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The secret of the superhuman is you and AI

The Secret of the Superhuman is you (and AI)

Unlocking future-readiness with three essential human skills.

Authored by Maxine Smith, Managing Director and Alexandra Fulford, Senior Principal, Uptake for PM Group Worldwide Ltd, PME Magazine.

It can feel that the talk of artificial intelligence (AI)-driven change is everywhere, but the impact hasn’t yet been felt. Externally, we’re told that hyper-personalisation and AI-driven agility are essential to survival, but the reality within most pharmaceutical organisations is that teams of experts are locked away in secret rooms discussing the next steps while telling the rest of us not to play with the toys just yet, as the risks are too great. It’s almost as though we are in ‘the eye of the storm’. The impact is absolutely coming, so we’d better get ready! But how do we do that?

Remember, you are not alone and nor are you the last to the party. The problem of AI insecurity exists within practically every organisation we’ve spoken to and very few are ready to press the big red ‘go’ button. Reassuringly, there are positive actions we can take while we are in limbo.

Let’s raise our ‘human game’ and stand out as the superhumans, able to drive maximum impact now and ready to use AI to our advantage when the time comes!

Superhuman skill number one: critical thinking

Critical thinking ability sets humans apart from machines. It drives us towards better outcomes and makes us better leaders. Helen Lee Bouygues, president of the non-profit organisation ‘Reboot’, says that everyone can be a better critical thinker with the ‘SHARP’ method1:

  1. Stop: pause and reflect, using rational thinking rather than automatic responses
  2. Hone: improve reasoning abilities by asking plenty of questions
  3. Accumulate: go deep into ideas and facts – analyse the data and learn what to avoid
  4. Reason: use evidence to confirm or discount a hypothesis and ensure ideas are backed up
  5. Perspective: look at problems in different ways, from different vantage points.


In terms of AI-readiness, honing this superhuman skill is essential. AI can provide answers and generate content in real time, but it falls short in certain domains. Critical thinking is vital to set the strategies that fully consider industry, organisational and regulatory nuances and to be vigilant to issues like hallucinations – fictitious content or data generated by AI tools that may sound genuine.

One of our most important roles is safeguarding our ethics and that of our patients – including their information.

Superhuman skill number two: creativity

True creativity, although often associated with AI’s ability to generate innovative ideas, remains a human skill. Fostering a culture that encourages creativity, supports the ‘wild’ ideas and embraces design thinking will support differentiation and distinctiveness.

Over time, true creativity seems to have been knocked out of many teams across the industry (another template anyone?!) and perhaps the digital evolution has played a part in this, with our growing reliance on tech, but we have noticed a positive trend: organisations are increasingly recognising the need for investment to turn the tide.  Uptake’s transformation experts are being drafted into global organisations to deliver our innovation mindset training, boost entrepreneurialism and support the change that is needed to stand out and thrive.

Once you have AI tools at your disposal, your innovative mindset and wild ideas, particularly when paired with your superhuman critical thinking skills, will be the driving force that keeps you on your unique path, thinking big and bold and being the first to try something new, or switch directions with agility, rather than simply joining the lemmings and diluting into obscurity.

Superhuman skill number three: empathy

Machines cannot fully master empathy, although they can do a good job of masquerading as emotional beings. The inherent passion to help patients, deeply set into our industry from R&D to product maturity, relies on the human touch, ensuring that messages resonate authentically and adds the nuanced understanding required for effective patient support programmes.

The world is providing machines with fewer third-party cookies, so the ability of the teams of the future to build trust will be pivotal to maximising AI tools, which depend so heavily on personal data. It is only through humans that we will realistically gain the quality zero-party data that will be used for interactions and decisions.

So, are you ready to be superhuman?

Don’t wait to be told about your role in using AI – start honing human skills today, so that when AI fully lands in your organisation, you are ready to unlock its true potential.


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