Empowering AI To Serve Humanity: Outcome-Driven, Ethical Innovation

by | AI, Artificial Intelligence, Innovation, JTBD Framework

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the world around us. It is already permeating nearly every aspect of our lives, from self-driving cars to virtual assistants to healthcare. As the AI landscape continues to evolve, it is essential that businesses use it ethically. However, many companies are woefully behind in contending with the many consequential ethical risks of AI. The need for ethical innovation in AI-driven products and services has never been more urgent.

The Biden administration recently announced that seven leading AI firms agreed to independent testing and to release information about their AI products’ flaws and risks. Microsoft, Meta, Google and Amazon agreed, as did ChatGPT’s OpenAI. The agreement does not indicate who will audit the companies though, nor what will happen if they fail to uphold their pledges.

One powerful way that businesses can address this challenge and innovate with AI ethically is to leverage the Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) framework for outcome-driven innovation. The JTBD framework is a customer-centric approach to innovation that unlocks the keys to developing AI solutions with genuine human impact. It’s an approach to innovation that focuses on understanding the jobs that people are trying to get done. It asks the question: “Why do people buy products or services?”

Instead of focusing simply on the features and benefits of a product, JTBD focuses on the outcomes being sought. Jobs-to-be-done is best defined as a perspective—a vantage point through which we can observe markets, customers, needs, competitors, alternatives and customer segments differently, ultimately leading to more ethical and profitable innovation.

Outcomes-Driven Innovation: Building AI Solutions that Truly Matter

Imagine a company developing AI-powered customer service software. By employing JTBD, the company can delve into the core jobs that customers aim to achieve when reaching out to customer service. With this profound understanding, software can be fine-tuned to address customer issues efficiently and effectively – delivering a seamless experience.

The JTBD framework can also be used to identify and mitigate the potential ethical risks of AI. By understanding the jobs that people are trying to get done, businesses can identify potential uses of AI that could be harmful or unethical. For instance, a company developing AI-powered facial recognition software can employ JTBD to detect and prevent applications that might enable surveillance, discrimination, or other undesirable consequences.

Embracing JTBD enables businesses to innovate with AI confidently, ensuring that the products and services created genuinely serve customers’ needs. The result? Heightened customer satisfaction, and loyalty, and ultimately increased revenue.

Real-World Applications of JTBD-driven AI Innovation

Several leading companies have already harnessed the power of JTBD to revolutionize AI-driven products and services:

  • Amazon’s Personalized Product Recommendations: By understanding the specific jobs customers aim to achieve when shopping, Amazon leverages AI to deliver highly personalized product recommendations. Customers find more relevant and useful products, elevating the shopping experience.
  • Google’s Enhanced Search Accuracy: Google’s AI-driven algorithms utilize JTBD to decipher what users truly desire when searching for information. This approach results in more accurate and helpful search results, significantly improving user experience and satisfaction.
  • IBM’s AI Healthcare Solutions: The AI healthcare market is expected to grow 37% per year in the coming 10 years (to $187 billion in 2030). IBM embraces JTBD to comprehend patients’ and healthcare providers’ underlying jobs, which leads to the development of AI-powered healthcare solutions that enhance patient outcomes while reducing costs.

As AI continues to evolve, we can expect to see many more businesses and organizations employ innovative and ethical uses in the future.

Harnessing JTBD for Ethical AI Innovation: A Call to Action

To drive ethical innovation with AI using the JTBD framework, businesses must take specific steps:

  1. Understand the Customers’ Jobs. Start by understanding the jobs that people are trying to get done. Clayton Christenson famously said: “Discover what job consumers are hiring your product to do.” This can be done through customer interviews, surveys, focus groups as well as other ways. When you are engaging customers, ask them open-ended questions about the problems they are facing, the solutions they are looking for and how that job is being done today.
  2. Identify Key Desired Outcomes.  Once you have a good understanding of the jobs that people are trying to get done, start to identify what critical outcomes customers are trying to achieve when they use your product or service. These outcomes could be as varied as listening to music without commercials, managing money safely and efficiently without spending too much time in a bank branch or being able to find the best holiday deals to make an informed decision about where to travel next.
  3. Develop Outcome-Based, Customer-Centric Solutions. This means focusing on the jobs that people are trying to get done, not on the features and benefits of your product or service. Ensure that your AI innovations align with the outcomes that truly matter to your customers.
  4. Be Transparent and Accountable about AI.Let your customers know how their data is being collected and used. Transparency is essential to build trust with customers when using AI. AI-powered systems must provide clear explanations for their decisions, especially in critical sectors like finance, healthcare, and legal services. JTBD can guide businesses to prioritize transparency, making AI more accountable and understandable to end-users.
  5. Safeguard Customer Privacy. Data privacy is of paramount importance in the AI era. By adhering to JTBD principles, companies can build AI systems that prioritize customers’ desired data protection and security, ensuring information remains confidential, secure and protected from potential breaches.

Ethical innovation in AI-driven products and services is not just a business objective; it’s a moral duty and obligation.  The Jobs-to-be-Done framework empowers businesses to ethically innovate with AI, putting human needs and experiences at the forefront. By embracing JTBD, companies can lead the charge in the ethical AI revolution, ushering in a new era of AI that genuinely serves humanity.

With JTBD as a guiding force, businesses can create AI solutions that make a meaningful difference in customers’ lives, fostering trust, loyalty, and positive change for our technology-driven future.

View original post at Forbes.com, where David Henkin is a contributing writer


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David G. Henkin

I serve as an advisor to corporate and nonprofit leaders and their organizations in the areas of innovation, work design, business and technology, teams, and leadership. An expert in designing and implementing innovative business strategies and solutions improving performance, profitable possibilities, and developing organizational capabilities through a collaborative-growth approach. My most recent book is Fixing Work: A Tale about How to Design Jobs Employees Love. My work experience includes Chief Innovation Officer at Vertex (VERX), also serving as Executive Vice President. In addition, launching and leading their public cloud business and Managed Services and Outsourcing practice. I was a board member at Wheelhouse Analytics from startup through successful strategic acquisition, served as Chief Operating Officer at Coates Analytics also from startup through successful strategic acquisition. Prior to that I was a Corporate Officer and Principal at Vanguard.