The Rise of Rogue Prompters: When your Employees Outpace Your Organization's AI Maturity

February 6, 2024
Kyle Bunnell
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Hello, I'm Kyle, the head of the tax department at a leading SAAS company. My journey with generative AI, particularly with tools like ChatGPT, began not from a place of expertise in technology, but from a personal curiosity mixed with a fear of becoming obsolete in a rapidly evolving digital world. This exploration led me to an important realization: AI, in its current form and for the foreseeable future, is not a replacement for human intellect but an amplifier of it.

In the beginning, my experiments were simple and domestic - from a deep dive into the world of cheeses with my daughter to birthday party planning and resistance training ideas. These early interactions with AI were more about understanding its capabilities and limitations rather than seeking concrete professional solutions. However, it wasn't long before I began to see potential applications in my professional life.

Going Rogue with AI (And Not Getting Fired)

As I navigated the early stages of my AI journey, I realized that while my initial fear of being replaced by AI was exaggerated, a new concern emerged: the risk of being left behind in a world increasingly adept at leveraging AI. This wasn't about AI taking over; it was about staying relevant in a landscape where proficiency in AI could be a significant differentiator.

Back in March, when GPT-4 was released, I was as stunned then as I am today, by the slow pace of its adoption. Despite its potential to revolutionize workflows and decision-making processes, I observed a cautious, almost hesitant approach towards AI integration in professional settings. This reluctance was not unique to my field; it seemed to be a broader trend across various industries.

Embracing this challenge, I decided to go 'rogue' with AI – not in a reckless manner, but with a calculated approach to explore and integrate AI into my professional toolkit. This meant stepping outside the traditional boundaries of my role as a tax professional and venturing into uncharted territories of AI applications. I began experimenting with AI in various aspects of my work, from optimizing tax strategies to enhancing team communication and project management and using AI generated art within my presentations.

My 'rogue' approach is not about rebelling against our AI policy but about breaking old world paradigms and approaches to “how things are done” by demonstrating the untapped potential of AI in a corporate environment. I aim to show that by adopting AI, we could not only enhance our current workflows but also discover new opportunities for innovation and growth. This wasn't a journey I undertook alone; I curated content creators on my social channels, primarily “X”, I learned from other explorers, joined AI exploration and prompting communities – like Innovation Algebra – where I learn, experiment and share. Internal to the company, it has become a collaborative effort, with team members being encouraged to contribute their insights and ideas, transforming our approach to work.

A Multidimensional Approach to AI Advocacy

My journey in advocating for the adoption of AI in my team, our department and across our organization still has a long way to go. There’s no straight line to AI adoption, and a multi-faceted approach is required to begin an organizational shift towards use of the AI technology:

  • Dialogues with Legal: My interactions with the legal department were an opportunity to provide (unsolicited) feedback on our AI policy; striking a balance between being mindful of risks and seizing the opportunities that AI presents.

  • Contributions to Learning & Development: In the company's AI-focused course, I shared practical use cases and insights to help make AI more accessible and relevant to everyone in our organization.

  • Active Role on Slack Channel: I've been an enthusiastic participant in our Slack channel dedicated to AI, where I share insights from research papers, respond to queries, and highlight AI's practical applications. My aim is to nurture a culture of open learning, experimentation, and sharing.

  • Advocating a Grassroots Approach: I've been a vocal proponent of a bottom-up strategy for AI adoption, encouraging my colleagues to explore how AI can be applied in their unique professional contexts.

  • Showcasing Practical Implementations: By using AI for tasks like documentation, complex legislative analysis, to MS Excel automation, I've demonstrated its ability to enhance accuracy and efficiency. These practical implementations serve as tangible evidence of AI's benefits in our work.

  • Lead by Example: I've integrated AI tools into my daily tasks, showcasing how AI can be a powerful ally in problem-solving and strategic decision-making. 

Ethan Mollick calls those who secretly use generative AI behind the scenes to augment their work as “secret cyborgs”. Our goal should be to encourage the secret cyborgs in our organizations to share their successes and failures so the organization itself can progress and evolve during this fourth turning. 

The Future of AI in the Corporate World

As I continue to make personal breakthroughs using generative AI in a corporate setting, there's much more to explore and share. The journey ahead promises to uncover a myriad of facets – from assessing risks and understanding limitations to seizing opportunities that AI presents.

In my upcoming posts, I plan to dive deeper into specific topics and practical applications of generative AI. Expect insights into how AI is reshaping corporate strategies, influencing decision-making processes, and transforming everyday tasks. We'll also tackle the challenges head-on, discussing the hurdles we encounter and the innovative solutions we develop.

Your Role in This Journey: But this isn’t just my journey – it’s ours. I invite you to join the conversation. Share your experiences, pose questions, or suggest topics you’re curious about. Let’s create a collaborative space where we can all learn, grow, and innovate together.

Stay Connected: To ensure you don't miss out on these insights, I encourage you to follow this blog, engage with the posts, and join our growing community of AI enthusiasts and professionals. Your perspectives and contributions are invaluable in shaping a well-rounded discourse on AI in the corporate world.

Kyle Bunnell
With a 14-year trajectory culminating in leading a multinational SAAS company's tax department, I smoothly helm financial intricacies across 21 entities in 14 countries. My involvement spans from tax efficiency optimization and pioneering court triumphs to advising on corporate expansion and contraction. My fiscal foresight is now tuned towards merging generative AI into financial practices.