In the wake of our highly successful Three Things Summit, ‘AI at Work: From Myths to Masterclasses’, we’re sharing the very best insights and advice from our esteemed speakers and panellists. This event surpassed all our expectations and would not have been possible without the enduring generosity of one of our most committed Volunteer Advisors, Claudia Harris OBE.

Not only did Claudia captivate our audience with her fascinating keynote address, she also graciously hosted us at the Makers Academy offices, which provided the perfect environment for our enriching summit. We’d like to begin this article by thanking Claudia and the team at Makers for their astounding support, and for making us feel so welcome.

Makers Academy is an incredibly innovative organisation renowned for transforming non-tech professionals into skilled software engineers through intensive, 16-week courses. It was the first coding bootcamp of its kind in Europe, but now, Makers has expanded its vision to accommodate the arrival and accessibility of Generative AI through a brand-new programme, soon to be made available to the public.

Designed to equip professionals with the skills to seamlessly integrate AI into their work, and to continue doing so as it evolves, Makers’ Centaurs programme enhances participants’ learning quotient (LQ), a quality they believe will be crucial to success as the age of AI dawns.

claudia harris

Claudia Harris‘ CV Highlights //

2020-Present // CEO – Makers

2015-2020 // CEO – The Careers and Enterprise Company

2003-2015 // Partner – McKinsey & Company

2005-2006 // Health Team Member – Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit

The Impact of AI

“We think that the most important impact of AI will be on human transformation”, Claudia began her keynote, “and, in particular, that transformation at work.” She added that many people believe that transformation will entail a replacement of humans, and therefore lost jobs, but Makers disagree.

“We have an optimistic view of this aspect”, Claudia explained, “because of something called the Jevons Paradox.” Jevons was an English economist and logician in the nineteenth century, who observed and documented a counterintuitive economic phenomenon.

As technological advances increase the efficiency with which a resource is used, it is logical to assume that total usage of that resource should decline. Jevons, however, realised that increased efficiency reduces cost, which could, in some cases, lead to an increase in demand that outweighs the gains in efficiency.

“An example Jevons gave was the typewriter”, offered Claudia. “He explained that when the typewriter was introduced, the demand for clerking didn’t go down, it went up because people’s expectation of what clerical work could deliver increased.”

The same could be said for Microsoft Excel and accountancy, she continued. When Excel became available, it didn’t replace accountants, but rather accelerated and facilitated their work. The ambitions people had for what accountancy could deliver therefore increased, and demand for the service grew. Today, Makers believe that history will repeat itself once more as we enter a new, AI-enabled generation.

The bottom line is that Generative AI is a technological advancement of generational proportions, capable of transforming life as we know it. We stand once more on the precipice of a new age, and as Claudia pointed out, “The people who could write really fast did not thrive in the age of the typewriter. Those who can master the typewriter, they are the ones who win.”

If you want to know more about the likely impact of AI on the world of work, Claudia referenced the work of the vastly experienced analyst, consultant, and venture capitalist, Benedict Evans. You can read his article, ‘AI and the Automation of Work’, here.

Learning Quotient and the Centaur Economy

So how do we master Generative AI and the tools it can offer us? How do we make sure that we can continuously adopt new AI-enabled processes as they are created? The answer, Claudia revealed, is to develop our ability to learn.

“Learning quotient might become the most important form of human intelligence because learning is what will set the parameters of growth in many organisations”, she explained. “At Makers, we’re now interested in helping people from every single industry go through the transformation we think will be pivotal for their success, into what we’re describing as Centaurs.”

Makers’ Centaur concept is inspired by the half-human, half-computer variant of chess that arose after former World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov’s matches against IBM’s supercomputer, Deep Blue. Centaur chess demonstrates that a marriage between artificial and human intelligence is infinitely more powerful than either on its own. Makers’ belief is that those who can work in tandem with AI will outperform those who cannot, and learning quotient will dictate which category each of us falls into.

“Old capabilities will be leapfrogged and the experts of today might find themselves disadvantaged by an unwillingness to shed their old ways of doing things”, Claudia asserted. “LQ is all about how you deal with problems, ambiguity, things you have to learn. But it can be taught, it can be learnt, and it’s going to be absolutely essential to every worker in the new economy.”

