People & organizations in the machine learning era

We are all using several times everyday, machine learning algorithms without even noticing it.

Google searches, Facebook Photo recognition, email spam detection, Amazon or Netflix recommendations, all run with machine learning algorithms.

By using big amounts of data, these algorithms can make predictions, find patterns, detect trends or find hidden correlations between thousands of features.

Machine learning finds applications to a wide range of fields, from medicine to predicting diseases, engineering to find anomalies, genetics, economy, database mining, autonomous robotics, computational biology. The applications are infinite and are only limited by our imagination.

Introducing machine learning in companies’ modus operandi has clearly multiple advantages, but implementing these new techniques is the easy part. The difficult one is to align the organization in ways to effectively use it.

What was often missing or apparently less important in traditional companies is now becoming critical in the ones that are successfully surfing in the digital era.

What digital savvy companies leverage?

1.- Creativity is a valuable asset. A new idea can be the next business opportunity and it can come from everywhere and from anyone within the company. Machine learning has multiple applications and offers so many possibilities waiting to be discovered! As John Cleese says “Creativity is not a talent, it is a way of operating”. And this is the way of operating that companies like Google or Amazon promote.

2.- Empower Collective Intelligence. Companies work with teams, and things get done by teams. Collective intelligence is often more important than individual one. It results in faster and more resourceful teams when managed efficiently.

3.- Embrace Diversity. Different eyes put different aspects of one problem on the table and the result is usually a richer picture. Diversity in age, race, sex and expertise field adds value unlike more homogeneous teams that usually have problems to deal in a dynamic environment. Sometimes people from different backgrounds, age range, sex, or ethnicity can bring questions that were unnoticed by a less diverse team.

4.- Cultivate Curiosity and Lifelong Learning attitude. You need to be curious to identify problems worth solving, and then come up with new solutions. A curious mind and a learning attitude are the drivers in the knowledge era.