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‘AI is not creative, you are’: How AI will change the way we work, according to Microsoft

Microsoft's GM of Microsoft’s Copilot and co-founder of WorkLab, Colette Stallbaumer speaks to Euronews Next at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity
Microsoft's GM of Microsoft’s Copilot and co-founder of WorkLab, Colette Stallbaumer speaks to Euronews Next at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Annabel MurphyHannah Brown
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‘You can choose fear or you can lean in and learn’, Microsoft’s WorkLab co-founder on AI and the future of work.

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AI continues to revolutionise the way individuals work, freeing up time, automating mundane tasks and improving productivity. However, it cannot replace the originality and creative power of the human mind. This is the message Colette Stallbaumer, GM of Microsoft’s Copilot and co-founder of WorkLab, wants workers to understand.

Stallbaumer's message comes in the wake of recent data from a work survey organised by Microsoft and LinkedIn which highlights the surging use of AI in the white-collar workforce. The survey showed that AI is already having a significant impact on how people do their jobs.

The integration of AI tools such as ChatGPT and Copilot are transforming workplaces - a change that should be embraced rather than feared, says Stallbaumer, because AI will not only change individual work practices, but could transform the DNA of entire organisations.

Rise in use of AI tools at the individual level

According to the 2024 annual Work Trend Index report which surveyed 31,000 people across 31 countries, 75 per cent are already using generative AI at work - a figure that has doubled in the last six months.

The growing trend of individuals integrating AI tools at a grassroots level is already showing significant benefits; 85 per cent of respondents reported increased productivity, and 84 per cent noted improvements in creativity, leading to higher employee satisfaction

Generative AI tools allow workers to allocate more time to human-centric activities, such as team engagement and creative thinking. As such humans will be less doers and more supervisors of AI and AI-generated work and outcomes, explained Stallbaumer. 

"A salesperson can spend less time on data entry or navigating systems of record and more time nurturing customer relationships. Similarly, a finance professional can reduce time spent searching for data anomalies and focus more on strategic business growth."

While it's encouraging that individuals are deriving value from these changes in their roles, the challenge lies in organising, scaling, and integrating these practices across organisations at a strategic level. 

Scaling AI adoption to an organisational level

“After individual use begins the hard part of where we are in this technology adoption cycle. Now comes the real work, where people need to really build the habit of working in this new way with AI,” said Stallbaumer.

According to the survey, 41 per cent of leaders expect to have to redesign business processes with AI, although how this will happen is still evolving. For example, some efficiencies will be similar across all companies while other AI solutions and changes will be designed for the organisation’s goals. 

“It's about looking at the opportunities in their business, in those horizontal workflows to actually apply AI to those processes. Every role is a series of tasks, right? And if you begin to break down those tasks, [you can] look at where AI can help.”

It’s the companies that can face the challenges and opportunities head on - even as the 'how' is still evolving - that will thrive in the future.

Watch the video above to learn more about the findings of Microsoft’s 2024 Work Trends Index report. 

You can see more content from Cannes Lions here.

Additional sources • Filmed and edited by Arnaud Augst

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