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ON OUTPAINTING...


"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."


So said the great sage, Ferris Bueller, circa 80's.


Now that "once in a while" is a weekly, or daily job, dependent on what you or your organisation is currently working on.


Recently, I've been fascinated by these new outpainting capabilities in Generative AI, also known by other names, depending on product or tool.


You take an image and get the AI to zoom out, creating new perspectives, unleashing its imagination on you to stimulate new ideas and experiences.


Let's stretch that metaphor to the world of business models, and consider what GenAI capabilities are providing to stakeholders from all types of organisations to outpaint their current activities.


From corporates to startups to SMEs to entrepreneurs, from universities to research and training organisations (RTOs), and across a wide range of public and private institutions, the cost and time it takes to investigate, then execute new possibilities is dropping through the floor.


In the old days, circa '22, people might spin-up a Business Model Canvas, digital whiteboard, or plaster a room full of coloured stickies, gathering new ideas and trying to figure out how to expand capabilities, take on new markets, offer new services, and so on. These would be sugared with a ton of spreadsheets and presentations. Or they might have to spend a small fortune on a boutique management consultancy for a six month strategy definition exercise, and if they were lucky, it might still be relevant when it got delivered.


Now its different. It's like we've all been given an instant upgrade. You can go from Kármán Line-level assumptions to granular assessments in the time it takes to formulate your ChatGPT prompting strategy.


So what kinds of opportunities are up from grabs? From a business perspective it's a three-way street.


Consider Boards and other Executive stakeholders. This could also include VCs and various types of investors. Given the capabilities that organisations are now freely empowered with, they can reasonably expect updated (insightful) strategies developed by their management teams in a very short space of time. Call it three weeks max. Even for large corporations. The ability to model and simulate (regenerate!) helps to bypass a lot of inertia that previously could slow down the Board's ability to govern the organisation and make investment decisions. That €100k saving on the external strategy consulting tab saves taking a hit on the profits too.


Next up, the organisations themselves. Doesn't matter what the size is now. GenAI capabilities are flooding into teams at all levels. Gathering, analysing, testing and deploying is changing the game for all those curious enough to pioneer, or to follow. And the gap between the pioneers and followers can be weeks, depending on management culture.

The third angle are the employees, which most of us are. Job functions and employee roles have been the subject of much debate, in terms of how they will be impacted by GenAI, and there are as many sides to that as there are job functions.


Yet all of us have at our fingertips the ability to transform ourselves and the environments we interact with very easily. Current buzzwords such as GenAI and content creation can be barriers to understanding the opportunities we all have in front of us, but once you get hands-on, then the aperture springs open, and creativity floods in. The ability for employees to zoom out, or outpaint, with the help of a bit of cheap tech needs to be encouraged, because buried beneath the organisation charts and reporting lines are un-tapped goldmines waiting to be discovered.


Organisations need to help employees apply their own creativity to the canvas unfolding in front of them, and they need to do it at scale. Whether it's a two person or 100,000 person organisation, AI-augmented employees yielded by tuned-in Management teams and Boards have powerful possibilities within their grasp...

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