The client—a producer and curator of case studies, videos and other business content—recognized that corporate needs for business content were changing. They sought to identify new opportunities in the market that could leverage their unique strength. They asked the following question:
How might we better meet the priorities of corporations by leveraging our unique knowledge base?
The company wanted to find a way to meet the demand for companies seeking leadership development programs. They wanted to ensure these programs support the specific needs of rising leaders and allow them to effectively shape the next generation of leaders. US companies alone spend almost $14 billion annually on leadership development. One of the areas proven to be very effective in developing leaders was executive coaching.
Second, the publishing company sought to scale executive coaching using their knowledge base and current technology to offer executive coaching throughout corporate ranks. Many companies provide senior executives with access to this resource, but do not do the same for rising leaders. Too many training initiatives are one-size-fits-all using the same group of skills or style of leadership regardless of strategy or organizational culture. They asked:
How might we scale coaching using current technology?
We assembled a multi-disciplinary team. The team included senior executives and leaders with experience in research, IT, executive coaching, education content and leadership development. These subject matter experts were involved from the discovery phase through the development and execution of the project. The team clarified the key challenges and opportunities for the company. It also identified resources for information, conducting research and sharing information in real time. We used a combination of collaborative tools to close information gaps and bring everyone’s knowledge on to a level playing ground. Then, we held team brainstorming sessions to identify possible solutions. We then converged around the most promising to test with rising leaders.
Preliminary research and interviews with C-Suite executives regarding their experience with leadership development, led to the development of an adaptive artificial intelligence (AI) leadership coach prototype. Different leaders from rising industries tested the prototype. Then they participated in interviews which guided the AI design team to incorporate their thoughts and comments, including features previously missing from the AI program.
The fast-paced, iterative process led to some great insights for the client. It also generated ideas on how they could leverage their reputation and expertise into the next decade. The client will shift from focusing on delivering content to creating learning experiences that change how people practice their work-life and on-the-job behavior using AI-driven coaching.