07 Jun

AI’s role in the future of work

JOST&Co recently engaged the University of New South Wales’ (UNSW) Business School to deliver a project looking at Artificial Intelligence. The university’s Future of Work program involves students researching real life issues being experienced by organisations. 

We tasked the team to research how AI is currently being used and governed. We also wanted to understand the evidence base that exists for informing governance guardrails. The final part of the project involved identifying solutions for our clients (and us!) that will help them adopt and speed up the use of AI as a responsible tool.

This month, that project has got us thinking about the three big things organisations need to put in place to harness the value of AI.


It’s probably fair to say most of us are still interested, confused, worried and excited about AI. Organisations know they need to embrace it, but leaders often don’t know where to start because they are being bombarded by a plethora of AI uplift experts from academia, consultancies and tech houses. The most important thing leaders can do is to avoid a freeze response in the face of all of the choices and make a start.

We appreciate that going through a process of selecting which learning method or channel to use can be very challenging. It can be helpful to take an informed risk by picking up one of the AI solutions and trying it, while being prepared to let it go quickly if it’s not meeting your needs and try another solution.

Of course, any proposed AI solution does need to be consistent with an organisation’s broader approach to learning and other constraints. It’s also useful to take an organic top-down and bottom-up approach to refining the application because senior leaders won’t understand the intricacies of every process across their organisation. 

To make the most of AI, some of the detail will need to be sorted out in the weeds. That means leaders need to encourage staff to be curious and give them permission to play with AI within the
governance guardrails.

AI comes with a steep learning curve. Given AI tools offer highly accessible and powerful uses of data, any formal learning about AI and its function must include a component of ethical reflection that considers potential impacts on individuals, organisations, industries, communities and the economy.


Most mid-large organisations are using AI in some way, shape or form. One of the most publicly transparent adaptors is Telstra. According to a recent Australian Financial Review article,
Telstra is “trying to become an ‘AI-fuelled organisation’, and is halfway through moves to apply AI to all of its key processes”. 

In the article, Telstra’s group executive for product and technology Kim Krogh Andersen sums up the challenge: “When it comes to AI, there is no playbook so we need to learn, and we need to learn faster than we have ever done before.. [we] need to… imagine how this will play out and then apply the conviction to get moving even without all the answers.”

When it comes to governance of AI capabilities, some organisations have better AI policies than others and, alarmingly, some have none. There are also some organisations that ban staff from using AI, which is an approach carrying a Kodak-like risk. In the context of digitally transforming markets, competitors who creatively use AI with good judgement will hurt those who don’t use it at all.

Beyond AI policies, there are other governance framework elements to consider. For example, AI governance taskforces that feature functional and subculture cross-representation can help organisations responsibly build their AI muscle.


To incorporate AI into their businesses, organisations need to curate what is relevant and tolerable from the suite of fragmented offerings in the market. Then, to appropriately harness the power of AI, they will need to put in place a licence to play, appropriate guardrails, strong leadership, a robust governance framework, skill uplift initiatives, and cultural change management.

When people play with AI, they will organically learn about the new tools. They need to be encouraged to be curious, open and willing to dedicate the time, effort and resources to learn how to do something differently. This leadership support will help accelerate skill and capability across the business.

Organic learning should be complemented by more formal learning approaches that cover ethics and command language tools so users can learn appropriate prompting to optimally drive the system.

Of course, not everyone will embrace the change. Change resistance comes in many forms, including scepticism and the “I don’t have time” argument. That’s where effective change management, applied from the bottom-up and top-down, can be critical in achieving the cultural shift needed to make room for technology transformation.

How JOST&Co can help

The journey to achieving AI capability can be complex. We can help leaders assess their organisation’s AI appetite and, once defined, help them understand the likely impact on processes, people and behaviours. We can then support leaders to work through the issues to identify their organisation’s governance guardrails, agreed effort and ways to work fast, and any change management support that’s required.