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Embracing AI: Why Incremental Change is Key

In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into organizations is no longer a mere possibility – it's an inevitability. As a recent HEPI/Kortext study found, over half of current university students have already used generative AI tools like ChatGPT to help with assessments. As leaders, we must recognize that for the next generation entering the workforce, seamless use of AI will be the norm. To prepare, we must embrace AI strategically now, fostering a culture of incremental change and experimentation. 

The age of AI demands a shift in our leadership approach, one that prioritizes small, deliberate steps over sweeping, disruptive overhauls. As the HEPI/Kortext report states, "For every student who uses generative AI every day, there is another who has never opened ChatGPT or Google Bard, which gives some students a huge advantage." By facilitating incremental changes, we create an environment conducive to successful AI adoption, empowering our teams to adapt gradually while minimizing resistance, technological divides, and maximizing buy-in.

A key finding from Microsoft highlights the "11-by-11 tipping point", revealing that users who save just 11 minutes per day through AI quickly perceive its value, and after 11 weeks, they experience notable improvements in productivity, work enjoyment, work-life balance, and meeting efficiency. This underscores the importance of identifying and promoting AI use cases that deliver immediate, tangible benefits – the "easy wins" that pave the way for broader adoption.

As leaders, our role is pivotal in facilitating these small, incremental changes. We must actively encourage experimentation, fostering a culture where trying new AI-powered tools and workflows is not only accepted but celebrated. By modeling this behavior ourselves and continuously utilizing AI in our daily routines, we inspire our teams to embrace technological advancements.

Moreover, we must recognize that building new habits takes time. Patience and perseverance are essential as we guide our teams through the 11-week journey towards the "tipping point" of AI integration. Consistent reminders, support, and reinforcement will help solidify these new modes of working, ultimately unlocking the full potential of AI within our organizations.

In the age of AI, visionary leadership is not about sweeping, disruptive changes; rather, it is about orchestrating a harmonious symphony of small, incremental steps. By championing this approach, we pave the way for successful AI adoption, empowering our teams to embrace technological advancements gradually, while fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. With the next generation effectively native to AI use, it's crucial we lay the groundwork now through incremental change management.


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