On June 14, 2024, D'Amore-McKim hosted the first in a series of events to address and celebrate the thematic pillars of our new mission, starting with a focus on leadership and technology in business.


The recent “Beyond Boundaries: Business Lessons in Leadership Technology” event underscored D'Amore-McKim's renewed mission to equip students with the agility, ethics, and vision to harness the power of AI and other emerging technologies. This was highlighted at the start of the event, as well as in a fireside chat between Dunton Family Dean David De Cremer and distinguished guest Garry Kasparov, one of history's greatest chess players and the first human to face the professional impact of AI against IBM's Deep Blue.

It also included an engaging panel discussion featuring esteemed faculty, alumni, and corporate partners who explored the critical issues surrounding AI and business leadership.

Panelists

Koen Pauwels

Koen Pauwels (moderator)

Associate Dean, Research; Distinguished Professor, Marketing

A consultant for companies across three continents, including Amazon, Heinz, Kayak, Kraft, Marks & Spencer, Microsoft, Nissan, Sony, Tetrapak, and Unilever, and regularly blogs and tweets as @profpauwels.

Rick Arrowood

Lecturer, Management & Organizational Development

A distinguished leader with over 30 years of experience in nonprofit organizations and global leadership, holding positions in academia, organizational leadership, and consulting.

Linda Avery

Founder, LiveFire AI; Former CDAO Verizon and Federal Reserve; former Managing Director Goldman Sachs

A highly commercial data and digital transformation leader able to operate across industries, with extensive experience integrating AI to drive business value.

Prath Reddy, DMSB'10

President, Percent; Vice-chair, D'Amore-McKim New York Executive Leadership Council

An experienced capital markets, financial technology, and credit investing professional who specializes in debt securities origination, structuring, and distribution.

Nada Sanders

Nada Sanders

D'Amore-McKim Distinguished Professor, Supply Chain and Information Management

An internationally recognized thought leader, her expertise is identifying best practices in forecasting, developing an enterprise technology strategy, and creating resilient supply chains.

Chris Riedl

Christoph Riedl

D'Amore-McKim Associate Professor, Supply Chain and Information Management

Renowned researcher who employs business analytics and data science to investigate research questions about group decision-making, network science, and social media and develops novel computational approaches to study collective intelligence mechanisms. He also serves as D'Amore-McKim's Humanics Leader.

Pauwels started by connecting the conversation to Kasparov's main points.

As Garry concluded… it's all about human judgment, and we have a fantastic panel of experts here to discuss the transition from chess to business. Though I wasn't supposed to say this, business is far more complex than chess as it involves humans. So how do you bring AI into an organization, into a company, into a university? How do you deal with educating people about models and making them work?”

Following is a summary of main points made during the robust discussion. Watch the video for the full discussion.

Adapting mental models and measuring ROI

Avery talked about how she helped adapt mental models in very big companies.

There is certainly the mental model, but more importantly, there is the operating model. Leaders need to engage; if they don't, their organizations might not survive. AI is expensive, and you can't just stay in the experimental stage. You need to identify where AI can drive the greatest value and have a game plan. This requires a different way of thinking as a leader.”

Measuring AI's return on investment is challenging. Many things are happening simultaneously in organizations, making attribution difficult.

Challenges for small companies

Reddy shared how smaller companies can navigate high technology industries with limited resources.

Smaller companies face a unique challenge. They need to differentiate their products quickly but are resource constrained. One small mistake can blow up the entire company. They need to evaluate the potential value of AI carefully because they have less room for error… Smaller companies face higher risks with AI, especially in conservative sectors with high liability.”

Taking risks with AI

Arrowood shared how leaders can decide when to take risks with AI while remaining ethical.

As a professor, I remind myself to lead by example. In the classroom, we established a standard policy for AI use. Initially, I didn't communicate this vision clearly, which led to misunderstandings. Effective communication and setting clear expectations are crucial… Transparency is key.”

Breaking down silos

Sanders talked about how can we communicate across boundaries and silos in organizations?

Organizational structure is critical. We need to break down silos to survive in today's technological landscape. Businesses need to rethink their plans and integrate technology effectively.”

ChatGPT's impact on learning

Riedl shared how ChatGPT helps weaker players improve more than novices.

Research shows that people often use AI in the wrong situations. AI is a useful tool for those with a growth mindset who want to learn, but others may misuse it and not improve… Integrating AI as a co-pilot and pushing for creativity in teaching is important. We need to guide students to use AI effectively.”