Make GenAI a top priority!

Generative AI can give employees superpowers to work more productively and creatively. CEOs must not leave this development to chance, but must make it a top priority.

AI has reached a tremendous level of awareness and diffusion with the proliferation of ChatGPT. According to a recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute, the game-changing field of Generative AI (GenAI) offers enormous potential for value creation. Technologies such as ChatGPT or DALL-E could theoretically enable an annual productivity gain of 2.6 to 4.4 trillion US dollars.

Generative AI will have a significant impact across all industry sectors. Banking, high tech, and life sciences are among the industries that could see the biggest impact as a percentage of their revenues from generative AI. Across the banking industry, for example, the technology could deliver value equal to an additional $200 billion to $340 billion annually if the use cases were fully implemented. In retail and consumer packaged goods, the potential impact is also significant at $400 billion to $660 billion a year.

Potential impact of AI on the global economy

GenAI: A topic for the CEO!

Every CEO should work with the leadership team to consider how GenAI can be used in the business. Some CEOs will conclude that GenAI offers a transformative opportunity and can lead to the company rethinking areas such as research, development, marketing, sales and customer service. Other CEOs may want to start small and scale later. Once the decision is made, AI experts should provide technical support to implement the strategy.

Below are a few basic aspects that CEOs should consider now:

1. Coordinated first steps: organizational and technological

Many organizations have conducted isolated experiments with traditional AI. However, successful deployment of GenAI requires a more deliberate and coordinated approach that considers the unique risks and ability of foundational models to support multiple use cases.

A multidisciplinary team of decision makers and experts should be assembled to identify the most valuable use cases and enable a coordinated and secure implementation. CIOs and CTOs should play an important role in this process and develop the best groupings of use cases by domain to get the most value from generative AI.

A modern data and technology stack is critical to this. CEOs must ensure the organization has the necessary technical capabilities, compute resources, data management tools, and access to models.

2. Balancing risk and value creation, building technology partnerships with an ecosystem approach

Despite all the tech euphoria, the opportunities and risks of GenAI must be balanced. Companies should establish ethical principles and assess risks for each use case. Through risk-based practices, companies can establish the necessary controls to properly manage GenAI for compliance.

Business leaders should build and maintain a balanced network of alliances. By partnering with GenAI vendors and experts, companies can accelerate implementation and benefit from their expertise.

3. Talent and capabilities are paramount

To successfully deploy GenAI, companies must build their technical capabilities and educate their people. This requires a concerted effort by executives to identify the necessary talent and foster a culture of innovation and education.

CEOs must be aware of the tremendous opportunities GenAI presents and make it a priority. By taking a strategic approach and working with the leadership team, companies can realize the full potential of GenAI and gain a competitive advantage.


Want to learn more about GenAI in business context? Download the Körber Digital Whitepaper for free!

Article written by Prof. Dr. Niko Mohr, Partner in the Düsseldorf office of McKinsey & Company, part of the global IoT leadership team of McKinsey & leader of McKinsey's global Quantum Technology Community.

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