From apprehension to action

Developing an AI manifesto to lead your business into an AI-powered future

The first step towards AI transformation

The dawn of digital darwinism

Artificial intelligence (AI) promises unprecedented opportunities, yet also poses existential threats for companies unable to adapt. Recent research shows that willingness to adopt AI could determine future success more than any technology to date – potentially spurring a new wave of Digital Darwinism. Many iconic brands from Blockbuster, Kodak to Sears have witnessed the perils of missing technology shifts. Now AI is poised to exponentially widen the divide between digital leaders and analogue laggards, still hampered by apprehension driving hesitancy around its adoption among senior business leaders.

Late last year, the European Parliament finally came to a historic agreement about governing AI, social media and search engines – setting a vital framework for regulating a technology that has largely been viewed as a threat to safety, democracy and human rights. The question remains whether this agreement paves the path to a global gold standard for AI governance and provides enough assurances for business executives to readily embrace this revered and feared technology. But in the absence of unified global regulations, it is up to individual businesses to set their own governance standards for ethical and responsible AI adoption. 

The power of developing an AI manifesto

A manifesto is a public declaration of principles, policies and intentions. For businesses looking to adopt AI, the manifesto can play a critical part in engendering trust, transparency and strategic vision to guide the development and usage of AI technology in a responsible, ethical and beneficial manner.

A company’s AI manifesto should clearly outline a set of guiding principles and core beliefs that shape the perceived role of AI in business operations and growth strategies. This includes making a commitment to the ethical and fair use of AI technology, supported by practical frameworks with oversight procedures that ensure such principles stay true even as AI capabilities rapidly advance. 

The manifesto should further link AI adoption to wider corporate values and societal benefits through a strategic vision that sets guardrails reinforcing transparency, accountability and human-centred design while enabling innovation. By bringing discipline and foresight to the AI frontier in a codified form, a manifesto provides a roadmap for integrating artificial intelligence in a way aligned with organisational values and priorities for responsible progress.

Overcoming apprehension through principled progress

Despite AI’s promise, many organisational leaders remain apprehensive about liability, reputation, job losses, lack of skills and other concerns. In a recent study of 300 UK business decision makers at C-suite level at the helm of organisations with over 100+ employees, 84% confirmed that their organisation needed more help setting up their AI strategy, and 83% confirmed that a significant barrier to AI adoption was linking this to a business strategy (PA Consulting, 2024). This fear, uncertainty and doubt breeds hesitancy that could leave laggard companies behind. Fundamentally, executives need reassurance that AI can be pursued judiciously before committing resources. 

This is precisely what a well-constructed, principles-based AI manifesto provides both internally to employees and externally to regulators and consumers. Internally, an AI manifesto gives executives confidence that intentional governance is possible. Employees also respond well to corporate self-regulation based on stated values over restrictive edicts. Certainty enables action. Externally, a public commitment to ethical AI development reassures societal stakeholders that intentions and safeguards are in place. This builds vital public trust. Progressive regulators also tend to be more lenient with companies demonstrating diligent self-governance.

In effect, a manifesto lets businesses have their cake and eat it too – allowing AI innovation to accelerate while ensuring human values remain undiluted. We call this a philosophy of Human Centred AI.

The first step towards AI transformation

Ultimately, AI adoption depends on senior executive buy-in. The AI transformation is inevitable, with AI projected to contribute over $15 trillion to the global economy in just ten years. Here a manifesto, as a vision-setting mechanism for aligning human intelligence with artificial intelligence, can be hugely galvanising. By clearly communicating purpose, principles, parameters and strategic need, an AI manifesto can convince sceptical C-suite leaders to lean into enterprise transformation.

Through resolve, foresight and collective belief distilled via an ethically grounded manifesto, companies can ride this new transformation wave of change instead of being inundated by it. Savvy executives will convene their leadership teams immediately to begin drafting an AI manifesto suited to their specific corporate values, business objectives and sensitivities. This first step will drive strategy, unify stakeholders and unleash innovation potential with transparency and responsibility. Ultimately, a manifesto provides the guiding beacon all organisations need to adopt AI both enthusiastically and ethically to its fullest potential. 

An AI manifesto for the AI-powered “Intelligent Enterprise” should prioritise ethical and responsible use of AI, with a focus on the needs of people, transparency and explainability, continuous learning and improvement, collaboration, responsible data management, and impact assessment. 

AI manifesto for the intelligent enterprise

An AI-powered manifesto should emphasise ethical adoption that elevates both shareholder and societal value. Core focus areas should include transparent and explainable AI, continuous oversight for risk mitigation, inclusive collaboration between AI and human talent, responsible data usage and regular impact assessments.

By embedding these principles, business leaders can pioneer the frontier of Intelligent Enterprises in a sustainable manner. This entails becoming an “AI-first” organisation that uses manifestation as a blueprint for embedding AI with accountability. The outcomes are manifold: upgraded competitive advantage, uplifted workforces, reframed markets and unlocked abundance that lifts all boats. To shift and adapt, businesses must become: 

  1. Become an “AI first” organisation: embed AI into your purpose and vision
  2. Adopt an “AI-everywhere” premise: embed AI into every change, transformation and innovation programme
  3. Augment every “touch-point” with AI: explore and implement new use cases for AI across the business 
  4. Increase your organisations AI IQ: Foster a culture of innovation and learning, and invest in the education and training of your employees
  5. Create high-performing AI augmented teams: remove “artificial” from AI so that your teams effectively use AI enablers and tools
  6. Build a diverse and inclusive AI teams: partner with organisations that promote diversity and inclusion in AI
  7. Promote Ethical AI: use data responsibly, and ensure that your AI systems are transparent, explainable, bias-free and fair
  8. Embrace progressive innovation in AI: regularly assess the impact of your AI initiatives and make continuous adjustments as needed to ensure that they align with your purpose, values and goals.

By adopting this AI manifesto, senior business leaders can ensure that their organisations are at the forefront of the Intelligent Enterprise transformation, using AI to create value for their customers, employees, and society while prioritising ethical and responsible use of the technology. This will not only benefit their bottom line (and shareholder value) but also help create a better future for all. 

Alwin Magimay
Alwin Magimay

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