We recently had an interesting conversation about solution-led vs customer discovery-led AI projects with our friend Pete Townsend of Norio Ventures.
This was prompted by Pete reading through DELTA AI’s corporate deck in which we have included a number of real-life use cases, which he liked as he’s found there is an “unquenched thirst for detail on case studies”. We feel the use cases illustrate well what other companies in Financial Services are doing and demonstrate the types of things AI is good for. They are all either things that our partners do already or things that can be built with existing tools in the market.
However, the examples in our deck are only a small part of the huge number of solutions in the market. It feels like every other day someone publishes a new infographic with lots of logos on it, like this one from CB Insights:
There has been immense media hype around AI and, like with Blockchain, this has resulted in a multitude of c-suite executives keen to “do an AI project” without really knowing what problem they’d like to solve. It’s no surprise then that this has prompted a flurry of consultants that are pitching AI solutions to satisfy the c-suite’s interest, often without asking any questions about the firm’s business.
Our approach is different
We believe that AI provides some really effective solutions to everyday problems, often at a low cost and quick implementation. The media’s focus on the bigger topics like self-driving cars or artificial general intelligence means most people are not aware of some very narrow but very effective solutions out there and don’t really understand the potential of AI.
We can help educate and explain what AI is good for and what it isn’t good for. We could focus on a broader spectrum of technologies than AI, but the speed of change and innovation in the field and the breadth of solutions that are being developed make this a fascinating field to be in, and one that makes sense for us to focus on as a specialist firm.
So, whilst we use solutions in our marketing materials, we agree with Pete that it is a mistake to hard pitch them to clients. We prefer to follow a startup style customer discovery approach, where we can focus on understanding what problems our potential clients might have and see what (AI or non-AI) solutions we can come up with. If the best solution doesn’t involve AI, we’ll say so, and if it’s something we don’t know about well enough, we’ll happily provide an intro to someone else.
This is the same approach we have been following with Projecting, where we only take on projects for which we are confident we have the right resources and knowledge to do a good job.