I attended IBM’s Think: Unlocking the Power of AI in Boston in May, it was brilliant. Being in the fortunate position of attending – never mind speaking at a global conference is never lost on me. It feels like I can act as a useful conduit for the diversity of thinking that occurs when thought leaders, innovators and experts from around the world come together to explore the latest trends and innovations in digital transformation. It is crucial that government technology stays at the forefront of best practices and innovation if we are truly shifting the paradigm to digital first.

I wanted to share with you my five key takeaways from IBM Think and I hope they are helpful in furthering your own thinking in unlocking the power of AI. 

Takeaway #1: A Human-Centred approach leads to Outcome-Driven Solutions

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype and I think we all have an element of excitement and anticipation when technology is advancing at breakneck speed. In my view, the most important thing that we can never lose sight of is the people.


By putting people at the heart of our AI solutions, we can create outcomes that truly make a difference in their lives. Gone are the days of technology for technology’s sake. Today, we need AI that tackles the pressing societal challenges we face and drives meaningful results that improve people’s lives. 



Takeaway #2: Fostering a Culture of Innovation Leads to Greater Services for Colleagues and Citizens

Next for me – culture. in the face of rapid technological advancements, we must cultivate a culture that encourages creativity, experimentation, and risk-taking. 

In my view, this comes down to empowerment, which can often be difficult to instil in an organisation with strong governance and funded by the public purse. Regardless of being an organisation in the machinery of government,  empowering employees to think outside the box and championing the voice of our stakeholders, we can drive growth, strengthen AI applications, and foster a culture of creativity and collaboration.

As Henry Ford so famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This quote highlights the importance of thinking beyond incremental progress and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. 

Takeaway #3: Effective Governance Enables AI’s True Power

As we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with AI, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of innovation. Effective governance helps us keep our focus on what’s important: the responsible and efficient utilisation of our AI capabilities to drive human-centred solutions. As one speaker so aptly put it, “Doing things right, ensuring we move quickly but safely” requires us to implement proper AI governance.

Governance is essential for unlocking AI’s full potential and for helping us align our high-impact projects with our core objectives and values. Robust governance also builds trust and acceptance AI technologies, ultimately leading to increased adoption and usage. Effective governance is not just about checks and balances; it’s about promoting transparency, accountability, and fairness in AI development and deployment. By establishing clear guidelines and protocols, we can ensure that AI solutions are transparent, explainable, and fair. This means minimising inherent biases and promoting equitable outcomes that benefit all.

Takeaway #4: Streamlining Processes for Maximum Efficiency

Having efficient processes can unlock success. By utilising AI to automate repetitive tasks, we can empower our colleagues to focus on what really matters – serving our citizens.  Employing comprehensive process maps is essential to guiding us on how to improve our efforts. By mapping out our processes, we can identify areas for optimisation, reduce errors, and streamline operations. This, in turn, leads to heightened performance levels and superior user experiences.

By prioritising a human-centred approach, fostering a culture of innovation, establishing effective governance, and streamlining processes, we can unlock the full potential of AI and deliver more accurate, efficient, and personalised experiences for our colleagues and citizens. 

Takeaway #5: Diversity of thinking is crucial for Digital Group’s success

Attending IBM Think has allowed me to make connections and apply best practices and future innovative thinking to our work here. It made me think how important that every single one of us seeks out knowledge and understanding from a range of sources on what the future can look like and our human-centred approach. So, my ask of you is to think about where next you might go to learn more about how we will help Digital Group toward our goals for the future.