Here’s the third post from Agile Change Manager Amy Leighton off the back of Keely Middleton and Andrew Ferguson’s presentation “Navigating the Impacts of AI as a Change Leader.


Well, the hot topic at ACMP’s Change San Diego 2024 was most certainly Artificial Intelligence (AI). You’d have to be under a rock not to know this is an interest for all organisations right now. How it’s both a helpful tool and a challenge for change practitioners is where more than one session went this year. I have come away feeling inspired for what the future will bring to our profession and, if I’m honest, a little challenged by how we will help support those using AI. Without trying to teach you AI 101 (there are many excellent resources you can read from the experts!), here are my top 5 “things to ponder as a change manager in an AI world”:

1. If you don’t define the problem well with AI, you’ll often get the wrong output back – if you can’t explain it, AI can’t help you. Further- AI works most effectively when you have a defined goal to train towards. AI is not Magic! 

2. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it! You need to do the work, read about the tools, and understand the limitations. This isn’t about fast-tracking the early work.

3. AI cannot generate human empathy or connection – change managers will be more valuable, not less, as AI takes flight. The buzzword is “HITL” or “human in the loop” meaning that AI will always work most effectively when there is a human at the helm.

4.AI is not going anywhere, and it’s not a fad. The hype will only continue. You have a responsibility to understand what it can and can’t do.

5. AI is not a tech problem – it’s a cultural piece and requires a cultural shift. What it is doing is evolving the way we interact with technology. 

There is a lot of fear for people around AI, like robotics before it. Building a tech-savvy culture will help to build resilience and reduce resistance.

There are many immediate opportunities for us to use AI as change managers – sentiment tracking, impact analysis, and persona mapping are just three examples. What have you always thought: “I wish we could make this easier?” – AI might just be able to do that for you!

I’m excited to see where AI takes our profession in the coming years; the technology world (not always so favourable to change management as a whole) has identified that the only way AI will become part of our organisations’ DNA is with the help of change managers. I mean, of course!!