Claire Ballew, Head of Strategy
May 21, 2024

The AI hype is real, but most are missing how it’s going to play out

Create custom AI colleagues to take on the work that most drains your team

Until now, we’ve largely thought about technology as something that can make employees more efficient or make products/services more attractive. Companies asked — what software can I give my people to increase their production and effectiveness? This is also the easiest and laziest way to think about AI. Giving people access to Copilot and ChatGPT may provide productivity gains, but it won’t result in the giant leaps that companies are hoping for. 

To be truly effective, you will need to uncover AI opportunities for your exact situation. There are likely no off the shelf AI tools that will magically net you 20% productivity gains. But the opportunity for these types of leaps are real and happening every day. AI has opened up entirely new possibilities for technology; No longer is it a tool for the worker; it is the tool and the worker.

Meet the AI colleague. 

The AI colleague is here

Instead of wrestling with the general question of “how to innovate my company using AI?”, focus your inquiry to the area of your business that is most ripe for AI: your workforce and operations. Ask yourself, “What part of their jobs would my people say that they would love for AI to handle?” 

Better yet, ask your people. 

Companies that are building AI colleagues are not wholesale replacing their people. They are actually empowering their people by enabling them to focus on what they love and are uniquely good at. Yes, these companies are making massive efficiency gains, but efficiency is only one side of the coin. 

We observe that employees that now have AI colleagues actually report being happier at work and having more loyalty to their companies than before AI. They are freed up to spend their time working on the things that they love, enjoy, and feel they add true value. Some have said that they will never work at an organization without a certain type of AI colleague ever again. 

The AI colleague nurses have been waiting for

We recently built an AI Colleague for a home healthcare company. Each start-of-care visit for a new patient requires 2-3 hours of documentation by the nurse, who is seeing as many as 3 first-time patients per week. The industry experiences high turnover rates among nurses, who report burnout, high-stress, and heavy workloads as the main reasons for leaving. Nurses didn’t get into the field to complete paperwork and file reports, they wanted to provide care; yet, most of their time was spent completing documentation tasks, often in the evenings at home. 

Our team created a first-of-its-kind AI Colleague for these nurses,  powered by LLM technology that references intake forms, the nurses notes, and insurance codes. The AI colleague is able to complete start-of-care documentation in less than 15 minutes — saving the nurse 2.5 hours each day. 

Read that last sentence again 👆– it’s astonishing.

This company did not replace employees with AI colleagues; they are using the colleagues to help nurses be more efficient. Nurses report being happier, more balanced, and able to spend time focusing on the parts of the job that they enjoy the most and the areas where they want to get better. 

The value to the business and its nurses has been so great that the home healthcare company is now spinning out the AI colleague technology as a company of its own to sell to other home healthcare providers. 

Your people know the best opportunities for AI 

The greatest immediate opportunity for AI within your business is to create purpose-fit AI colleagues that are designed for very specific contexts and to perform specific tasks with incredible speed, availability, accuracy, and personalization. 

The first step in identifying these opportunities is to get as close as possible to the people performing these tasks every day. Find out the most laborious, tedious, time-consuming parts of their jobs. The parts that they wish they could offload — the assistant that they would welcome, rather than be wary of. 

We find that, using this frame, employees are all too excited to be a part of designing the AI colleagues that will free them up. Consider this your first step to AI innovation: get your people to start thinking about the AI colleague that they would love to hire.