NFP leaders, it's time to upgrade our chat

Posted on 16 Mar 2023

By Adele Stowe-Lindner, general manager, Institute of Community Directors Australia

DALL E 2023 01 30 16 02 36 Produce a photo realistic image of a group of six people meeting around a kitchen table
We asked artificial intelligence tool DALL-E 2 to "create a photo-realistic image of six people meeting around a kitchen table". The results are both impressive, yet disturbing. Tap here try it yourself.

Songwriters from Bob Dylan (“The times they are a-changin”) to Tracey Chapman (“Talkin’ ‘bout a revolution”) to Radiohead (“Idioteque”) have seen change as something in the air, beyond our control, something that can afflict us if we don’t get with the program.

ICDA general manager Adele Stowe-Lindner

Covid-19 surely gave us each a PhD in change management, and we can be forgiven for wanting a break from upheaval. But far from getting a break, we seem to be facing even more change, more quickly, as the pandemic shows off its long tail.

Economic conditions have shifted considerably and are not easy for not-for-profits, with donations of time and money less reliable than they might hope for. And in a sign of the lightning speed of technology development, a newer and more powerful version of ChatGPT has been launched onto the web while most of us are still trying to make sense of the first release.

Even though the tool is still in its research phase, it has immediately promised to challenge humans as creators. Our children’s bedtime stories might never be the same.

It's important for NFPs to engage with AI even if only because everyone else is. In people-centred sectors, we tend to close our eyes and ears to new technology, assuming it’s too expensive or too time-consuming to learn – either way, it’s beyond our reach in a resource-starved sector. However, our competitors for time and money are using it, so if we don’t commit to jumping in, or at least sticking our toes in the ChatGPT water, we will be left behind, just like the organisations that refused to adapt to delivering services online during covid lockdowns (I’m sure we all know of at least one – they’ve gone out of business by now).

ChatGPT can’t tie a kid’s shoelaces, console a colleague or take a client for a walk. But it can write a solid (if ordinary) marketing flyer, construct a drily funny stand-up comedy set, compose complex coding, organise the responses to our survey into themes, or posit an organisational SWOT analysis, so that we can do those human-centred things more often and better. If that’s not a case for NFPs dabbling in the world of AI, I don’t know what is.

More of Adele's leadership insights

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