Three Strategic Ways to Use Generative AI for Business Strategy

finger touching letters AI on a screen

AI is a great tool for business. The longer your organization waits to understand and leverage AI as a tool, the further behind you may fall. How effectively your organization utilizes and integrates this tool is key.  There is a range of adoption of generative AI in business strategy. Some organizations are using it daily while others are still exploring its applications.  

“You should be thinking, ‘what are some things that we do from a strategy perspective that are intended to help us analyze situations that maybe gen AI could be helpful on.’” Dr. Adam J. Bock

There are so many different uses for generative AI, but SWOT, trend analysis, and new idea generation are three key areas that you should be experimenting with, if you are not already. AI does have limitations, though. It’s important not to blindly accept what AI generates, but to use those outputs as starting points for further conversations at your organization. It can also be a valuable exercise to push the understanding of the AI tool itself. If you’re not satisfied with the results, ask additional questions, provide additional information, or prompt it to take a different approach. Make the tools work for you! 

SWOT Analysis with AI 

SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) is a very well-used tool in strategic planning. If you’ve ever prepared a SWOT you know that it takes up a lot of time. You can use AI to generate insights comparable to what your human team would come up with, but in a significantly shorter amount of time. What might take you or your team 15-30 minutes to generate takes generative AI only seconds. Think of the time savings!  Now generative AI is not infallible, and all the insights it comes up with may not be accurate for your organization. But chances are many of them will be, or they may spark more insights you had not initially thought of. 

“This really does change how we think about aspects of strategy, how we think about aspects of how we win, and how our organizations actually operate.” – Dr. Adam J. Bock

Trend Analysis Using AI 

Similar to SWOT, AI can analyze large-scale industry trends very quickly. Consider prompting generative AI to give you some large-scale demographic trends that could negatively impact your organization. Continue the conversation with a prompt asking for suggestions on risk mitigation.  Keep in mind that what generative AI presents may not always be right for your organization, but it provides a great starting point for further conversation. This can be very useful if you’re starting out from zero, says Dr. Adam J. Bock, an experienced strategy and innovation consultant and globally recognized researcher on business models and innovation.  “I wouldn’t present it as the definitive truth but certainly as a starting point for thinking about some of the challenges your organization might face. This strikes me as an incredibly compelling place to begin,” says Dr. Bock. 

Crowdsourced Innovation with AI 

Another strategical use for AI is to generate ideas and innovations. It can be thought of as crowdsourcing, without needing the actual crowd to be present. Leveraging tools like ChatGPT, Bard, or others, organizations can tap into AI’s extensive knowledge base to suggest ideas like new product features or market trends that can be a starting point for brainstorming.   “We’re constantly trying to think about new opportunities and innovations for strategy,” Dr. Bock says. “Now, unlike before, we have this tool available to us that is extensively proven.” You can use AI for a starting point of ideas that are interesting, provocative, and maybe strategic opportunities you’ve not considered in the past.  “It strikes me as a very interesting way to take the box that we use for thinking and move it over a little bit,” Dr. Bock says. 

Challenges with AI as a Business Tool 

AI must be viewed as both an opportunity but also a concern. It’s a complex tool that will require clear policies for use and adaptation. Currently, many companies lack a set of clear policies around AI.  Public disclosures, social media postings, and even internal discussions are areas that demand careful consideration to balance the advantages of AI with the need for confidentiality. Dr. Bock urges organizations to develop guidelines around “offensive” (use) and “defensive” (feeding) aspects of AI.  On the offensive side, your organization needs to consider: 

  • How to provide licensed access with guidance on confidentiality and security 
  • What employees should use AI for (idea generation, trend analysis, social media, etc.) 

On the defensive side, you need to consider: 

  • How to control public disclosure of events and intentions 
  • What you say in public reports 
  • How to ensure employees are not sharing private data or secure information  

AI is a transformative force reshaping how we approach business strategy. AI can offer a dynamic edge in an era of constant change and increasing competition. The time to embrace AI as a strategic ally is now.  

“Business will distinguish themselves by how well they use AI. Some organizations are going to use it well. Some organizations are going to use it poorly.” – Dr. Adam J. Bock

Is your organization ready to embrace the transformative potential of AI, but unsure where to start? Our AI coaching sessions empower your team to navigate the uncertain terrain of AI, ensuring you harness its potential while mitigating concerns. Only three AI coaching sessions are available so act now and align AI with your business model and strategy.  

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