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AI Readiness Toolkit for professional service firms

People working at a table with lots of papers and materials on the desk
  • Written byCat Cooper
  • Published date08 April 2021
People working at a table with lots of papers and materials on the desk
Design sprint workshop with professionals exploring AI-enabled services © UAL Social Design Institute

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to re-shape services and all kinds of work, but how can companies understand what kind of changes might take place?

During 2018-21, the research project ‘Next Generation Services through Collaborative Design’ explored the grand challenge of AI and its potential impact on business services - in particular mid-size legal and accounting services firms.

Led by UAL researchers Professor Lucy Kimbell, Professor of Contemporary Design Practices and Director, UAL Social Design Institute and Dr Makayla Lewis (previously at UAL), the project team developed a bespoke methodology to give professional services firms actionable insights about AI, and explore what these might mean for their future services and business models. The research demonstrated the value of using design thinking and co-design to enable people with different perspectives on professional services to negotiate the uncertainties and possibilities of emerging technologies such as AI.

The project has also published an AI Readiness Toolkit - a freely available resource that people in the professional service sector can use to discover what AI might mean for their businesses.

Developed over 18 months of UAL-led practical workshops in person and online with UK firms and regulators, the 100-page publication draws on the research about how professional service firms are using AI. It uses design thinking and scenario planning to enable businesses to negotiate uncertainty around the use of AI in working practices, to support the development of strategies and future plans.

Get the toolkit

Access the free PDF version or enquire about a print copy.

More about the project

The ‘Next Generation Services through Collaborative Design’ methodology was developed by UAL researchers with expertise in design thinking and futures, working closely with researchers with expertise in business models, operations management, organisation studies and innovation studies from Oxford Brookes University, Sheffield University, Lancaster University, Manchester University; as well as the Managing Partners Forum and Normann Partners.

The project was funded by UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.