How to survive and thrive in the age of AI

Written by Prof. Alan Brown, AI Director, Digital Leaders

It’s been a busy few months since I joined Digital Leaders as their new AI Director, but I’m excited to let you know that my new book is out. “Surviving and Thriving in the Age of AI: A Handbook for Digital Leaders” and it is available now from all the usual outlets. 

In short, “Surviving and Thriving in the Age of AI: A Handbook for Digital Leaders” is specifically designed for busy professionals, Digital Leaders and decision makers wanting to know more about AI’s issues and impact. It is organized to allow the reader to gain valuable insights quickly and on demand. Above all, the content is grounded in real-world experience and practical applications within the context of digital transformation, ensuring its relevance to everyone who is embarking on a digital journey. Most importantly, each topic concludes with thought-provoking questions and actionable steps to guide your personal exploration of AI and its implications.

So, what’s it all about? Here’s a summary of the main elements of the book. I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback. Hope you enjoy it!


Surviving and thriving in the age of AI: A handbook for Digital Leaders 

Opinions on AI are everywhere these days. From news headlines warning us how robots will soon be taking our jobs to academic papers describing the latest image analysis advances, the promise and perils of AI are being described and debated. Yet, with the breadth and depth of AI disruption it’s all too easy to feel lost in the technical details, overwhelmed by the barrage of announcements, and confused by the implications for business and society. How can we make sense of it all? What are the key aspects of AI that will determine its impact on our lives? What does it mean for leaders and decision-makers looking to accelerate digital transformation strategies and redefine their organisations to be ready for the age of AI?

I have written this book to address these questions. “Surviving and Thriving in the Age of AI” cuts through the hype and offers a practical roadmap for navigating the exciting (and sometimes confusing) world of AI. It takes the reader on a journey through the principles and practice of AI to provide a handbook for becoming a digital leader in the age of AI.

While it covers many elements, here I’ll unpack the three key themes that form the core of the book: Separating the AI reality from the hype; Assessing AI’s impact on digital transformation; and Delivering AI-at-Scale.


Separating AI reality from hype: How to stay head with AI

Let’s be honest, much of what we see today makes AI sound like a cross between magic and science fiction. The book encourages us to step back from the sensational headlines and presents the core elements you need to develop a critical eye.

  • Critical Thinking is Key: Don’t be fooled by marketing speak. Leaders must learn to evaluate AI technologies for themselves to ask better questions and place AI developments into context. A framework for critical thinking is developed throughout the book. Stay informed about advancements, but be wary of overly optimistic predictions.
  • Education is Power: All of us must invest in understanding the basics of AI. Digital leaders have a particular responsibility to educate themselves and their teams. This empowers them to see through the hype and identify how AI can specifically benefit their industry. The book highlights where to concentrate your educational efforts.
  • Data is King: Don’t base decisions on empty promises. The book emphasizes the importance of data-driven decision making based on a resilient data engineering infrastructure. Leaders gain deeper insights from a mature approach to data and look for real-world case studies to test, evolve, and scale their AI solutions.

Assessing AI’s impact: A key weapon in your digital transformation arsenal

The evolution of AI brings new capabilities and opportunities to digital strategies already underway. The book positions AI as a powerful tool to extend your digital transformation journey. But only if AI is considered in the context of well-governed change management practices that focus on helping people to be more efficient and effective.

  • Integration is Key: AI isn’t a standalone solution. It should seamlessly integrate with your existing digital infrastructure to maximize its impact. The book encourages you to think of it as an upgrade, not a complete overhaul.
  • Boost Your Capabilities: AI can supercharge your data analysis, customer service, and operational efficiency. The book provides principles and real-world examples to show how companies are leveraging AI to achieve impressive results.
  • Embrace the Experiment: Change can be difficult for organisation with established products, systems, and structures. Fostering a culture of innovation is crucial for success with AI. A key emphasis of the book is to encourage experimentation, learn from failures, and use those lessons to inform future efforts.

Delivering AI-at-Scale: Expanding AI across your organisation

Making the decision to bring in new AI tools and systems is just the start. Taking an AI project from pilot program to company-wide success story requires careful planning and substantial investment. The book provides the basis for you to create a roadmap to make this leap:

  • Start Small, Win Big: Adopting AI can have major implications across the organization. Don’t try to boil the ocean. Begin with focused pilot programs in controlled environments. This allows you to test the waters, iron out kinks, and understand the potential impact before full-scale implementation. But the book helps you to recognize this is only a first step.
  • Build a Strong Foundation: AI will place pressure on existing systems and skills. Ensure you have the technological and organizational infrastructure to support AI at scale. This includes robust data management systems, powerful computing resources, and a skilled workforce.
  • Change Management Matters: People are key to successful AI adoption. The book uses case studies to show how leaders can communicate the vision clearly, address any concerns, and provide proper training to ensure everyone is on board.
  • Continuous Improvement is the Focus: AI isn’t a “set it and forget it” solution. The book emphasises the importance of continuous monitoring and improvement. Establish feedback mechanisms to track AI performance, learn from outcomes, and refine your AI applications for maximum effectiveness.

Beyond surviving to thriving with AI

All organisations are now looking to AI to reinvigorate their digital strategy. It is by focusing on these three themes that “Surviving and Thriving in the Age of AI” equips leaders and decision-makers with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the world of AI with confidence. By understanding the true potential of AI, leveraging it to extend your digital transformation efforts, and scaling AI solutions effectively, you can move from surviving to thriving in the age of AI. This is the handbook that Digital Leaders need to help you to make that happen.

If you would like to learn more about the book, get a signed copy and see me in conversation with Macmillan Cancer Support CIO, Roxanne Heaton you can join us on 23rd July at DLHQ 

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