The importance of LQ is down to the alarming pace that Generative AI is expected to move. It already feels like new tools and capabilities are made available to the public almost daily, but Claudia insists that the major shifts are yet to come. “Companies across the world are running experiments and working out how much risk they can take”, she shared. “Once a few of those companies go live with completely transformed ways of doing things, everyone is going to need to follow, and follow fast.”

To thrive in this new economy, Claudia urges individuals and businesses to invest in developing their LQ. This involves cultivating a mindset that values continuous learning, experimentation, and the ability to pivot when necessary. It’s about fostering an environment where learning from failure is as important as celebrating success, and where keeping pace with technological advancements is a collective responsibility.

“Organisations are going to struggle to figure out what’s going on across the different tool sets and translate that into learning programs to disseminate it to their teams. They will not be able to move fast enough to keep up, so the onus will be on their people to learn quickly”, she revealed. “The way you do that is to encourage them to solve problems on their own, which is what we do at Makers. That can be very uncomfortable for people, to have a coach who keeps saying, ‘try again’, but that’s what it’s like in the real world, and that’s how you build LQ.”

Mastering the Typewriter – Makers’ Centaur Programme

Makers’ Centaur Programme is a unique initiative aimed at revolutionising the way desk-based professionals work by implementing Generative AI tools. “We begin by looking at what you are doing within a day”, Claudia shared, “and then examine how we can use AI to improve your productivity.”

Key to this process is a critical mindset: “We look at where you could save five to ten hours out of your week. What are the repetitive tasks? Which activities don’t give you energy? And then we automate them with AI.” But the goal here isn’t just to eliminate mundane tasks; it’s to reimagine how work can be done more efficiently so that more time can be spent on the things that matter.

Claudia continued to clarify that this is only the first part of the programme, however. “Compressing your work to deliver the same outcomes is one thing, but with AI, you’re also able to deliver outputs that perhaps you hadn’t felt confident with before.”

And that’s down to the fact that AI offers brand-new ways of working that are often more intuitive than traditional solutions. Tasks that may have been too technical for some in the past, for example, can be approached from an entirely new angle so that they can be completed without delegation or outsourcing. This significantly reduces organisational complexity and expenditure, particularly if participants share their learnings with their colleagues.

In summary, the Centaur Programme represents a significant step towards a future where AI is seamlessly integrated into our work lives, not as a replacement, but as a powerful ally that enhances our capabilities, efficiency, and confidence. If you would like to know more about the programme, contact us at support@alltogether.company today to be put in touch with the Makers team.

Claudia’s Three Things

To round off her keynote and Ask an Expert podcast appearance, Claudia offered her Three Things – three pieces of actionable advice you can implement today to make sure you’re ready for what comes next in the age of AI:

number 1

Form the Right Habits

“Even if you feel like AI is not necessarily driving the 10% gain you would hope to see, right now”, Claudia explained, “you must form the right habits in yourself and your organisation. Make sure everybody is using AI, trying to compress their workflows and find ways of making their world at work better. Doing that now, before AI has really taken flight, means that when it does, it will not overwhelm yourself, your staff, and your business.”

number 2

Build Your Network

“You can’t read about AI and what it’s doing in textbooks”, claimed Claudia. “It’s being invented, live, in a million workplaces, and so every leader is now a learner. Go and find peers you can learn with to build your understanding and boost your organisational resilience.”

number 3

Lead from the Front

“I used to do a lot of transformation work at McKinsey and the best CEOs, if it’s for the front line, go through it themselves”, Claudia recalled. “That’s the best way to role model something and the only way you know what you’re trying. You check whatever it is that you want to deliver for your organisation to see if it’s worth it.”

By following these guidelines, Claudia believes that businesses and professionals can adapt to an AI-centric world and perform to unprecedented levels. Her insights offer a roadmap for embracing the transformative potential of AI, ensuring that we are not left behind but are surging forward, harnessing the immense capabilities of this emerging technology.

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We’d like to express our greatest gratitude once more to Claudia and her team at Makers. Her insights and advice, and their heart-warming hospitality have been such a great help to us and our community. For a more comprehensive exposition of her thoughts on AI, LQ, and what the future holds, tune in to our recent Ask an Expert podcast episode with Claudia now on Spotify, Apple, and other major platforms.

If you would like to join us at our next Three Things Summit, sign up to All Together today, where you can also access up to 5 hours of pro bono mentoring from a leading CEO, every year.