentially changed the way we gather data, make strategic business decisions, and connect with stakeholders – and we can only hope that these developments are happening for the better

We’ll see a lot of jobs being replaced and transformed, from the likes of executives assistants, consultants, marketers, lawyers, data analysts, educators, and so forth.

Already, corporate leaders are starting to use AI tools to automate mundane and administrative tasks. It will be particularly interesting to see how these same tools can support more complex decisions in business operations such as consulting, innovation, and R&D.

How to Use AI for Consulting 

Every other business is looking for new ways to bring in more clients, high-performing employees, and ultimately, profit. That’s why consultants exist. They don’t just give you advice. They come up with concrete solutions to specific issues, especially when the company lacks the resources, expertise, and capital to address the problem. But just imagine if you could have a mini-consultant hiding in your back pocket.

Related article: Will A.I. Become the New McKinsey? by Ted Chiang (The New Yorker)

1. AI Tools to Improve Content Readability

We’ve all put down a book after reading a few pages and realizing that it would take more brain power than you initially expected to finish the whole thing. Personally, I’ve tried to finish the first chapter of The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien several times, only to abandon it after forcing myself to reach the third page. Despite Tolkien being one of the best writers of all time, this particular book wasn’t exactly an enjoyable read for me.

The same goes for business documents. Whenever you write a draft or contract, the reader could quickly be put off if it’s poorly written, has too many errors, or if some sentences just don’t make sense. This problem can be addressed by AI-powered tools that specialize in content readability: 

  • Grammarly: This cloud-based tool, which also comes in the form of a browser extension, detects content problems like poor grammar, spelling, brevity, and tone. It also suggests alternatives to cryptic words and complex phrases using artificial intelligence.
  • Hemingway: This AI-driven editor refines your writing by highlighting convoluted sentences, excessive adverbs, and passive voice. It can assist business leaders in crafting content that’s straight to the point.
  • Copy.AI: Say goodbye to writer’s block. Copy.AI is an all-in-one AI content generator with 100+ writing templates (e.g., blog posts, product descriptions, social media captions, ad copy) designed to drive conversions. 

2. ChatGPT for Ideation Workshops, Concept Validation, and Business Strategy

Coming up with “good” ideas isn’t easy. It takes a lot of due diligence, experimentation, and probably a lot of long showers. Any innovation team, especially those who are risk-averse and fear the unknown, can sometimes fall into the habit of settling for ideas that seem safer and more logical to implement. 

Having said that, the problem with traditional ideation sessions is that you have many forces pulling you in different directions – and then end up with an idea that’s usual, has been done before, and is less than exciting. The job of a good innovator is to resist that pull. They’re supposed to push the limits. They’re supposed to convince everyone that there’s no need to force yourself to “think outside the box” if there is no box.

Fortunately, with ChatGPT, you can come up with better ideas in a fraction of the time. Simply ask questions (text prompts), and it’ll give you the answer you’re looking for. I recommend being as specific – and as creative – as possible with your prompts so that you get higher-quality responses. Some sample prompts are:

  • “My business in the energy sector is experiencing stagnating growth. Give me a few ideas on how I could boost customer demand in the [country].”
  • “I want to launch a new aviation venture that’s known for cheap airplane rides. How would Steve Jobs go about this business idea?” 
  • “My small business in the e-commerce space isn’t generating enough sales. How should I go about innovating my products or perhaps my approach to marketing?”
  • “Act like the consultant to my fintech start-up. My main competitor has a greater market share than my venture. Give suggestions on how I can make my products more innovative and better attract my target audience.” 

There will be times when ChatGPT makes mistakes. These are called “hallucinations”, so always fact-check the information that it gives you. Treat its responses as a starting point for further exploration, rather than the final answer. ChatGPT won’t get the job done – only you can.

Keep in mind that in the world of innovation, all you need to succeed is one good idea – even if it sounds crazy at first – so it’s fine if you spend more time iterating and making mistakes. As Theodore Roosevelt puts it, “Nothing worth having comes easy.”

3. Otter.AI for Transcribing Meetings

Being in charge of the minutes of a meeting isn’t the most fun job. Good thing Otter.AI makes it easy. 

This AI tool supports businesses by generating real-time transcriptions of meetings, webinars, and voice notes. These transcriptions are also valuable reference materials for post-meeting documentation and distribution throughout the team. Otter.AI integrates with popular platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Dropbox, and YouTube, among others.

4. Tableau for Data Analysis

Bring data stories to life with Tableau, a data visualization and analysis tool that empowers business leaders to gain actionable insights from complex datasets. With all this data at your fingertips, you can uncover new opportunities for innovation, as well as a full-picture overview of your organization’s performance. Get the whole story – not just a line on a graph.

Benefits of AI Tools for Innovation Consulting

1. Reduce Operational Costs

AI tools can automate various tasks and processes within the consulting domain. This, in turn, reduces the need for manual labor. 

By optimizing the innovation process, ventures can also achieve higher returns on their investments, save on costs, and allocate resources more effectively. This efficiency helps you stay agile and competitive in the cutthroat business landscape, ensuring your brand’s long-term success.

2. Experience Enhanced Creativity

Although there’s no denying that nothing can replace human intuition and creativity, AI tools can still provide unique perspectives and novel ideas that human consultants may not have considered. 

Keep in mind that AI algorithms process vast amounts of data. When you leverage AI technology, you get access to a wealth of creative ideas, uncover hidden patterns, and can ultimately develop groundbreaking products, services, and strategies.

3. Generate Actionable Insights

As mentioned, AI-powered tools can analyze large datasets and provide actionable insights that inform business decisions. These tools can detect potential risks before they even escalate.

4. Get Opportunities to Upskill

When you integrate AI technology into consulting, you’re also giving your team another avenue to upskill and deepen their understanding of the innovation process. People enjoy staying in a workplace that fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth. In the same vein, your venture can stay ahead of the curve and remain at the forefront of innovation.

Embiggen Group: Corporate venturing in emerging markets

The bottom line: Business leaders, knowingly or not, are at a critical turning point in the era of modern technology. Remember when travel websites displaced human travel agents? Or when video rental stores went bankrupt after people chose Netflix? Or when taxi drivers got a run for their money during the rise of Grab, Uber, and Lyft? The same thing will happen to organizations that don’t have AI tools by their side.

Instead of asking Alexa things like, “Who’s our biggest competitor in this industry?”, “How can we get a bigger market share?”, or “What are the risks of pursuing this innovation idea?”, you can ask the real humans at Embiggen Group. 

Besides the fact that the answers that AI tools generate aren’t 100% reliable, our team of experienced innovation leaders and serial entrepreneurs are always thinking ten steps ahead. 

We’re also pretty fun to talk to. Schedule a free strategy session with us today.