Opportunities and Challenges with Generative AI

Opportunities and Challenges with Generative AI

Sept 14, 2023

AI Innovation

Dive into the dynamic world of AI transformation as we explore how Generative AI at Mastercard empowers workforces to become co-pilots of AI technologies. Discover the opportunities and challenges that await CEOs of scaleups and SMBs in this AI-driven era.

The rapid evolution of technology continues to reshape the way businesses operate, bringing both opportunities and challenges to the forefront. CEOs of scaleups and small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) face the ongoing struggle of identifying new growth avenues, staying relevant in the digital age, and adapting to industry disruptors. In this dynamic landscape, two recent articles shed light on critical aspects of AI technology that can significantly impact organizations. The first explores Mastercard’s pioneering journey into Generative AI, while the second delves into the transformative potential of AI tools for the workforce. In this article, we dissect these insights and demonstrate how they are poised to revolutionize the future of AI transformation for businesses like yours.

Generative AI at Mastercard

Generative AI Mastercard

The article “Generative AI at Mastercard: Governance Takes Center Stage” from MIT Sloan School of Management is fascinating. It details Mastercard’s dynamic exploration of Generative AI, a technology that has gained significant momentum in the past eight months. While AI has been part of the business landscape for two decades, Generative AI stands out as a game-changer. It has the potential to fundamentally reduce the costs of cognition and creativity, placing the power of this intelligence into the hands of anyone who can create a prompt.

What sets Mastercard apart is its proactive approach to governance. The company has established robust policies and governance processes for Generative AI. These processes involve various functions and stakeholders within the company, as well as external experts and regulators. Mastercard recognizes the importance of responsible AI practices in upholding its values and reputation.

The company’s experimentation with Generative AI primarily focuses on internal productivity gains. However, what’s truly exciting is Mastercard’s vision for the future. The company is poised to leverage Generative AI to offer customer-centric products and services. This strategic shift demonstrates the immense potential that AI transformation holds for organizations looking to drive growth and innovation.

Leading a Workforce Empowered by New AI Tools

Azure AI Services

The HBR IdeaCast’s podcast episode titled ” Leading a Workforce Empowered by New AI Tools” explores another facet of AI’s transformative power. In this episode, Tom Davenport, a renowned expert in leveraging citizen development and AI for competitive advantage, shares valuable insights.  

Davenport argues that new AI technology has ushered in an era where anyone can become a programmer. This shift is driven by AI tools that enable employees to create applications and automate tasks without formal programming skills. While this democratization of programming holds immense potential, it also poses challenges.

 Companies are now faced with a critical question: should their employees utilize these new AI tools to drive innovation? The answer is a resounding yes. These tools empower organizations to achieve faster analytics and innovation. However, they also raise concerns about security, quality, and governance.

 Organizations must develop policies and strategies using these AI tools to effectively manage a workforce. These efforts should align with broader business goals and IT standards. The ability to harness the potential of AI tools while maintaining data security and quality is a critical aspect of AI transformation.


As a CEO of a scaleup or SMB, you may wonder how to navigate this transformative era of AI. The articles and insights shared above provide a glimpse into the vast potential that AI technology holds for organizations of all sizes. It’s an exciting development, especially for scaleups and SMBs, as technology once more levels the playing field.

The key takeaway is that AI transformation is not an option but a strategic imperative for CEOs looking to drive growth, enhance operational efficiency, foster innovation, and ensure regulatory compliance. It can reshape your workforce, enabling employees to become co-pilots of AI technologies.

To further explore how AI can be your strategic partner in this transformative journey, consider our AI Transformation Studio. It’s designed to empower CEOs like you to unlock the full potential of AI, driving your organization toward a future of growth, innovation, and competitiveness. Get on board, embrace AI transformation, and lead your company into a future where possibilities are limitless.

Learn more about how our AI Transformation Studio could become your strategic partner in this journey at AI Studio | EscalateGroup.

Brainstorm Swarms

Now more than ever, companies need fresh ideas, creativity, and critical thinking to overcome many of the situations that a world pandemic has pushed us against the wall.   In many organizations, we encounter a significant amount of uncertainty when making decisions and face gaps in expertise within their workforce in certain areas that seem to be the right ones to explore for the business.

The power of collaborative work

We are aware there is an abundance of brilliant minds with the experience and talent that can collaborate temporarily as a pool of prequalified workers with availability to share their knowledge.  To leverage these external workforces, we hired them for our customers on an as-needed basis to conduct innovation brainstorming sessions, to help companies evaluate and analyze ideas that have not been in-depth discussed. 

With this concept in mind, we are addressing the power of Brainstorm Swarms.   Brainstorm Swarms are online interactive sessions of two hours where a company team can pose questions on specific topics related to their industry.  The inquiries are presented to a Global carefully vetted group of advisors and experts that will provide useful insights, contact, recommendations, and breakthrough solutions you can never imagine on your own.

The power of collaborative work and collective intelligence is a valuable resource to test ideas and explore opportunities from different angles provided by the experience of those who already went through that path.

How to engage in a Brainstorm Swarm

Before going into a Brainstorm Swarm session, we will assess our customers’ needs to gather a clear view of the strategic thinking that the company is willing to get insights and recommendations.  Based on that, we will proceed to engage the best minds of advisors and experts who have the experience and knowledge of each field of action to align their inputs with our customers’ expectations.

The practice of Innovation Swarms has introduced companies to fresh thinking and disruptive innovation in a practical and customized way to tune up projects, concepts and recalibrate ideas from its conception to maturity.

