Unstick Your Stucks: Making Better Decisions with the Help of the AI Canvas

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Oftentimes, businesses come to us not knowing where to begin when they want to implement new, innovative technologies. The idea of using artificial intelligence (AI) to engage their subscribers is daunting. So what do we tell them? Just start. Experiment. Take the first step toward trying something new.

In many cases, it makes sense to turn toward data to make difficult business decisions. But whether or not to employ AI predictive technology so you can take the best course of action using a combination of existing data, training data, and real-time input is still a tough choice to make. However, referring to a step-by-step framework can be a good place to start.

What does making tough decisions have to do with AI?

Every organization faces the challenge of having to make tough decisions in the face of uncertainty. If you knew the exact, potential outcome of each branch of a decision tree, the choices you face in your daily life would not be as nerve-racking. But AI can help you make better predictions, and the AI canvas provides a straightforward framework to decide whether or not to use AI.

Ironically, artificial intelligence provides the decision-making path to follow, which can help an organization decide whether implementing an AI prediction machine even makes sense in the first place. The concept is fully fleshed out, along with a step by step example, in this recent HBR article, A Simple Tool to Start Making Decisions with the Help of AI, by Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb. They are also authors of the acclaimed book, Prediction Machines.

AI Canvas - Visual business decision map by Ajay Agrawal et al

How does the AI Canvas work?

The first four steps in the top row of the framework are prediction, judgment, action and outcome. They describe the four most important dimensions of any given decision. The bottom row of the AI Canvas is input, training and feedback. It lays out the concluding data-centric considerations in the entire decision-making process. In the article by Agrawal et al, they lay out an interesting example relating to home security that demonstrates a real-life application of the AI Canvas.

The possibilities are endless. We have all heard that AI will become a more and more powerful force in business. That means predictive decision making is an AI category that any organization can, and should, begin to explore.

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