July 10, 2023

Unleashing the Power of AI: Enabling an Augmented Enterprise

Augmented Enterprise

This article was originally published through the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Read the original publication here

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly permeating the global landscape, ushering in an era of unprecedented transformation and asserting itself as a catalyst of change across industries. Its disruptive capacity is undeniable—with digitization, automation, and AI projected to redefine the world of work. By 2030, as many as 375 million workers (approximately 14 percent of the global workforce) may transition into entirely new occupational categories. Organizations need to understand that AI is not merely an add-on feature. Simply becoming “AI-enabled” won’t suffice to thrive in this evolving landscape. Instead, organizations must harness the full potential of AI to create vibrancy and vitality in their operations.

The dawn of AI opens a wealth of opportunities for organizations prepared to embrace its capabilities. It holds the potential to revolutionize the way we do business, driving innovation and boosting operational efficiency. By effectively utilizing what AI offers, organizations can unearth new pathways for growth, productivity, and competitive advantage. This empowers them to tackle intricate challenges, extract valuable insights from vast amounts of data, and automate routine tasks. This, in turn, frees up employees to concentrate on higher-value tasks that leverage their unique human skills, enhancing both individual fulfillment and organizational performance.

According to Dr. Dennis Folds, PS chief human systems scientist, “We can’t predict the future; all that we can do is take the next step towards it.”

AE: Humans + AI

The augmented enterprise (AE) represents the future of work—a symbiotic environment where AI works hand in hand with people to elevate their intellectual capacity and streamline workforce productivity. By enhancing employees’ abilities, an AE cultivates a setting characterized by superior efficiency and efficacy. This fusion of AI and human intelligence enables organizations to leverage the collective intelligence of their workforce, customers, and stakeholders, leading to informed decision-making, problem-solving, and robust innovation. Embracing the strength of collaborative efforts and diverse viewpoints, an AE harnesses collective intelligence to drive superior results and secure a competitive advantage.

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, author Daniel Kahneman explores two systems of thought that steer human decision-making: System 1, characterized by fast, intuitive responses, and System 2, which engages deliberate, analytical thinking. AI shines in the realm of System 2 thinking, facilitating the rapid analysis and processing of complex information. When organizations harness AI for routine tasks and processes, they automate these functions, liberating individuals to engage in more profound, meaningful work, thus nurturing creativity and intuition within the organization.

So, how do we effectively harness the collective intelligence of humans and technology? This is where augmented intelligence teams (AIT) enter the picture. An AIT fuses high-performing individuals or teams with AI technologies, forming an integrated entity that amplifies efficiency and productivity. Consider the impact of using predictive analytics to dissect customer data more swiftly than human analysts can alone—this application of AI can generate valuable insights, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction, increased revenue, and reduced costs.

Four Key Elements

The augmented enterprise is fueled by four core components: collective intelligence, augmented intelligence teams (AITs), adaptive learning organizations (ALOs), and learning ecosystems. Each of these elements play a vital role in shaping a resilient, forward-thinking organization. In this series of articles, we will delve into each of these components, exploring their importance and how they interconnect to supercharge an enterprise. Let’s begin with the ALO.

The Adaptive Learning Organization (ALO)

Embracing the ethos of an ALO is a fundamental step in unlocking the potential of collective intelligence within an organization. It creates a conduit through which organizations can harness the diverse knowledge, insights, and skills of their workforce, customers, and stakeholders. Envision an ALO as the organization’s central nervous system, ceaselessly sensing, reacting, and adapting to the shifting tides of the business landscape.

An ALO is more than just an agile organization—it embodies a set of guiding principles that champion continuous learning, adaptation, and proactive response across every department. It cultivates an environment and framework that encourages learning at all strata, valuing the power to adapt and evolve amid ever-changing scenarios. In our contemporary world, an ALO appreciates the significance of flexibility, speed, and the continuous acquisition of new knowledge and skills in safeguarding its competitive edge.

In a world that never stops changing, adaptability is not just a good-to-have trait—it’s a necessity. Armed with this agile mindset, an ALO can swiftly react to unfolding trends, market alterations, and novel challenges. By leveraging collective intelligence, ALOs achieve a more expansive understanding of the business arena, enabling informed and timely decision-making. The result: enhanced decision-making processes, a highly engaged workforce, and a future-ready orientation. An ALO thrives by capitalizing on the full strength of collective intelligence—a true testament to the transformative power of adaptability and learning.

An ALO abides by 10 guiding principles, as shown in the following image:

  • People First: People’s development is nonnegotiable. ALOs prioritize dialogues, strategic investments, and measurements that aim to enhance people development across the organization.
  • Ecosystems Thinking: Organizations are complex ecosystems driven by value. ALOs approach people development through a lens of connections, resources, and journeys, actively aligning elements of the learning ecosystem with a growth mindset.
  • Connective Collaboration: Encouraging connected, trusted collaboration is paramount. An ALO’s learning and development (L&D) function ignites free-flowing and open collaboration across the organization, nurturing personal trust to boost organizational trust.
  • Purpose-Driven Design: Every effort within an ecosystem should have a clear purpose. ALOs pursue purpose through empathy and design thinking, maximizing impact on the business and its people.
  • Problem Seeking: Thoughtful problem identification is key to sustaining adaptive ecosystems. ALOs focus on identifying and prioritizing problems, considering business outcomes more than solution designs.
  • Data-Informed Strategy: Implementing data-driven strategies with escalating precision is crucial for an adaptive learning organization. ALOs base strategies on the analysis and exploration of learning activity, behaviors, and outcomes data and work with subject matter experts to plan initiatives according to their ROI.
  • Valued Perception of L&D: L&D is an organization’s central hub. Free-flowing information to and from the learning organization nurtures valued business outcomes.
  • Ideas and Feedback: New ideas and feedback expedite the development of solutions. ALOs encourage a continuous flow of information and ideas, seek feedback, and evaluate data continually without fear of failure.
  • Focus on Outcomes: Being busy doesn’t equate to being productive. ALOs strive to enact positive change, rather than just treating symptoms of deeper issues.
  • Technology as a Component: Technology is a crucial part of an ecosystem, but it’s not the solution for every problem. ALOs value the alignment of people, processes, experiences, and analytics, all underpinned by technology that directly supports business strategy.

