Inspiration from the Summit: Opportunity awaits

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Tech Community - Latest Blogs - .

A month has flown by since I was part of the inspiring and energetic atmosphere at the Microsoft Global Nonprofit Leaders Summit. Microsoft's inaugural event aimed to bring together nonprofit leaders worldwide passionate about leveraging technology and AI amplify their organizations' impact. 


Wipfli booth in the partner lobby at the Global Nonprofit Leaders Summit.Wipfli booth in the partner lobby at the Global Nonprofit Leaders Summit.

Invention. Adoption. Diffusion.


One of my favorite speakers of the summit was the opening keynote with Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft. During his keynote, he emphasized the importance of “invention, adoption, and diffusion” and the significance of these stages in driving social change. Invention sparks creativity, adoption ensures practical implementation, and diffusion amplifies impact, fostering a collective movement for positive change.


With an estimated 10M non-governmental organizations (NGO) addressing key societal challenges and issues, ranging from human rights and poverty alleviation to healthcare accessibility and environmental conservation, could you imagine the impact and possibility?!


Trevor Noah *Insert big fan shriek!*


Another favorite session of mine was the sit-down Q&A with Trevor Noah, Microsoft’s Chief Questions Officer and Founder of the Trevor Noah Foundation, and Kate Behncken, Global Head of Microsoft Philanthropies. Not only is he hilarious, but he’s got some serious wisdom to share.


His take on the 80/20 rule – using AI to tackle the mundane stuff so we can focus on what really matters (those human-to-human connections and the impact that can be derived from those connections and relationships).


Plus, Noah’s advice on becoming prompt engineers stuck with me: “You cannot learn if you’re not willing to be wrong. Remember, you are not tied to an idea. If you can separate the two, the idea may change, but you are still you.” And I have a feeling that this little nugget Trevor Noah shared with us was intended to apply beyond how we engage with AI…


AI in the loop


There was a theme that was reinforced throughout the event and is a persistent topic in conversations with our clients. How can we as an organization embrace the concept of designing, building, and executing with “AI in the loop”? “AI in the loop” refers to a concept where AI is integrated into a process or system that also involves human decision-making and oversight.


“AI in the loop” emphasizes the collaboration between humans and AI, recognizing that both play essential roles in creating effective and valuable systems and processes such as program management, decision making, fundraising and donor management, marketing, training, data collection and analysis, and recruitment and retention.


Have you thought about how your organization could benefit by applying this concept?


Inclusive AI is responsible AI


We also had some serious conversations around Responsible AI. It's not just about ticking boxes and following rules; it's about ensuring AI is fair, trustworthy, and inclusive. It’s imperative that we advocate the amplification of voices often unheard and to design with global perspectives in mind.


We should learn alongside the nonprofits and communities we serve. Ask what these organizations need, not what they should have. After all, nonprofits are the beating hearts in these communities around the globe.


When we think of technology, we need to think in the global context – Who is being served? Who is designing? What are the prototypes and use cases?


Three interactive pop-ups at the Global Nonprofit Leaders Summit on display in the Community Zone.Three interactive pop-ups at the Global Nonprofit Leaders Summit on display in the Community Zone.

Opportunity awaits


AI can help organizations specialize and differentiate. AI can help provide new way of thinking. It can bridge gaps, reduce inequities, and uncover insights to accelerate ahead. It can be transformational.


And going back to responsible AI, how do we increase global production while sharing prosperity equitably? How do we address the edge use cases – those whispered challenges – to design and build for a more equitable and inclusive future?


Given the rapid pace and evolution of AI and emerging technologies, everyone needs to be prepared for change management. It transcends mere strategy – it’s about culture, practice, and collective navigation. Change is challenging, but it can also be exciting.  

Nonprofits with strong leadership, ability, and willingness to invest, and an appetite to leverage innovative technology can thrive amidst the rapid and evolving changes impacting our communities.


How we can help


As one of the most experienced advisory firms in the country, Wipfli can help your nonprofit. No matter what your needs are, Wipfli’s nonprofit specialists bring experience, knowledge, and best practices to empower your organization and allow you to focus on what matters most.


And when it comes to AI, our team uses the following framework to help you address your needs:  

  • AI Opportunity Discovery: We collaborate across your organization to pinpoint AI opportunities tailored to your unique needs. Beyond data management, we consider the broader impact on people, risk, growth, and data. Our goal – to uncover AI possibilities that deliver meaningful value. 
  • Strategic Roadmap Building: This roadmap isn’t about quick wins, it’s a blueprint for sustained AI value. We integrate AI into your people, processes, and technology. Think beyond immediate gains – this roadmap sets the stage for long-term success. 
  • Collaborative Activation and Cultural Shift: As we activate the roadmap together, our focus extends beyond technical implementation. We will help build a culture where data drives decisions. Our goal is to empower your organization to seamlessly adopt and leverage AI to accelerate their impact, ensuring alignment with your strategic objectives.


If you were inspired or had any questions following the summit, please reach out to me or my colleagues Ryan Risley, Kathleen DuBois, Chris Bryant, and Andrew Potasek to continue the conversation!


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