How to Create an AI Council

How to Create an AI Council

When helping organizations adopt and implement AI, the question I get most often is this: Where do we start?

Adopting AI can seem like a Herculean task, often leading to analysis paralysis—opting to do nothing because the task seems entirely too daunting.

However, it doesn’t need to be like this.

By using this straightforward three-step framework, any organization, regardless of size, can figure out their AI game plan.

Three-step framework
  1. Create an AI Council
  2. Create an AI Policy
  3. Create an AI Use Case
Create your AI Council

The first step in the framework is to create an AI Council.

Call it what you will—a committee, a council, or a task force—the terminology doesn’t matter as much as the purpose: to communicate, create, assess, and oversee all your organization’s AI initiatives.

The AI Council creates the AI policy, and the AI policy dictates the use case (or cases).

The key here is to not overthink your approach.

Each of the steps in this three-step framework will evolve over time, and likely become more intricate and comprehensive, but for now, you’re simply trying to put an initial plan together.

AI Council criteria

There are three things to keep in mind when developing an AI Council.

Keep It Small

When forming an AI Council, start with a small group.

Ideally, three to five people should constitute the initial team.This size is manageable and allows for efficient decision-making and collaboration.

Too many people mean too many opinions, which can hinder consensus.

Strive for Diversity and Cross-functionality

A successful AI Council should be composed of members from various disciplines within the organization.

While keeping the team size small, include representatives from marketing, sales, IT, legal, compliance, and other relevant departments.

This diverse and cross-functional team ensures varied perspectives and expertise, fostering comprehensive AI strategy development.

AI responsibilities should not be confined to IT or technology departments alone; broader involvement yields more useful results

Establish Clear Objectives and Mandate

The AI Council must have a clear, well-defined purpose and objectives aligned with the organization’s overall business strategy. By creating a purpose statement, you lay the groundwork early and get everyone on the same page.

Here are three examples of purpose statements to modify based on your organization’s unique goals:

  • Purpose Statement 1: The purpose of the AI Council is to leverage artificial intelligence to boost operational efficiency, enhance productivity, and drive revenue growth. The AI Council will integrate AI into business processes to optimize resources, improve decision-making, and ensure competitive advantage while maintaining ethical standards and compliance.
  • Purpose Statement 2: The Council’s mission is to utilize AI to improve business performance by increasing efficiency, productivity, and profitability. The AI Council will oversee AI integration across the organization, ensuring it aligns with strategic goals and adheres to ethical and regulatory guidelines.
  • Purpose Statement 3: The Council aims to harness AI technologies to streamline operations, enhance productivity, and maximize profitability. The AI Council will guide AI implementation to ensure it supports business objectives, drives innovation, and upholds ethical practices and compliance.

Once you’ve locked in your purpose statement, the next step is to create clear objectives.

These can change, and you may have different ones, but here are the basic objectives you need to consider.

  • Identify AI Opportunities:
    • Conduct regular assessments to identify potential areas where AI can add value.
    • Prioritize AI projects based on their potential impact and feasibility.
  • Set Strategic Direction:
    • Develop and maintain a roadmap for AI initiatives aligned with the organization’s business strategy.
    • Define short-term and long-term goals for AI implementation.
  • Establish Governance and Ethical Standards:
    • Create policies to ensure ethical AI use and compliance with legal requirements.
    • Monitor and address any ethical concerns or biases in AI applications.
  • Oversee Implementation and Integration:
    • Guide AI project development and deployment, ensuring effective integration into existing systems.
    • Provide support and resources to AI project teams.
  • Measure and Report Performance:
    • Define key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate AI project success.
    • Regularly review and report on AI initiative progress to senior management and stakeholders.
  • Promote Continuous Learning and Innovation:
    • Encourage continuous AI learning and skill development across the organization.
    • Foster a culture of innovation by supporting experimental AI projects and pilot programs.

Begin, then iterate

Implementing an AI Council, creating an AI policy, and defining use cases can significantly simplify AI adoption in any organization.

These steps lay a strong foundation for integrating AI into your business strategy, ensuring that initiatives are well-guided, ethical, and aligned with organizational goals.

By starting with a small, diverse, and cross-functional team, you can foster collaboration and innovation while maintaining focus on key objectives.

Remember, the journey to AI adoption is iterative—begin with manageable projects, learn from them, and scale your efforts as you gain confidence and expertise.

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