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You're Not AI Competitive Ready If Innovation Isn't In Your Strategy

We humans must understand that Innovation and invention are critical to economic growth.

But that needs cheap money to flourish. Without it, job and business growth stalls, and the ability to compete against those with capital weakens. For the last two decades, the investment environment has been open to new ideas, concepts, and innovations, especially with technology, and affordable for startups to build their futures.

However, this hyper-speed technological era cannot evolve fast enough without investment capital. The right levels of risk capital must be available and deployed for job and business growth to avoid being muted. Failure to access capital in this economy will stall consumer and business interest and investment in innovations.

Investors have embraced Generative Pre-Trained Transformer GPT, a ground-breaking technology that enhances business performance and engages consumers with next-generation technologies that make consuming goods easier, faster, and more convenient. Companies with foresight invested early, and we will see their dominance in the next 12-24 months.

However, in the retail sector, there is another wave of haves and have-nots brewing, and at the heart of all this is data. The power of which I am discovering not many have accepted or understood. While we are chasing how to leverage customer experiences, the bigger point is being missed. Data is a kingmaker in retail. Imagine the power some of these retailers have at their fingertips, curated datasets feeding AI machines to predict the next big wave of strategies and innovations. Innovation must be at the heart of every brand; innovation doesn't mean incremental. It must be revolutionary because, with AI, everyone will be innovative to some degree. Today, everything is incremental, a little more seasoning to keep consumers interested, but that won't last. It will not be enough!

It's time for businesses to be proactive in securing the right levels of risk capital to remain competitive globally. The right alliances with service providers will also be key.

A few months ago, I introduced a hypothetical model of the pace of Personal AI Assistants (PAIA) and their adoption. It was based on the rates of adoption of other technologies and platforms. If we carefully look at the rate of adoption of PAIAs, you will note below that as you get to 25-35% adoption, the risks to different types of retailers go up.

We are in an era that could become predominantly driven by disruptive innovation; technology, especially AI, if it lives up to its predictive capabilities, can unleash a new level of competition, with the need to stay relevant and dependent on continuous innovation—creating the need for new jobs, skills, and a wave of supportive businesses.

Lower interest rates are the key to this future and the supercycle of growth between 2025-2030.

At the end of the day, there are plenty of discussions about AI being another shiny toy. I would remind everyone that Clayton Christensen warned us in his book The Innovators Dilemma that many companies and great ones failed at the hands of these technologies that didn't look like anything. And the risk today is that we are counting that the cost of getting to a level with AI will be difficult for most financially. That is true, but not for those who will have the advantage or those who understand that industrializing humans and artificial intelligence to work together and create the next generation of strategies and innovations is already happening. Walmart and Canadian Tire have already begun.

Retailers and business leaders have a choice: prepare for this or believe and hear what you want to believe and hear. Just remember that the world of consumers waits for no one. And if you are not leading and creating trends, you are chasing them. That's a risky place to be.

Many are not AI-competitive-ready. Many will stand on stage and tell us about the customer experience being the ultimate solution. They are right. But first, you have to be able to get those consumers into your stores, turn them into buyers, and earn their loyalty. However, as fleeting consumer TikTok memories are as they flip through all the videos, the same thing will happen to a lot of marketing initiatives without the ability to capture data to turn on those AI prediction machines.

My name is George Minakakis. I am the CEO of Inception Retail Group Inc. And the author of The New Bricks & Mortar Future Proofing Retail.

I help retail brands see their way into the future and guide leadership teams in the right direction. My experience is the real world, having been a CEO, Country Manager, Board Chair, and Advisor to executives and boards. I am also a keynote speaker and help companies kick off their strategy meetings with powerful presentations.

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