“Governance” and “innovation” are terms of such global importance today that an innovation governance event billed as “the first global leadership roundtable centered on issues at the intersection of [artificial intelligence] innovation and governance” was hosted in Belgium in March. No less than the country’s deputy prime minister cohosted the event.
Few can forget Elon Musk’s comments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Massachusetts, USA) as quoted by The Guardian on 27 October 2014: “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.” USA Today reported cosmologist Stephen Hawking saying that artificial intelligence (AI) could prove to be “the worst event in the history of civilization” on 2 January 2018. The source reminds us that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg poo-pooed these warnings. The summit’s participants, however, recognize that there is a potential issue and, therefore, aim to begin the conversation of AI innovation governance at a global policy level.
Closer to home, ISACA’s CGEIT Review Manual reminds us of John C. Henderson and N. Venkatraman’s strategic IT-business alignment model, published in the IBM Systems Journal back in 1999, titled “Strategic Alignment: Leveraging Information Technology for Transforming Organizations.” While the model provides a “competitive potential alignment” perspective, the question of the governance of that transformation is unanswered. For 1999, this was forgivable, as innovation governance was likely nowhere near top-of-mind. Today, forgiveness is increasingly less likely.
Pragmatically, the call for global policy-led AI innovation governance is at an extreme end of the IT innovation governance spectrum. For corporations, innovation governance matters because organizational resources are involved and because it is a governance imperative to ensure that those resources are appropriately directed toward fulfilling the organization’s strategy. While some may be familiar with the risk and compliance aspects of innovation, fewer might be familiar with the corporate governance imperatives associated with corporate innovation. My Journal article aims to create awareness of the need for improved corporate innovation governance in the interest of good corporate governance.
A follow-up AI innovation governance summit is already planned for the United States this year. If its future impact results in various government policies being established, regional regulations are sure to follow. And where there are more regulations, governance oversight and compliance management are imperatives, which ensures that innovation governance becomes increasingly topical at the board level.
Read Guy Pearce’s recent Journal article:
“Minimizing the High Risk of Failure of Corporate Innovation,” ISACA Journal, volume 2, 2018.