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Why Luke?

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

What prepares me for teaching and guiding organisations on their AI journeys?


Summary

  • A technology business leader for 25 plus years

  • Founded three technology companies

  • Led and delivered well over 350 technology related projects

  • Technology in Business, Masters degree (and a technical BSc)

  • Nurtured a lifelong interest in AI, including writing AI algorithms

  • Held many senior roles (boards & SLTs)


A rich & diverse history

My personal background and experience is a little different to those that might label themselves as “AI Consultants”. I see this as an advantage when supporting organisations through what could be a challenging journey into the world of AI. Here is why.


My history is rich and broad, which helps me understand the many perspectives that need to be considered when it comes to delivering initiatives that will change, and possibly disrupt, an organisation.


This diversity of perspective and ‘been there done that’ history means I don't need to rely heavily on any one worldview, methodology or tech stack. I have seen the good and bad of most approaches, and learned from my own missteps along the way.


For me, there are no tech ivory towers, I tend to be pragmatic and outcomes focused, doing what it takes to deliver. This can be particularly helpful in times of uncertainty and change, when it is essential to be able to go back to first principles, carry out wise experiments, and keep making progress.


I prioritise people and business over tech. Even though the majority of my professional life has been spent in the tech industry, it's the businesses and teams that get things done, I see tech as an enabler, and not a solution in, and of, itself.


From the top down my include experiences includes:

  • A business owner with revenues, profits, stakeholders, compliance (and more) to consider

  • A senior leadership team member, defining strategies, building teams and being accountable

  • Winning and leading large and successful projects for clients, keeping internal and external stakeholders aligned and happy

  • Designing delivery methodologies for novel and complex projects

  • Training and mentoring professionals on work practices and technical topics


Commercial & business experience

Over a 25 year career I have founded three different businesses (with varying levels of success). One pure tech start up, one distribution company and one tech agency. All in the tech sector, but serving different markets and business needs.


Senior leadership roles

Outside of the businesses I have founded, I have also served on boards and SLTs in more corporate environments. This opened my eyes to how a diversity of views can be both a strength and also impose limits or controls on initiatives.


Business development

For many years I functioned as the BD (and project) lead in a few companies. Outside of ‘sales processes’ this has taught me plenty about understanding different business and the individuals needs, and the differences between aspirations and necessity!


Team building and restructuring

In both our own businesses, and others, I have needed to set up delivery teams. These teams have been in multiple locations globally, and constitute a variety of skill sets, seniorities, attitudes and cultures. Some situations have called for restructuring (happily most have not), many have involved bringing multiple groups together to work towards a common goal.


Project leadership

Individual projects take on a life of their own, each with it's own mix of purpose, people, complexities and methods. To most projects my approach tends to revolve around clear definition of outcomes and then building a path to those goals. This builds upon the experience gained from running in excess of 400 projects over 25 years.


Technical and AI projects

The large majority of projects that I have been involved with have been technical in nature. At a high level they have included design and development of applications and websites. These have varied from more simple communications tools to complex and business critical workflow, decision tools, data heavy systems and systems of record. Almost all of these utilise the web/internet in some way, a much smaller proportion have utilised pure (generative) AI, but that number is now increasing!


Consulting and leading initiatives

Possibly the activity that I enjoy most and have done the most of involves understanding a situation (challenges, people, resources, systems etc) and designing feasible technical solutions that fit nicely with all the existing puzzle pieces. I am good at understanding complex environments and knowing what paths forward are both valuable and attainable.


Designing methodologies

New technologies do not only disrupt industries, they require new ways of thinking, designing and building with them to implement them in projects and products. Often this includes steps towards trial and error (prototyping, MVPs) and away from waterfall and big-bang (but not always). As technologies have changed I have created, and had published, several methodologies and approaches, this flexibility of thinking helps me teach and deliver successful projects.


Teaching & training

I identify three, relatively distinct modes of teaching and learning that apply in business when it comes to a technology like AI. Each of which I have designed and delivered for many organisation over the years:

  • Educating leaders: A baseline of knowledge, building a capability to plan and strategize

  • Building Organisational knowledge: Embedding knowledge sources (including guide rails and policies) to enable ongoing growth and learning

  • Training users: Helping individuals understand and safely/successfully use a system or technology


If these are kinds of skills and experiences that sound like they could add some value and provide some guidance in your organisation or project please contact me to discuss your initiative and ask any questions.


Thanks!


Luke Farley

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