64% of businesses believe that artificial intelligence (AI) can increase productivity and improve ROI. As a business operating in the product and tech space, its potential makes it impossible for us to ignore.
So, back in July, we arranged a ‘Labs Day’ and set 383 staff a challenge: How can AI drive success for our clients?
What is a Labs Day?
Labs Days are all-company workshops where we take a day out of the studio and challenge our teams to work together to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to answer a brief. At the end of the day, the solutions are presented, and a winning idea is selected.
We’ve run several Labs Days over the years at 383, and created concepts and value propositions to address lots of different challenges: voice interfaces to support the elderly; volunteer portals providing winter transport for NHS staff; digital safeguarding for domestic abuse victims, and augmented reality solutions to self-diagnose home boiler issues.
They are a great way of getting the team out of the day-to-day to dabble in new technology, think about big picture issues, and collaborate with colleagues they might not normally spend a lot of time with.
Aside from seeing remarkable humans come together to work on ideation and concepts, both in-person at 383 HQ and online for our remote team members, the real benefits of Labs Days are for our clients.
As our founder, Sukhi Dehal, puts it, “labs days allow us to figure out how we can innovate in clients’ spaces, so they don’t have to.” Making space for innovation allows us to get thinking about things that our clients haven't thought of before, or haven't got the headspace for.
And alongside some interesting concepts and ideas for development, Labs Days can help us make a subject that appears a little daunting feel more accessible, for our team and for our clients.
This year, we chose to focus our attention on AI, exploring the potential of machine learning, natural language processing, and knowledge engineering to create new digital products and solutions for our clients.
Whilst AI might not be something we end up implementing for every client, it’s a topic that covers a lot of ground, and tackling it would help us encourage creative thinking and see projects through a different lens.
Each team was given a brief, tailored to one of our clients, and asked to think about:
- How AI technologies could be applied to address the challenge or opportunity
- How the concept could be integrated with the client's existing systems or processes
- The potential risks or limitations associated with the proposed solution, and how they could be mitigated
- What a first iteration of the concept could look like, and how we could measure success
I’m not going to waffle on about how brilliant it was to see the collaborative work happening between colleagues, and how much I loved seeing teams conceptualise ideas together and work on team-building, even though all of those things are true.
You won’t be surprised to know that the concepts presented were extraordinary, and every concept could have won the AI Labs Day trophy. As part of the judging panel, I can say we were completely in awe of how the teams came up with such rounded and well-presented concepts and prototypes in just 6 hours…. although, there can only be one winner!
Here’s an overview of the AI concepts that were presented.
Worcester Bosch: Home heating assistant
Designed for homeowners who are seeking a seamless and personalised experience to meet their specific home heating needs.
The assistant provides an end-to-end, immersive experience that learns the customer’s needs, and guides them through each step of purchasing, installing, servicing and maintaining a boiler to ensure a quick, easy and stress-free process.
Bosch installers also benefit by being able to accept and complete jobs more efficiently using the virtual assistant data.
The results for the customer? A trustworthy solution that leaves them confident they have made the right decision for an expensive and important purchase.
And for Worcester Bosch, the assistant helps drive enquiries directly through the website, increase boiler sales revenue, and supports installers when it comes to fitting and servicing.
Glenmorangie: Cocktail generator
Focussed on tapping into a new audience for Glenmorangie of approximately 17 million 18-39 year olds, an AI driven cocktail recommendation tool enables customers to discover the perfect cocktail for them.
With the age demographic expecting everything they need to be easily and quickly accessible, the cocktail generator helps with product discovery, meaning the perfect tipple is just a few clicks away.
Our team estimated this tool could generate 500% more traffic for Glenmorangie, as well as improving customer service and experience, potentially creating £730k in revenue.
Merlin Entertainments: The Magical Experiences Generator
Working with five key problems that Merlin customers encounter, the vision for The Magical Experiences Generator - aka, MEG - is to harness conversational insights to identify visitor preferences. Think everything from thrill-seeking adventures, to emotionally-driven visits, to educational and learning experiences.
MEG will offer a conversational experience to proactively suggest the most relevant park attractions and amenities, to help the customer envision their park experience from start to finish. For customers, this means they are just a few clicks away from finding their perfect day out at a Merlin attraction without the need for extensive research.
For Merlin, this tool could lower bounce rate on their sites and, in turn, increase conversion to booking rates.
Fleetcor: Virtual account manager
To support Fleetcor’s SME client base and improve retention, we used AI to create a virtual account manager. Fleet managers can use the tool to can ask questions, gain help navigating the portal, and raise issues.
This helps them better manage their fleet, with regular prompts suggesting actions to improve performance, reduce costs and optimise resources.
For Fleetcor, it means they can receive real-time, actionable insights from their SME customer base, and improve customer satisfaction.
Hilton: Conversational search engine
Named for Hilton Hotels’ founder, Conrad is an AI enhanced conversational search engine who will act as a ‘wingbot’ to find the perfect Hilton hotel for every customer.
The current search experience relies heavily on users adding filters to narrow down hotel choices and that can result in thousands of results to look through. AI can be used to improve consideration to purchase for Hilton customers by providing a more personalised experience.
Using natural language processing, a chatbot provides a conversational search experience. And because tools like ChatGPT can learn and improve on responses, it can refine the results to create a more personalised search.
This solution can also help create an alternative search interface that might help users with different accessibility needs or preferences - for example, people who use voice commands.
And for Hilton, the tool can help to collect data on user needs beyond existing filters and options, increase booking and conversion rates and supports brand discovery.
And the winner was…
Worcester Bosch: Home heating assistant
Our panel decided to award the Worcester Bosch team solution as the winning concept, because it essentially solves a multitude of problems.
The team didn't just focus on one single customer segment; they considered the end user, they considered the business, and they considered intermediaries.
They've really created a holistic concept, which is answering lots of different problems, and we were blown away by how rounded and well thought through it was.
And here is the team in all their glory with their magnificent trophy!