Insights

The hunt is on for the next littlest thing

14th November 2017

At Infinite Insight we work with organisations that are large and complex, or undertaking substantial digital change, or both! Here’s a snapshot of our thoughts on the source of innovation. 

It feels that 2013 was a long time ago, but that is when we first considered incorporating data science into standard business practice. That was a combination of the surfacing of academic research in AI combined with the powerful force that is the technologists search for the next big thing.

But now we’re mainstream, whether it’s our friends at Satalia reorganising how Tesco delivers to our homes or NotCo’s algorithms deciding how vegan mayo should taste. At least mainstream in the sense that sophisticated AI is in use, but we have to carefully dissect a service to see it’s there. 

Some of the more adventurous promises have yet to materialise. I can’t talk with a bot whom processes my mortgage. And my local authority still prefers that I send them completed forms. When I interact with one of my many digital devices the interface is still largely dumb. What’s going on? 

If you’ve worked in any organisation and attempted to make a significant change then you probably know. It’s really hard, even when rational and readily justifiable. If it requires assembling a crack team of data scientists and allocating supporting resources it gets more difficult. And if that output might be challenging and maybe risky then more difficult still. 

And then there’s skills. Google’s Machine Learning Advanced Solutions Lab is a move to the IBM model of tech plus people. They have to assist us in our ambitions when combined with their platforms. Otherwise the vision will always be just that. Investing in professional services highlights the lack of scalability in AI.

Here at II we believe that smaller organisations such as Satalia and NotCo will lead the way. The challenges in transitioning existing processes to AI may be too great – why not buy-in? That’s why we continuously scour the market, not for the next big thing, but for the next littlest thing.