Data & AI use cases, how to be creative?

How to Envision Your Initial Use Cases? And How to Create Subsequent Ones? Following a definition of what a use case entails, I will provide you with a few tips on how to enhance creativity. Additionally, I'll guide you on how to harness it to achieve concrete results.

Sophie Stern

7/11/20234 min read

Creativity, Design-thinking, Use cases, data-driven, data, artificial intelligence, ai
Creativity, Design-thinking, Use cases, data-driven, data, artificial intelligence, ai

In a rapidly changing world where change is accelerating, leveraging data and AI to make informed decisions becomes essential to remain a competitive enterprise.

Having an excellent Data & AI strategy, conducting effective acculturation, and implementing robust governance would not be effective without value-driven Data & AI use cases.

How to envision your initial use cases? And how to create subsequent ones?

Following a definition of what a use case is, I will provide you with some tips on how to enhance creativity.

And also, how to channel it effectively to achieve concrete outcomes.

What constitutes a business Data & AI use case?

The concept of a use case originates from systems engineering. It involves reflecting the end user's perspective rather than the internal view of the system or product, at least initially.

Use cases are defined at a strategic/macro level and are subsequently refined until they are implemented.

In this article, we will focus on business use cases rather than more technically oriented ones.

1. Business Data & AI Use Cases at a Strategic Level

Business use cases need to align with the company's strategy (Refer to the article "Data & AI Strategy: The 5 Key Steps," link:

Business use cases naturally stem from the organization's challenges and their prioritization. Work on business challenges is conducted in collaboration with company executives, possibly even with the Executive Committee (COMEX).

In the upcoming months, do you particularly want to focus on product quality, production costs, or cart abandonments?

In your case, you might want to address all three of these challenges immediately, or you may prefer to initially prioritize cart abandonments, logistics costs, and improving the quality of products manufactured in a specific factory.

Once the strategic challenges are defined and prioritized, we can eagerly move on to the second step: getting creative!

2. Creativity's boosters: workshops

To boost creativity in the workplace, it's often advisable to leverage collective intelligence. To provide a structure, workshops are highly suitable. Often using post-it notes as a basis, these workshops involve collaborating in a different way.

A creativity workshop requires upfront preparation conducted by the workshop facilitator, often a senior consultant experienced in this type of exercise. These activities encompass:

  • Defining the theme of the working group and the participants in each group;

  • Establishing an atmosphere of goodwill, moderating discussions, rephrasing ideas, allowing everyone to express themselves, encouraging those who are more reserved to participate, ... Various workshop facilitation methods may be employed.

🔎 Creativity is not inherent in everyone, and it might have been challenged during life's journey. Having a few prepared examples on hand in case of a creative block can be invaluable. This can help kick-start the process, similar to how an opening phrase is used to begin a writing session.

Certain activities should be carried out after the session:

  • Consolidating the workshop's results

  • Identifying points to develop in the next workshop

  • Listing the identified necessary data

In a subsequent workshop or workshops, these elements will be explored in depth, potentially involving additional stakeholders if needed.

3. Studying the Feasibility of Use Cases

A crucial aspect to study concerns data accessibility.

If the Data & AI transformation is already underway within the company, it's possible that the data for the use cases are already accessible and well-prepared in the data platform.

On the other end of the spectrum, there's a scenario where data are external to the organization. This situation might be encountered in a public service organization, for instance. In such cases, establishing agreements regarding data access will be a preliminary project before launching corresponding use cases.

Another scenario could involve a data platform containing only data visualization use cases. Introducing a new use case involving deep learning techniques might necessitate adjustments or even more significant adaptations to the technical platform beforehand.

Considering these various elements helps determine the ease or difficulty of executing each use case.

4. Roadmap for Business Data & AI Use Cases

🔎 Assessing the feasibility of use cases in comparison to their added value positions them within a decision matrix.

This matrix is subsequently used to place the use cases on the roadmap.

The roadmap serves as a foundation to initiate workshops, Proof of Concept (PoC) projects, Proof of Value (PoV) initiatives, and use case production.

🔎 Every roadmap is subject to change; revisiting it at regular intervals ensures it remains up-to-date or requires modification. Consider a significant shift in a business challenge; its impact on the roadmap should be promptly addressed..

5. Why is it necessary to contain creativity?

At first glance, speaking about creativity might make this concept seem odd. Nevertheless, it's just as important to open the floodgates of creativity as it is to temporarily close them.

Any creative individual will tell you that focus is crucial. Unless you're moving as swiftly as a Pablo Picasso, having too many creative avenues can hinder creativity. In essence, having an abundance of painting ideas can impede the completion of even a single canvas.

🔎 A helpful tip is to allocate a specific period or fixed duration for creativity and openness. Afterwards, it's important to close the floodgates. For instance, keeping just three use cases for the launch of the Data & AI platform.

This tip might be adjusted in the case of high technical and organizational maturity.

Nonetheless, it's worth considering that constraints can actually enhance creativity. Well-known constraints include economic limitations, as well as time constraints. Or any other type of constraint.

An entire French novel has indeed been written without the letter "e"!