Home 2024 Artificial intelligence, real humanity: the soft skill edge in AI innovation

Artificial intelligence, real humanity: the soft skill edge in AI innovation

by Brandi Boyd

Virtually no industry has gone untouched by artificial intelligence (AI). And with IT spend more focused on business outcomes than ever before, the rush to implement AI solutions to drive results is rapidly evolving.

Don’t overlook a key element in your AI-enabled solutions in the rush to success: power skills (also referred to as soft skills) are crucial for AI professionals to keep their technical solutions in check. Read on to discover three reasons why developing and mastering power skills are important for career success.

Dynamic, clever, and powerful – what more could you want?

Artificial intelligence, in the context of an IT organization, is increasingly effective for simplifying processes, removing barriers, creating results, and ultimately driving business outcomes. It’s a dynamic, clever, and powerful tool that can seemingly do anything and everything.

But there’s one key thing it can’t do, and that’s bringing the human element of power skills into the equation. Technical prowess brings about innovation, but power skills are what tie everything together. Power skills include critical thinking, empathy, communication, active listening, and emotional intelligence. Although they are crucial for success, their value is often underestimated within organizations. But why are they so important to master in the context of artificial intelligence?  

What’s at stake and why you should care

IT leaders understand the enormous value AI can bring to organizations, and they understand the value that people bring, too. So how can we bridge the gap between the artificial and the human?

To understand the disconnect, we must zoom out a bit to view the state of the tech industry at large. There is an undeniable skill shortage in the IT space. A study from IDC found that 90% of global organizations will be affected by the IT skills crisis by 2025.1 Power skills can be difficult to measure and quantify, unlike technical skills that can be displayed through a resume or project results. And unlike hard (or technical) skills, power skills can’t easily be replicated through technology. AI isn’t particularly known for its ability to practice empathy, compassion, or emotional intelligence (at least, not yet). 

This skill shortage means organizations might not have the right skilled teams to implement solutions that are both successful in their AI capabilities while being in touch with what power skills have to offer (like better business outcomes and a positive work culture).

But the great news is that this shortage can be your time to shine and be used to your advantage. Power skills can bring enormous benefits to a technical career, especially as the workplace becomes increasingly project-oriented and collaborative. It means not just surviving in the often hyper-competitive tech industry but thriving and accelerating your career.

Keeping on the pulse of power skills: three reasons it matters 

It’s crucial that AI practitioners develop and maintain power skills as they navigate the evolution of new and exciting AI-enabled solutions. Here are three reasons why that’s so important:

1. Bridging the gap between technologists and stakeholders

AI technologists and stakeholders might speak different business languages, but they ultimately have the same goals. And with the two groups working in such different areas of the organization, sometimes that means messages can get lost in translation. Organizations that emphasize strong power skills like communication and active listening are better equipped for more effective decision-making and problem-solving.

Bridging this gap between technical solutions and power skills means people-centric organizations can more easily harness the power of AI while staying aligned on broader business values and goals.

2. People-centric solutions and design considerations

Maintaining a people-centric approach to technical solutions and understanding how products and features make users feel is vital. Power skills like emotional intelligence and empathy translate to creating better, more useful products and features that target customer/end-user pain points in a more direct way.

When building solutions for people, it’s important to keep in mind that these solutions need to address human needs as well. IT solutions can only get you so far in this regard and well-developed power skills are necessary to effectively address these needs.

3. Ethics and morals in the AI space

Addressing ethics in AI is something that cannot be ignored. This is where power skills like critical thinking and empathy play a role in determining the ethics of a solution or practice. Many computer science or IT programs from accredited universities require a course on ethics, and for good reason. While technical ability is undoubtedly the most important trait for a developer to have, it can’t be done without taking ethics into consideration. Power skills can be used to evaluate ethics in AI development and ensure solutions stay on track. 

Where should you start? Five power skills to focus on

So, you know that power skills are important, but where should you start? According to IDC, organizations have ranked the five most important human skills for IT teams to hire or develop in the next 18 months2:

  1. Creativity/innovation
  2. Cross-functional collaboration
  3. Communication
  4. Critical thinking
  5. Empathetic leadership development

When addressing concerns about AI’s impact on society, it’s important to include power skills and humanity/ethics in these conversations so that organizations can maximize the positive results of AI-empowered solutions.

Effective training starts with an all-in-one approach

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of how important power skills are and how to harness them, you might be wondering where to start when it comes to skill building. Training shouldn’t be tricky or overly time-consuming, but it should be accessible, convenient, and even fun.

A platform that allows you to learn technical and business skills in one place is truly valuable for you and your workforce by streamlining the process. But what if you could gain both technical and interpersonal skills all in one place?

Transform your business and your workforce with HPE Digital Learner  

It’s clear that technical skills and power skills are a powerful combination. With HPE Digital Learner, our subscription-based eLearning platform, you have access to everything you need for success. HPE Digital Learner offers thousands of courses on technology, business, and power skills, all in one place. And with an HPE Digital Learner Silver or Gold subscription, you also have access to expert-led webinars, live boot camps, virtual instructor-led training, digital badges, and much more.

Start a 7-day HPE Digital Learner free trial today.

Learn more about our AI training offerings.

Works Cited

1IDC. Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide and U.S. IT Skills and Training for Digital Business. Publication date: September 2022. Document number: #US48020022

2IDC. Skills Forward: A 2023 IT Skills Shortage Survival Guide. Publication date: March 2023. Document number: #DR2023_LL2_AL_GS


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