AI and Increased Innovation

AI enables individuals and teams to generate, create, explore, and refine various outputs with heightened speed and quality.

For instance, augmented intelligence presents opportunities for electricians to boost their operational efficiency, safety, and effectiveness. Through predictive maintenance, electricians could proactively perform repairs, minimizing downtime and enhancing safety. AI image recognition can quickly detect issues on utility poles, enabling swift detection and repairs. Additionally, augmented intelligence can analyze safety data, enabling electricians to pinpoint potential injury risks and improve safety protocols. In essence, through automation, advanced analytics, and insights, augmented intelligence could empower electricians to focus on the most crucial aspects of their work, leading to a safe and operational power grid benefiting all stakeholders.

As the workforce improves their skills in leveraging AI, the results become more significant. AI has made a considerable impact on automation and efficiency by employing machine learning algorithms and advanced robotics. By automating repetitive and mundane tasks, AI enhances productivity and frees up human resources for more complex, creative endeavors. Industries such as manufacturing, logistics, and customer service have seen significant improvements in efficiency, with AI-powered systems streamlining processes, reducing errors, and optimizing resource utilization.

The transformative influence of AI extends across various aspects of our lives, most notably in enhanced decision-making. AI algorithms swiftly analyze vast amounts of data, extracting valuable insights and patterns that might escape human detection. These insights inform decision-making in sectors like finance, healthcare, marketing, and more. For instance, AI-powered algorithms can detect fraud patterns in financial data or predict market trends for investment decisions. In healthcare, AI assists in diagnosis, treatment planning, and predicting patient outcomes based on large-scale data analysis.

AI also revolutionizes personalized experiences and services. Virtual assistants and chatbots, powered by natural language processing and computer vision, understand and respond to human queries, providing tailored recommendations and assistance. AI algorithms adapt to individual preferences, enhancing user experiences and customer satisfaction in applications like virtual voice assistants, personalized marketing campaigns, and content curation platforms.

In the agriculture field, combining various technologies in a smart farming ecosystem surpasses human capabilities. Sensors, drones, and satellites continuously monitor parameters like soil moisture, temperature, nutrient levels, and crop health. AI and machine learning process the collected data, providing insights for informed decisions. Automated irrigation systems deliver precise amounts of water based on real-time conditions. Robots equipped with computer vision and robotic arms harvest crops delicately. AI-based systems identify pests and weeds, minimizing chemical usage. Smart logistics systems optimize transportation and storage. Predictive maintenance ensures optimal equipment performance. Integrated data and visualization platforms enable data-driven decisions, boosting productivity and minimizing resource wastage.

By harnessing AI, businesses can unlock the value of collective intelligence, capitalizing on the expertise of their entire workforce, regardless of location or job function.


The future of work and of many sectors lies in harnessing the power of AI. Practical examples like electricians and the agriculture sector have shown us how AI can drive operational efficiency, enhance safety, and increase effectiveness. As the workforce becomes more adept at using AI, the benefits are only set to increase.

However, it’s important to remember that while technology is a powerful tool, it is only one component of the solution. To truly unlock the power of AI, organizations must focus on aligning people, processes, experiences, and analytics. They must create an environment that fosters continuous learning and adaptation, nurtures collaboration, and values the human element just as much as the technology.

The dawn of the AI era is not merely about digitizing and automating processes, but about creating vibrant, resilient organizations that can leverage AI to its full potential. As we continue to explore and understand the power of AI, we must remember that our collective intelligence—encompassing both humans and AI—is our greatest asset. The key to unlocking the power of AI lies in using it as a tool to augment our own abilities and to amplify our collective capabilities.

Michael Hruska

Michael Hruska is president and chief executive officer of Problem Solutions. He is a technologist and design thinking (DT) practitioner with experiences spanning across standards, emerging technologies, learning, and science. He is a former researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Mike provides technology, business model and innovation solutions to Fortune 500, Government and startup companies. He researches, strategizes, designs, and makes advanced technology solutions and products. His team has built award winning products and delivered solutions that support millions of users and billions of hits of daily web traffic. Michael’s experience spans the continuum between advanced research on adaptive learning ecosystems and emerging technology solution/product design in a variety of industries.

Dr. Christina Barss

Dr. Christina Barss is an experienced industry subject matter expert (SME) in improvement sciences and organizational culture change. Her unique blend of practical, academic, and art perspectives creates custom operational and employee engagement solutions that transform the bottom line. Dr. Barss’ 12 years in healthcare were filled leading strategic enterprise-level initiatives to improve patient safety, quality, service, and innovation as well as teaching and coaching executives. From C-suite to frontline, she connects seamlessly and guides others in building trust bridges. Her continuous improvement science foundation began in the manufacturing industry. She presents nationally and internationally on design thinking, change management, organizational culture, corporate learning, executive education, and succession planning.