Why we’re doing this project
Despite Canada’s robust ecosystem of fundamental research on AI, Canadian firms lag global peers in using AI to support and enhance their businesses. Canada’s economic performance could be greatly enhanced by accelerating the pace of AI adoption among its firms and businesses that stand to benefit. Through an examination of available literature, the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship identified talent as a core trend across all barriers and pre-conditions for AI adoption.
Challenges are varied, but financial uncertainty, lack of technological understanding, inflexible organizational culture and structure, and lack of infrastructure are among the most cited barriers to AI adoption for Canadian businesses. Overcoming these barriers and achieving productivity gains is, in large part, a human capital issue. To effectively adopt AI, companies may require specific skills and knowledge across all of their business functions. These talent needs extend well beyond tech skills and data science, spanning strategy, risk evaluation, change management, ethical and policy analysis, and the ability to work alongside AI technologies.
The complex nature of AI, as well as the variety of applications businesses can adopt, make it difficult to know precisely the type of talent, infrastructure, and processes needed, as well as how these investments should be integrated together. To date, there has not been a comprehensive investigation into the implementation-enabling skills and roles that are required to successfully integrate AI within firms.