• Nadine Fahim, Director |
  • Jessica Ellingsen, Senior Consultant |

The last several years have reinforced the fact that innovation matters during uncertain times. Throughout the pandemic, innovation flourished out of necessity. In today’s economic climate, companies are finding opportunity in disruption, innovating to strengthen resilience and get back to growth. Through it all, the rapid emergence of new technologies is giving rise to exciting opportunities in corporate innovation. 

Technology taking the world by storm

Generative artificial intelligence (AI) may be the most exciting of these emerging technologies. It has captured the world’s attention—and imagination. This technology reflects years of machine learning and natural language processing innovation, and it’s evolving all the time.

More than the latest technology buzz, generative AI is poised to revolutionize many aspects of our lives, and the transformation is already underway. Executives agree. In fact, according to KPMG’s recent U.S. survey, 77% of executives think that generative AI will have more impact on broader society in the next three to five years than any other emerging technology.  

Where generative AI meets innovation

KPMG firms are enthusiastic about generative AI. KPMG Illuminate professionals are especially interested in how it can help innovate innovation. More specifically, how can generative AI improve the innovation lifecycle to transform how companies develop new products and services?

To try to get some answers, we went straight to the source. We asked ChatGPT how generative text, video and audio technologies could help across the various phases of innovation. As you can see below, it had a lot to say—from aggregating market data faster to optimizing the innovation portfolio as the market evolves.

Where does generative AI fit into the innovation lifecycle? Everywhere, according to ChatGPT.


Chat GPT Visual

Shaping the future of how companies innovate

While these ideas were intriguing, they were only a starting point. The power of emerging technologies like generative AI comes from how they interact with humans—from the special combination of human and machine intelligence. That’s why KPMG decided to bring humans into this exploration and launch our first-ever client co-innovation challenge focused on generative AI.

In this spirit, KPMG and ITONICS co-sponsored the Global Generative AI Innovation Challenge on KPMG Illuminate. More than 10,000 innovators were invited, including ITONICS and KPMG member firm clients to take part. Participants were asked to tackle a key question: What generative AI solutions can be developed to drive transformational innovation within an organization?

The challenge was an opportunity to gather a community of thinkers eager to collaborate, exchange best practices and cultivate breakthrough ideas for improving innovation management with generative AI. One participant described the experience like this: “It’s very inspiring to see so many brains working on this challenge of combining innovation and generative AI.” Another said, “Challenges like this give people a platform to make their ideas heard.”

When the brightest minds dare to dream

A diverse group of judges from around the world, including some from KPMG’s global network of generative AI and innovation leaders, evaluated submissions on newness and creativity, disruption to the innovation process, feasibility of execution and ability to scale. One of our “evaluators” also included KPMG’s own generative AI tech solution which scored all of the ideas and provided feedback. Five semi-finalist teams were selected, and they were paired with mentors to help create a business case and pitch for developing a proof of concept.

The semi-finalists’ ideas focus on different aspects of the innovation lifecycle. One team created a tech solution that tracks progress across the incubation phase, predicting potential issues, suggesting corrective actions and optimizing resource allocation. Another team developed a way to democratize access to company experts in the ideation phase with a panel of AI agents. A team focused on using AI personas as representative digital twins to streamline the client feedback process. There was a team interested in how generative AI can turn client asks into measurable technical requirements to shorten project scoping and solutioning. Finally, a team developed a tech solution that delivers relevant digests of market trends, technological advancements and competitor activities right to people’s inboxes.

The semi-finalists had several things in common. These teams approached the challenge as true problem solvers, identifying real pain points that they wanted to address. As one team member explained, “Everyone wants automatically generated content, but whether the content is relevant or not seems secondary. That’s why I thought about how to combine a generative approach with a recommendation engine that ensures the automatically generated content is relevant to each individual user.”

Each of the semi-finalist teams also put thought into how their tech solution augments the human experience. As generative AI advances, innovation practitioners should be learning how to collaborate with it and leverage it as an assistant expanding their creative thinking into designing effective and responsible use cases and prompts.

Building on a strong foundation

The challenge is a natural extension of KPMG member firms to work co-innovating with clients and alliances. Having already established KPMG Illuminate as the KPMG global innovation platform powered by ITONICS, we were equipped to quickly develop and launch this event to over 30 member firm clients across more than 100 countries and jurisdictions, while also making the experience collaborative and engaging for participants.

The world has only scratched the surface on what generative AI can do. KPMG professionals will continue to focus on emerging technologies, exploring new ideas and seeking to amplify their impact. That’s how member firms can help clients pursue the innovation that can help to create a new future for their business.  

Contact the Global KPMG Illuminate team at illuminate@kpmg.com to learn more about our innovation challenges and how we can improve your innovation capabilities. 

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