Shaping Innovation Strategy – Session Report

In February 2020, members of the Digital Leadership Forum met at Lloyds Banking Group in London to discuss Innovation: Identify, Shape, and Execute Your Strategy

Representatives from leading organisations including Dell Technologies, Lloyds Banking Group, BT, Clifford Chance, Barclays, LV=, Schroders, Coutts, AstraZeneca, Octopus Investments, Refinitiv, BDO, Hootsuite and many more discussed shaping innovation strategy within large organisation.

Strategy to Execution: The Missing Link with Henley Business School

Attendees first heard from Sharm Manwani, Executive Professor of IT Leadership at Henley Business School.

Sharm spoke about the common innovation barriers within large organisations:

  • Stakeholder Misalignment
  • Business Silos
  • Legacy Complexity

He then outlined the ways in which to overcome these road blocks in order to implement a successful innovation strategy within your organisation.

Innovation in one of the UK’s Oldest Banks with Barclays

We then heard from Gerwyn Jenkins, Director, Group Innovation Office at Barclays on innovation in one of the UK’s oldest banks. Jenkins spoke about Barclays’ Group Innovation Office and how bringing together all business units within Barclays can instil a mindset of continuous innovation throughout the organisation.

He also touched on how identifying new revenue and investment streams helps build next-generation products, services and platforms that shape the future of financial services for their customers and clients.

Innovation Challenges and Success Stories

Following on from this, attendees broke into smaller groups to discuss their challenges, success stories and learnings within the innovation field. Discussion topics included:

  • The processes and best practices supporting your innovation strategy
  • How to make experimental innovation more economical
  • Beneficial skill sets to lead in innovation
  • The challenges hindering innovation within organisations and how to overcome these
  • Using the threat of new disruptors to encourage innovation

The Importance of Continuous Learning with Lloyds Banking Group and AstraZeneca

Attendees then heard from Monica Carlesso, Head of New Business Exploration, Lloyds Banking Group, and Dr Bonnie Cheuk, Global Capability Leader – Learning Agility, AstraZeneca on ‘The importance of continuous learning for innovation’.

Bonnie Cheuk explained that in order to drive innovation within teams and organisations, you need to continue to both learn and unlearn. How can we do that? She touched on the importance of treating people as human beings. Listening to them, allowing an open dialogue, and ultimately understanding the flaws that come with being human is crucial to creating an innovative culture.

Monica Carlesso suggested that having an open mind is a key skill to possess. As a leader, you must enable innovation in a non-directive way and have trust in your team. Understanding that your role as a leader, is to enable innovation within your team, is a key skill as a leader in the field of innovation.

Nurturing an Innovative Culture at a Bank with Starling Bank

Finally we heard from digital challenger bank Starling Bank’s Chief Technology Advocate, Jason Maude on nurturing an innovative culture in banking.

Jason began by stating that innovation occurs when you create conditions that allow it to flourish, it is not just simply extractable. He then went on to explore the common obstacles when attempting to implement a culture of innovation:

  • Even the simplest change takes months to implement
  • It’s too risky or regulators won’t like it
  • We have a legacy code/technical debt

Watch Jason Maude’s presentation below for his solutions to these common innovation roadblocks.

Watch the presentations below:

Transforming Customer Experience Journeys – Session Report

In January 2020, members of the Digital Leadership Forum met at Barclays Rise in London to discuss Transforming Customer Experience Journeys.

Representatives from leading organisations including PwC, American Express, BT, Clifford Chance, LV=, EDF Energy, Coutts, Royal London, BDO, and many more discussed how customer journey mapping can increase brand advocacy, loyalty, conversion and revenue.

Key themes explored were employee experience as a success measure, AI and data strategy, CX transformation in finance, and branding and CX.

Attendees heard from PwC’s, Director of Customer & Commercial Excellence Mark Hill on Return on Experience as the new ROI and how improving both customer and employee experience can increase revenue.

We then heard from Steven Habbi, Head of Global Brand Design and Management, HSBC, and Akoni Hub’s CEO & Co-Founder, Felicia Meyerowitz Singh in a fireside chat on ‘Transforming CX in the finance sector’.

Attendees then broke up into discussion groups to discuss their success stories, challenges, and learnings surround customer experience.

We then heard from the ‘AI innovators’: Kristian Keep, VP Engineering, Decibel on ‘data readiness for AI and machine learning’; and Khal Harris, Digital Strategist, EMEA, Tealium on ‘AI to drive forward your data strategy’.

