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What Do Companies Winning the AI Race Have in Common?

Over the past 20 months, the generative AI wave has uncovered the massive cracks in the system, revealing a glaring talent and skills gap.

If you’re new here, this is the latest edition of the Build Mode newsletter, where we gather the collective wisdom of the people building with AI, designing the future of work, and leading the most important companies of the next decade. Subscribe here to get the top insights in your inbox every other week.

THE BIG IDEA

What companies winning the AI race have in common

Over two-thirds of tech leaders say traditional hiring needs an overhaul.

And it’s no wonder why: On average, it takes over four months to hire highly-specialized product and engineering talent— costing companies valuable time, money, and resources, and burning out hiring managers in the process.

Over the past 20 months, the generative AI wave has uncovered the massive cracks in the system, revealing a glaring talent and skills gap; 75% of enterprise leaders report lacking the necessary talent to deploy generative AI effectively. In a separate survey, 66% said they would not hire workers without AI skills. And 75% report difficulties in finding qualified candidates, with 55% worrying about filling key roles.

Meanwhile, the pace of AI adoption is accelerating. AI usage has nearly doubled among global knowledge workers in the last six months and employees are secretly using their own AI tools at work, highlighting the urgent need for companies to solidify their AI strategies.=

To address these challenges, A.Team’s CEO Raphael Ouzan joined Tara Chklovski from Technovation and Robert Sheen from Trusaic for the sixth annual Fast Company Impact Council at NYSE last week, to discuss how enterprises successfully deploying Gen AI are rethinking their workforce to meet these new expectations.

Here’s what the winners have in common:

  1. They integrate the right human expertise, bringing in expert freelancers who embrace generative AI and upskill twice as fast as the rest of the workforce.
  2. They leverage AI to augment workflows, enhance existing processes and connect proprietary data, creating a competitive moat.
  3. They adopt an experimental mindset, introducing AI-powered product strategies across every team, forecasting ROI through experimentation and prototyping with end users.

This year, A.Team witnessed a 10x increase in Gen AI missions on our platform. To further upskill our network—over 66% of which has already built a generative AI solution for an SMB or enterprise—we implemented an internal AI course in partnership with Microsoft, covering essential topics from productivity tools to AI architectures. This ensures our network of 11,000+ product builders remain at the forefront of AI innovation.

And next Wednesday, we’re taking another giant leap forward with the launch of an experimental new tool designed to streamline hiring by helping you find the expert talent you’ve been missing in minutes, not months. For a limited time, we’re offering Build Mode subscribers early access to try it out for free — want to try? Reply to this email with “Team Formation AI” and we’ll follow-up to give you early access.

CHART OF THE WEEK

How employees want to collaborate with AI

How employees want to collaborate with AI

Workers who perceive AI as a teammate are 33% more likely to report productivity gains from using AI at work, compared to those who view it solely as a tool.

A recent report by Anthropic and Asana examines the current state of AI adoption and maturity across organizations, identifying five distinct stages of AI integration that companies progress through: 1. AI Skepticism, 2. AI Activation, 3. AI Experimentation, 4. AI Scaling, 5. AI Maturity.

At Stage 1, most workers see AI as just another tool, with only 6% recognizing it as a teammate. However, as organizations progress to Stage 5 of AI maturity, the proportion of workers viewing AI as a teammate rises to 15%. This shift in perception allows workers to recognize AI's potential in more collaborative roles. Their use of AI becomes more strategic, integrated, and transformative — opening up new possibilities for brainstorming, problem-solving, and decision-making, ultimately leading to greater productivity gains for the whole organization.

WATERCOOLER

The Uneven Impact of Generative AI on Entrepreneurial Performance

A recent study gave 640 Kenyan entrepreneurs AI coaching through ChatGPT to assess its impact on small business revenues and profits. Participants were split into a control group receiving a standard business guide and a treatment group receiving a GPT-4-powered AI business mentor. High performers saw a 15% increase in benefits from the AI advice, while low performers did 8% worse. Although both groups received AI advice, low performers struggled because they sought help on more challenging business tasks that often required financial capital or other resources to resolve. Meanwhile, high performers typically asked more focused questions, asking more realistic advice on expansion and growth.

What does this mean for companies integrating AI into their workforce?

The benefits—or drawbacks—of AI use depend heavily on how prepared people are for the tasks at hand.

To maximize AI productivity, workers need the skills and experience to judge whether AI has delivered a high-quality output. Or, as New York Times best-selling author Dan Pink says, it’s all about taste.

DISCOVERY ZONE

You can finally stop knocking on all the watermelons at the grocery store! Instead, use Chat GPT to pick out the perfectly ripe, juicy watermelon — it’s the latest trend taking over Chinese social media.

EVENTS

The Gen AI Salon: Consumer Tech in a Sci-FI World

Apply now to join A.Team and J.P Morgan in NYC (or virtually) for our last Gen AI Salon of the summer!

Join to hear from leaders on the forefront of consumer tech from NVIDIA and ShipPlug who will reveal how they stay ahead of fast-growing consumer expectations, a generative AI hackathon competition with advisors from Microsoft, Chase, Tala, PepsiCo, Google X, and Humane where you’ll decide the winner — plus, get a first look as we break the launch of A.Team’s transformative new AI platform.

Reserve your spot

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