Digital Agency

Conjure Circle Highlights: July 2023

Sam Hannah

July 24, 2023

Key takeaways from July’s Conjure Circle Breakfast: Exploring Digital in 2023 and Beyond.

In this Conjure Circle Breakfast, we were joined by industry leaders from a variety of companies. This month’s event saw us delve into what might be disrupting industries when digitising, what’s next for digital transformation, some of the success stories of digital implementations across companies, and a few other key issues.

Below, Sam, Bob, Rachel, and Christian from Conjure’s senior leadership team delve into their key takeaways from the conversations.

Sam’s Key Takeaways

AI reared its head yet again at Conjure Circle. One of the key highlights of the meeting was the collaboration between AI and human designers. Rather than replacing designers, AI acts as a powerful ally, augmenting their abilities. AI-powered tools can provide design suggestions, generate alternative versions, and even anticipate design trends, empowering designers to make informed decisions and push creative boundaries.

Concerns about AI-induced job displacement were candidly addressed. While AI can automate certain aspects of design, participants emphasised that human creativity and the ability to imbue designs with emotions and unique perspectives are irreplaceable. Instead of job loss, the industry is witnessing a shift in job roles, with designers transitioning into curators, overseeing AI-generated designs and adding the final touches to meet specific client requirements.

On the horizon, the group envisioned exciting possibilities such as AI-generated interactive designs, hyper-personalised marketing, and the fusion of AI with virtual and augmented reality. However, participants were cautious about ethical challenges, including data privacy, biassed algorithms, and the responsibility of designers to maintain creative integrity.

Bob’s Key Takeaways

We have two topics around industry disruptors and states of digital transformation and what I’m beginning to find key to key to our regular meetings is how organisations find their transformation programmes are being heavily challenged by these incredibly rapid developments in AI. So I was interested to find out more about the positioning and usage of AI in today’s multi-sector organisations. Knowing how easily we can connect to generative tools and engines from the opening of a browser to create both written and visual responses I wanted to see what our attendees thought about this, whilst keeping in mind an article I’d read on BBC some weeks ago on how government advisors were to be reminded only just a few weeks ago on usage policies in an update on 23 June, 2023.

One of our attendees from global management consultancy McKinsey & Company was able to most helpfully and clearly mention some key considerations and steps to using AI securely and privately within their organisation (and probably reflective of others):

— On data privacy and protection: Ensure that you have strong data privacy practices in place. This includes understanding the legal and regulatory requirements for data handling, implementing data encryption, and establishing access controls to limit who can access sensitive data.

— On robust data governance: Implement a comprehensive data governance framework to manage your AI-related data. This involves defining clear data ownership, data handling policies, and data retention guidelines. Regularly audit and monitor data access and usage to identify any potential security or privacy risks.

— On ethical AI development: Develop and deploy AI systems that adhere to ethical standards. Ensure that your AI algorithms and models are designed to avoid bias and discrimination. Conduct regular audits and evaluations of your AI systems to identify and mitigate any biases or unintended consequences.

— On secure infrastructure and systems: Implement robust security measures to protect your AI infrastructure and systems. This includes using strong authentication mechanisms, regularly patching and updating software, and monitoring for any suspicious activities or vulnerabilities. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication, network segmentation, and encryption for data in transit and at rest.

And I think the consideration to build into daily employee awareness and training is to educate your employees about AI security and privacy best practices. This includes raising awareness about the importance of data privacy, training employees on secure data handling practices, and promoting a culture of security and privacy within your organisation. Regularly provide updates and refresher training sessions to keep employees informed about the latest security and privacy measures.

It was a reminder of the myriad of opportunities and challenges on everything AI is bringing to our changing digital landscape, and why and what we need to do to adapt and adopt change in how we work.

Rachel’s Key Takeaways

My favourite sentiment of the morning, which will stick with me for years to come, was to let tech do the ordinary so that humans can focus on the extraordinary. While discussion and debate surrounding AI has been a common thread throughout the breakfasts of the last 6 months, this session explored the intersection of technology and humanity, with a focus on embracing human-centric approaches and considering the ethical implications of our digital advancements.

Efficient communication between humans and technology was highlighted as a crucial aspect of successful collaboration. We discussed the importance of bridging the gap between human empathy and technological capability through incorporating human language, emotions and context into the design of digital tools and interfaces. This approach enhances user experiences, improves productivity and creates intuitive technology that truly understands and serves human needs.

Amidst rapid and exciting technological advancements, we emphasised the need to avoid over-focusing on technology and neglecting human factors. By adopting a human-centric approach, we can ensure that technological progress aligns with the impact on human experiences, inclusivity and overall well-being. Striking a balance between technology and the human element is essential for meaningful and ethical innovation.

Ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI once again appeared as an interesting topic of discussion. We explored the morality of technology and the requirement for inclusivity and diversity within its creation, as striving for fairness, empathy and respect in technological advancements is a shared responsibility. The importance of avoiding biases and discriminatory practices in AI algorithms was widely agreed at the table as we discussed rigorous research and development that promotes fairness, transparency and inclusivity. Harnessing AI for positive behavioural change while mitigating potential pitfalls, such as coded bias, remains a critical challenge for the industry.

Interestingly, the discussion touched upon a potential return to authenticity and the human experience amidst our digitally driven society. The rekindled interest in analogue experiences, such as vinyl records and photography via film, indicates a longing for the tangible and tactile qualities they offer. This attraction prompts us to reassess what constitutes a rich human experience in the face of continuous technological innovation.

Seamless integration between physical and digital elements enhances user experiences, and by leveraging both hardware and software advancements, we can create intuitive and delightful user interfaces that optimise the interplay between the digital and physical realms.

Christian’s Key Takeaways

Hydrogen cars FTW! Are electric cars the new laser discs? Dead before it even began? George offered his opinion on the matter and asked about battery recycling, sourcing electricity, and viability when compared to hydrogen engines. I must say, I agree with Harvey’s points. There are so many questions regarding the lifespan of batteries and sustainability that the industry and market are refusing to be transparent on. Next time you’re in the pub with friends, maybe ask your mates where they stand on electric cars. Ask about where energy is being sourced and what happens to the battery. Consider the alternative which is hydrogen engines.

Dan from United Health made a striking point regarding product strategic decisions, particularly on market research. As a product manager, I am entirely sold on market studies and ongoing testing. This is an incredibly powerful tool to manage usability and value risks. Having said that, research can be applied in many different ways and massive, industry-shifting opportunities are sometimes lost when research is done on an ‘academic’ level. Our anecdote for this case is how Motorola seemingly lost the first-to-market opportunity of releasing a full-screen touch smartphone to Apple when their research concluded that no one would use a touch device.

It was another excellent breakfast and I made some new connections. It’s always invigorating to listen to experts from different fields and hear their insights on what’s happening in the area of innovation.

Closing statement

Thank you to all who attended this Conjure Circle event. The engagement, perspectives, and ideas you have brought to the table were incredible and helped make the breakfast a real success.

Conjure Circles will be taking a break in August, and we will be back with more breakfast discussions in September.