The Opportunity of AI: Four Principles for the Region

Tom Davenport, 4-year anniversary

Paul Stillmank, 4-year anniversary

For our 4-year Anniversary, we invited national bestselling author on AI, Tom Davenport, and local successful entrepreneur, Paul Stillmank, to share their perspectives on accelerating AI adoption. For as hyped as AI is, the true impact is likely to be even greater.     

We convened educational, government, and business leaders to learn how we prepare both our organizations and our people for the transition ahead. Our speakers encouraged SE Wisconsin to go All in on AI. Combining lessons from our speakers and the MKE Tech Hub Coalition, we offer the following insights:

1. Leverage Data to Inform Action: Tom’s presentation showed the outcomes of a survey of non-tech companies on their adoption of AI which we replicated with our audience. 53% of our audience self-categorized themselves as “starters” (1-3 applications with limited impact). This compared to 27% of the national survey participants who self-assessed as starters. This suggests the need for urgency to advance investment in AI to maintain national and global competitiveness.

2. Focus on Use Cases and Impact: Tom and Paul both highlighted use cases that can have fast returns. Tools, such as ChatGPT and Salesforce Einstein, can expedite impact. However, it is the clarity of purpose, a culture of innovation, an openness to learn new skills, and a strong governance system that will create long-term differentiation.

3. Invest in Talent: AI will be a digital skill of the future. The MKE Tech Hub Coalition has been helping our talent prepare for AI for several years including our FUSE collegiate program on AI/data, to data analyst apprenticeships, and AI upskilling.

4. Collaborate to Create Scale: Educational institutions, universities, nonprofits, corporations, government are all critical participants in preparing the workforce for this critical transition. Collaboration between these entities will enable even greater impact.  For example, the Higher Educational Regional Alliance, MKE Tech Hub Coalition and our representative employers are collaborating to define future AI skill requirements so that these can be integrated in future curricula.

Applying these four principles to building regional assets to expedite AI adoption will enable us to solve critical problems in the areas of energy-water resiliency, bioheath, manufacturing and other industries.

— Kathy Henrich, CEO, MKE Tech Hub Coalition

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