Finally we heard from a panel of experts on ‘how to apply AI and ML to improve customer experience’:

  • Grant Millar, Head of Digital, First Rate Exchange Services
  • Kristian Keep, VP Engineering, Decibel
  • Emma Smith, Consultant, Decibel
  • Khal Harris, Digital Strategist, EMEA, Tealium

Watch the presentations below:

Digital Marketing Trends 2020 – Session Report

In December 2019, members of the Digital Leadership Forum met at Schroders in London to discuss digital marketing trends for 2020.

Representatives from leading organisations including Pfizer, LV=, EDF Energy, Schroders, Octopus Investments, BDO, and many more discussed how they are preparing their digital marketing strategies for 2020.

Key topics included the role of employee advocacy within an organisation’s marketing plans and how to manage increased personalisation capabilities responsibly and effectively.

Attendees began the session by breaking into smaller groups to discuss their success stories, challenges, and learnings from 2019, as well as the digital trends that they are focusing on for 2020. Discussion topics included:

  • Content marketing and personalisation
  • Search and SEO
  • Data, analytics and measurements
  • Website customer journeys
  • The role of influencer marketing.

Attendees then heard presentations from companies working at the forefront of new digital marketing trends. Rebecca Allen, Chief Commercial Officer at Codec, explained how brands can tap into cultural networks that align with their values in order to engage new audiences.

We then heard from Dominique Elsey, Enterprise Marketing Specialist at Hootsuite who spoke about Hootsuite’s 5 Social Media Trends to Watch for 2020.

Finally, we sat down with Igor Volzhanin, CEO of Datasine to discuss how brands can use AI, psychology, and semantic content analysis to personalise the ways in which they communicate with their audiences, and the opportunities that increased personalisation may present marketers in the future.

Download the full report:

The Digital Workplace – Session Report

In November 2019, members of the Digital Leadership Forum met at Baker McKenzie in London to discuss how new digital workplace technologies and working styles can be successfully implemented within their organisations.

Representatives from leading organisations including GSK, BT, Dell Technologies, Slack, EDF Energy, Schroders, Octopus Investments, BDO, Zoom and many more discussed the varied challenges that they are facing, whether as legacy companies transitioning to a digital workplace or as digital-first workplaces.

Attendees heard presentations from Neil Usher, Chief Partnerships Officer at GoSpace, who highlighted the importance of the team-centric workplace, and from Amy Dicketts, Product Lead at Monzo Bank, who presented a case study which gave insight into what a digital workplace looks like in practice.

We were also joined by a panel of experts from Zoom, Slack, Artificial Solutions, Baker McKenzie, and Immerse, who discussed best practices and common challenges when introducing new digital technologies into the workplace.

Attendees then broke into smaller groups to discuss how to demonstrate the value of changes, how to identify which new technology is appropriate for your organisation, the evolving role of leaders in the digital workplace, new skills requirements and training, and how to create and design a digital workplace strategy.

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The Ethics of AI – Session Report

In October 2019 the Digital Leadership Forum held the second in our series of quarterly AI for Good events, supported by our Technology Partner Dell Technologies.

Representatives from leading organisations met at The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence session at Barclays Rise in Shoreditch to discuss the challenges of ethical AI, learn from academic and field experts, and work collectively towards developing professional best practices in a rapidly evolving technical and regulatory environment.

We heard from Dr Karina Vold, who challenged attendees to consider whether AI systems could be used to complement and extend our cognitive capabilities in more advanced and sophisticated ways than they are currently.

“What are the kinds of things that we can use AI for to offload some of the tasks that either we’re not good at, we’re just not built for, or that we just don’t like doing?”

Dr Brent Mittelstadt reviewed the current landscape of AI ethical frameworks, identifying four recurring principles that are common to biomedical ethics, and arguing that using biomedicine as a baseline is an inadequate solution for AI.

“The challenge – for businesses, for governments, for researchers – is that we have all these frameworks and depending on where you’re operating potentially more than one of them applies to you,”

Download the full report:

AI for Good

AI for Good – in partnership with Dell Technologies – is a programme of dedicated learning and development events which are designed to enable members of the Digital Leadership Forum to innovate with new AI technologies in a responsible way.

Leading your Organisation to Responsible AI – Session Report

In July 2019 the Digital Leadership Forum held the first in our series of quarterly AI for Good events, supported by our Technology Partner Dell Technologies.

As machines become better and smarter at making decisions, the question of how we ensure their ethical behaviour arises. This was one of the topics debated at the Digital Leadership Forum’s “Leading your organisation to responsible AI” event, hosted by Lloyds Banking Group in London on 19th July.

The session was the first instalment of a series of events, part of DLF’s newly created “AI for Good” initiative. The project, supported by Dell Technologies, aims to help organisations deploy ethical artificial intelligence (AI) in their products and operations. The event kicked off with a discussion of a “black box”, a traditional AI model – based on the idea that the more data-heavy and complex the system is, the more accurate the model is. However, this does not always work in practice and makes it more difficult to determine the outcome. For example, a bank might decline a mortgage application based on the AI model’s recommendation and then fail to explain to the consumer why this occurred.