If you are interested in knowing more about the revolutionary concept of Brainstorm Swarms, contact us to explore more and start the process of bringing on board brilliant ideas to re-imagine your organization.

The Opportunity gap of the Digital Transformation

By Cesar Castro, Managing Partner at Escalate Group

Remember Compaq? MCI Worldcom? TWA? They were once household names, but not anymore. In the mobile industry, I closely experienced the rise and the fall of mobile pioneers and giants such as Nokia, Motorola, Ericsson and Blackberry.

We have all heard that businesses are more volatile and uncertain today and the truth is that the current speed of transformation requires agility on how we manage our business and ourselves. Big changes across industries are driven by external factors such as cheaper computing power, the emergence of platforms, the rise of mobility and the cloud, the social business and the explosion of big data and advance analytics.

Digital business transformation is one of the hot topics today, complete industries such as music and newspapers have been disrupted and more recently successful “Unicorns” such as Quirky (Make Invention accessible), GitHub (Social Coding), AirBnB (Belong Anywhere) and Uber (Everyone’s Private Driver) are disrupting with new platforms while creating new business models using the sharing economy to drop the cost of demand and the cost of supply while bringing revolutionary innovation to our lives. We are surrounded by people and companies developing new products and apps that improve our daily lives with evolutionary innovation models. Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix are good examples of companies that innovate outside-in making bold choices. It is very exciting living in these times. Peter Diamandis[1] is totally right when he affirms that we are living in a novel era of extraordinary abundance. We are in the golden age of Information Technology.

Innovation will only accelerate the creation of opportunities for everyone. Internet has democratized the information and the breakthroughs will happen around the world both in developed countries and particularly in emerging markets where the opportunity gap of the Digital Transformation is even bigger. We are moving from physical products to digital products, from physical distribution to distribution over Internet. In the future you are a digital business or a dead business, or in Andreessen’s[2] words “Software will eat the world, in all sectors. Companies need to adapt or they will become extinct. In the future every company will become a software company.”

The digital transformation journey starts when we engage with the digital consumer and create value in the networked world. In Saffo’s[3] terms, it is “the transition from the producer economy to a creator economy”. Many companies are already well advanced engaging with their digital consumers and some are even one step ahead digitalizing their business and operating processes while integrating technologies to transform themselves. Gartner[4] sees a world moving toward business models based on services and impact, where the cloud is the key for business to gain scalability and competitiveness. I am seeing a huge momentum in Enterprise platforms across different industries in Latin America, choosing your cloud partner is as critical as choosing your new default platform so please don’t make these decisions lightly.

Internet is evolving into a new 3rd phase that is divided in three stages: 1.The Internet of money driven by technologies such as bitcoin/blockchain that are already disrupting the banking industry; 2.The energy Internet where solar technology and Sensors/ IoT (Internet of Things) will play a very significant role; and 3. The logistics Internet driven by platforms, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and technologies such as 3D printing. A totally new phase of Digital transformation is in front of us, some denote it as the industrial Internet, and Rifkin[5] refers to it as a new economy paradigm in his book “The Third Industrial Revolution”. Soon, much faster than the rapid adoption of smartphones, we will have billions/trillions of sensors connected to the Internet that will, in many cases, communicate among them without human interaction.

The first step of any successful transformation is self-awareness, so it is important to ask ourselves where we are standing on our Digital transformation journey. Here are a few relevant questions for reflection:

  • Am I using engaging marketing to maximize the interactions with my consumers while reducing their friction with my products/services?
  • How advanced am I in the process of digitalizing my operating and business processes?
  • What percentage of my revenues are under threat from digital disruption?
  • As a business leader, am I willing to co-drive the digital transformation?
  • How am I preparing for the industrial Internet?

According to IDC[6] predictions, by the end of 2017, one in three CEOs of the Top 3,000 Companies in Latin America will have Digital Transformation at the center of their corporate strategy. Leadership plays an important role in the highly volatile and uncertain world we all have to operate, a world that requires deep business transformations while we keep driving the execution and performance of our short-term goals. Leaders that become the catalytic agent of change at their businesses cultivating the right environment, driving the culture and way of working for change to happen will lead their companies to emerge as the winners of the 3.0 Internet era.

There are many frameworks available in order to facilitate the creation of new business models where digital meets physical and to help companies become digital, consulting firms and IT providers can help you as well. For example the ExO (Exponential Organizations) Community, founded by Salim Ismail[7], recommend and help businesses to focus on creating Massive Transformation Purposes (MTP), examine ExOs in your industry (and adjacencies), learn through experiments and implement innovation and creativity into the traditional organizational structure.

Perhaps you have heard the stat that 40 percent of today’s Fortune 500 companies will no longer exist in 10 years. So the key question is: Are you taking the right steps to tackle the opportunity gap of your Digital Transformation journey?

I hope these lines motivate you to post your comments below, so we can all learn from each other experiences!

[1]Peter Diamandis, International pioneer in the fields of innovation, incentive competitions and commercial space

[2] Mark Andreessen, Founder of Netscape, renowned Venture Capitalist

[3] Paul Saffo, Consulting Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University

[4]Gartner, Inc. is a research and advisory firm providing information technology related insight

[5]Jeremy Rifkin is an American economic and social theorist, writer, public speaker, political advisor, and activist

[6] IDC, American market research, analysis and advisory firm, specializes in information technology.

[7] Salim Ismail is a Canadian angel investor, speaker, advisor, entrepreneur and strategist. He is author of the Amazon bestseller Exponential Organizations