Growth Reinvented: Turn Your Data and Artificial Intelligence Into Money’ by Mika Ruokonen_February book review

For my February’s book challenge I chose the book called ‘Growth Reinvented: Turn Your Data and Artificial Intelligence Into Money’ by Mika Ruokonen.

Not an obvious choice for someone like me, who never worked with big data and thought that AI would not touch my sphere of work (which is environment & sustainability). And yet, here I am –  because if you’re not making use of today’s technology wisely, you’re lagging behind. Future is already here.

Mika Ruokonen has been in the digital/software business for more than 15 years now, he noticed that businesses solve tech-related challenges and invent great new products and services, but at the same time they commonly struggle with commercializing them, hence the book was born to help solve this puzzle – ok, we’ve collected the data, now how do we monetize it. 

The book was released in November 2020, so it has a super fresh overview of what’s going on right now.

Drawing on dozens of real-life case studies and existing company examples, it provides a practical step-by-step guide for companies looking to realize the value of and monetize their data and AI offerings.

‘Growth Reinvented’ shows how new technology can be designed as a standalone opportunity to drive forward systemic change.

The focus & scope of the book is in 2 things:

  1. how data & AI change what businesses sell
  2. how data & AI change how businesses make money

The book treats data and AI as software.

I liked how the author takes an angle on data and AI for revenue growth and methodically uncovers how AI can become a corporate asset, a tool to expand the business; what commercial models & monetization strategies are available; how companies can identify important problems worth solving (using data & AI); and how AI-enabled services & revenue models allow for industries’ disruption & carve out new avenues for growth.

Of course, due to my personal & professional interest, I was looking for ESG markers and hints on how collecting environmental-social-and-governance data can help companies to reinvent their business models and boost growth.

And here’s what I found:
In today’s world, there is a  shared responsibility to look at new  business models from a sustainability  angle too. Given the challenges we  are facing in relation to climate change,  loss of biodiversity and overconsumption,  to name just a few, all companies need to  consider carefully whether their anticipated  new product and revenue models create  a positive or negative impact. The key  question is: What is their purpose, from a  sustainability point of view? Do companies use data and AI to act  responsibly and create positive outcomes  for society overall, including various  stakeholders and the environment? Do  they strive to help people reduce or avoid  polluting unnecessarily, or help them to  do things smarter or better? Or do they  instead aim to maximise the sales of  unnecessary junk at the expense of nature  and society, only driving value for their  shareholders?

Some data and AI-enabled business models might be better than others in this respect. For instance, selling outcomes or capacity models commonly enable the selling party to take ownership of system inefficiencies (e.g. energy consumption or wearing out of products).  This gives them a built-in incentive to strive towards efficiency and durability.  The selling data platforms model may also give business leaders an opportunity to put unused assets to work, and replace more harmful ways of working.

Sustainability can be an opportunity and potentially offers a first-mover advantage for those who do it early and well.

Overall, I’d recommend this book for anyone who’s looking to understand how to use AI for good causes and for the benefit of their organization, and in general – what business models that make use of AI are out there.

Have a great read! Share your thoughts with me on LinkedIn 🙂

If you are interested to learn more, I moderated an event on the 10th of March, where Mika, the author of the book, talked about the challenges and opportunities of AI for business growth, whether this business is a product or service-oriented, how COVID-19 altered the canvas, and how anyone can start playing with data & AI for the benefit of their business.

The event was hosted by United Europe – follow their page on your favorite social media platforms for more events of this kind.