Download the full report:

AI for Good

AI for Good – in partnership with Dell Technologies – is a programme of dedicated learning and development events which are designed to enable members of the Digital Leadership Forum to innovate with new AI technologies in a responsible way.

Building the Workforce of the Future – Session Report

As we continue to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) at the workplace, how do we ensure these technologies bring the most value for businesses, while protecting employees? This was the key concern for speakers at the Digital Leadership Forum event “Building the Workforce of the Future”, hosted by PwC in London on 17 May.

The workplace of the future

In addition to conventional macroeconomic factors and shifts in demographics and urbanisation, technological innovations continue to revolutionise the workplace. According to Jeremy Waite, Chief Customer Officer at IBM, 90% of the world’s data was created in the last 12 months. As this trend in growth continues, organisations will face challenges in handling such vast amounts of data and lack a proper understanding of AI to leverage the technology. Indeed, four out of five CTOs are feeling overwhelmed and unprepared for AI adoption, according to a recent IBM survey. For Waite, AI will facilitate decision-making for both businesses and customers, and C-Suite executives must jump on the moving bandwagon and harness the power of AI.

Alastair Woods, Partner at PwC, recommended that in order to survive in the new digital age, organisations must take the leap and embrace these changes. For example, leveraging cloud computing and automation can replace cost-heavy infrastructure and operation processes, previously incurring heavy burdens for new companies. This not only promotes new technologies but also enables faster and cheaper market entry for start-ups competing with tech giants In addition, employers should create a tech-savvy culture across all departments, invest in human skills, and create flexible work environments that appeal to a new generation of professionals.

The workforce of the future

Inevitably, this organisational transformation gives rise to new employee behaviours and expectations. Nine-to-five jobs continue to diminish in favour of part-time, freelance, and job-share positions. Employees now travel more, working multiple jobs and demanding “borderless” contracts. For Callum Adamson, CEO and Founder of Distributed, today’s workforce is the product of a shift in balance of power from employers to employees. In addition to traditional expectations of fair treatment, professional development, today’s workforce also demands pay transparency, diversity, equality, flexibility, wellbeing incentives, and social responsibility. As a result, companies are appealing to their staff by promoting emotionally aware cultures, where gratitude for quality work is expressed in the form of gifts, payments, or promotions relative to the standard produced.

These new dynamics will benefit from AI as it transforms human resources practices, employee engagement and internal comms. IBM’s Silvia Cambié presented IBM tools, such as tone analysers, bots and e-learning apps, as prime examples of technologies enhancing internal processes. The tone analyser, which examines sentiments of written communications, allows employees and customer service departments to understand, revise and tailor the tone of their responses. AI-power bots enable employees to ask anonymous questions to management when they would otherwise be reluctant to do so, such as performance evaluation, complaints, or even health-related queries. E-learning platforms offer “learning on demand” and tailoring courses based on individual objectives and previous selections. However, AI outcomes depend on the quality of data sets, removing bias and associated ethical risks. To tackle these challenges, Silvia Cambié advocated for diversity in the AI industry and recommended companies to demand user feedback to finetune systems and mitigate bias.

The role of government

As with any technology, industry best-practice and government policy must adapt to innovation. The final discussion of the day on the role of government and AI was moderated by Access Partnership’s Chief BD Officer Matthew McDermott. Increased understanding and trust in the use of AI technologies can be facilitated by adhering to the principles of fairness, accuracy, responsibility and explainability (trust and understandability of AI for consumers). Sound data innovation policy, cybersecurity and privacy protection, investment in research and development and skills training will be crucial to develop an AI-equipped workplace. These objectives can be achieved through collaborations between governments and industry, and multinationals and start-ups. Combining resources across the market will generate a greater pool of talent.

But, to ensure the sustainable evolution of the workplace of the future, policy-makers also need to implement policies protecting employees (healthcare, insurance, retirement benefits), as well as incentives for companies to invest in people and innovative technologies.

Ultimately, this forum confirmed the awesome impact of AI on lives and jobs, as well as the responsibilities of both public and private actors in enabling its adoption and leveraging it to respond to future challenges in the workforce.

Written by Ivan Ivanov, Marketing Manager at Access Partnership

Watch Jeremy Waite’s keynote speech below:

AI for Good

AI for Good – in partnership with Dell Technologies – is a programme of dedicated learning and development events which are designed to enable members of the Digital Leadership Forum to innovate with new AI technologies in a responsible way.