Why focus on Artificial Intelligence?

What about regular, common-sense, average Intelligence?

The world is abuzz with speculation about the coming effects of Artificial Intelligence. Will robots take over the world? Will my coffee machine figure out the right ratio of coffee to water? Will my car drive itself (okay, that one’s already here)? Will my stove shutoff before burning my dinner? Will my telephone automatically screen my robocalls?

We do need to think about that. But sometimes I think we get so excited about future developments that we forget we live in the present and would be wise to step back and determine what regular intelligent things we should be doing today, to prepare for the future when it undoubtedly will arrive.

There are many memes on LinkedIn and Facebook, so this may be repetition, but, well, here we go.

We don’t want to train people for fear they will leave. Then complain that we are stuck with them.

We hire smart people and then tell them what to do, then wonder why nothing changes.

We work hard for a small improvement and we ignore the solutions that generate large improvements.

We try to react faster to the problems we have rather than trying to find out why we have problems.

We encourage teamwork and collaboration, then maintain the same old practices that prevent it.

We need people to take initiative to solve problems, but we give them no authority or encouragement.

When faced with difficult financials, a company’s first cutback is money for teaching new solutions.

Really? They sound insane when you speak them out loud.

I think the problem is not that we don’t know these things. I think the problem is that we do know these things, but that we don’t know how to behave differently to get them fixed. Knowing the solution is one thing. Embracing what is needed so that you can execute the solution is quite another. Having the support and the financial backing, is also important.

One thing I’ve noticed is that when I have more time, I use it to think about how I might do things differently. But when I’m short of time, I do what I always have, because it comes naturally. How many times have you observed a problem in action, but ignored it because you were too busy? Me too. Perhaps if we expected our employees to learn and reflect for 3-5 hours per week and work the rest of the time instead of expecting them to work 50-60 hours per week and learn the rest of the time; things just might be better.

John Melbye, Supply Chain Educator

Become Demand Driven

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