What we learned at our Leadership Summit: Technology & Tomorrow’s Leadership

6.9.21 / 6 min read

Thank you so much to everyone who attended our Signal AI Leadership Summit 2021: Technology & Tomorrow’s Leadership, and also to our partners in this and previous Summits, MBS Group and Tortoise Media.

We heard fascinating insights from some of the leading voices in technology around the future of work, in what ways  tech is changing industries, how leaders can make more informed decisions, and how technological adoption across multiple spheres continues to shape our world.

Making informed decisions

This was our second summit of 2021 so far, and it was also the beginning of a very exciting chapter for Signal AI. We launched our first of an annual report on the State of Business Decision Making, the results of which are based on a survey we conducted with 1000 c-suite business leaders from the US. We asked about decision making within their business, the biggest blockers to the decision-making process, and how technology and AI can be applied to improve its results.

The findings are fascinating and show us that the process supporting business decision making is in dire need of transformation.

  • Over 85% of leaders prioritize reputation over margin when they’re making business decisions.
  • Almost all leaders surveyed are looking for a new decision making process and think that technology is the solution for this – 96% think technology solutions can help you make decisions differently and result in better outcomes.
  • Most leaders feel they have too much data when it comes to decision making – 80% of leaders feel they have too much data to weigh up when making decisions.

This also marked the next steps for us as a company to use AI to help transform how business decisions are made. Signal AI was built on a premise of making sense of the world’s information, building on our vision to transform business decision making.

We are announcing  our commitment to building a decision augmentation solution.  A decision augmentation solution for the future. Our decision augmentation solution comes to understand what matters, sifts through the world’s deluge of information and delivers knowledge for informed and confident decision making.

The Future of Work: Maximizing human potential through technology

Our first keynote speaker, Dr Vivienne Ming, Co-Founder & CEO of Socos Labs, is one of the tech world’s most inspiring and exciting thinkers and doers, a pioneer in harnessing the power of technologies like AI and big data to fully realize our potential. Her mission in life is to make better humans using tech and her keynote left us all inspired by the possibility of how technology can very much indeed make us better humans.

Voted “10 Women to Watch in Tech” by Inc Magazine, Vivienne shared her insights around how the idea of artificial intelligence may be some way off, but that we are truly in an era of augmenting things in our life by applying technology. She said: “There truly are jobs that should be automated – people shouldn’t have to spend hours bent over in a field to pick lettuce for us to eat. But there’s a huge opportunity to augment our creative industries.” Vivienne spoke with great candour about applying AI to better understand and tackle her son’s diabetes, and how she augmented her own intelligence by making sense of the data. She talked about her work with refugees, using AI to help reunite displaced orphans with their extended families through making sense of an overwhelming number of identification photos.  Dr Ming concluded that by investing in augmented intelligence in the right way, businesses are investing in making people better.

Technology Strikes: The crossroads of technology, politics, culture and media

In our second keynote of the day, President & CEO of The Emmy Awards Adam Sharp discussed how technology is reshaping industries and the way businesses make decisions. The former Head of News, Government, & Elections at Twitter has been called ‘the human embodiment of Twitter’ by The New York Times. Adam spoke about the crossover of the political, technological and social worlds and how he had seen first hand the power of data to show the true meaning behind people’s feelings and intentions – particularly around polling data during elections.

Leaning on his experiences at Twitter, Adam gave his insight into the importance of authenticity, saying, “It’s not knowledge, it’s authenticity that matters.”

Adam ended his keynote on the point that what we have previously measured in all walks of life is the transaction, instead of accounting for the ‘human’ involved. He spoke compellingly about bringing humanity back into our measurement and how we can capture that “warm data”.

Panel: Technology for Leaders: Decision Making 2.0

I was lucky enough to join a stellar lineup for our panel discussion on technology for leaders, where we discussed how decision makers can harness the power of technology to make the big calls for their organization with confidence.

Moderating the panel, Dutch economist Alexandra Mousavizadeh, Director at Tortoise Intelligence and Founder of The Global AI Index, highlighted how business leaders potentially struggle with understanding the edges of how much they’re able to do. Di Mayze, Global Head of Data and AI at WPP, reflected that business leaders often also struggle to know where to begin and where to invest. Di gave her insight into how data can often make businesses protective instead of collaborative, and on the importance of collaboration to ensure data could be used effectively to inform decision making.

Chief Digital and Data Officer at Marks & Spencer, Jeremy Pee, agreeing with the sentiment around collaboration, then spoke about the importance of culture and talent to ensure you achieve the right results. Not only is trust important in a brand, he said, but “you need a culture where you define great as the outcome that you want.”

I outlined some of the more exciting projects we are working on that demonstrate the power of augmenting intelligence, such as helping businesses understand the impact of store closures on their reputation. Highlighting the findings of our The State of Decision Making report, we discussed how the emphasis should be not on how AI is going to automate or replace jobs, but how we can harness the world’s data to augment how decisions are made effectively.

Building on this idea of trust, we discussed our work on building a trust score with EY, where they are able to give their clients a better understanding of the areas they are trusted in. Di continued this point, arguing that trust is the major driver of market capitalization in 2021 and highlighting the need to apply data and decision augmentation solutions to better understand how trusted an organization is.

A pivotal opportunity to augment decisions

This, our third Signal AI Leadership Summit, really highlighted some of the key issues facing business leaders today. We convene these leadership Summits to take a litmus of the leading thinking going on in the world around technology and leadership, and bring together a diverse group of those pioneers in their fields, and hopefully provide a platform for the exchanging of progressive ideas.

I hope all who attended or watched this back are able to gain some insight and understanding into how to adopt and apply these technologies in order to make more informed decisions.

We continuously hear how the world is going through an unprecedented moment of disruption, change and uncertainty. But in this pivotal period of history, companies and their executives are in a vital leadership role. In these times, how can business leaders make the best decisions and grapple these issues with confidence, clarity and resolve. But my key takeaway from this summit, if nothing else, was that the opportunities to harness the power within data, and use it to augment decision making and specialist intelligence in businesses, are enormous.