Cleve Gibbon

content management, content modelling, digital ecosystems, technology evangelist.

Into 2024 with technology, workloads, and AI

As the calendar flipped to 2024, I found myself wanting more. After a transformative decade at WPP. A period marked by growth, learning, and remarkable achievements. I decided it was time for a change. This decision wasn’t made lightly. It was the culmination of introspection and a desire for new challenges. Thus, I bid farewell to WPP and took a well-deserved sabbatical to recharge and refocus. I’m now at Omnicom with a focus on technology, workloads and AI.

WPP

My journey with WPP started with a bang in Apr 2014. Our company, Cognifide, was acquired by WPP under the Wunderman OpCo. Wunderman was undergoing massive digital transformation. Cognifide’s role within WPP was to build owned experience platforms for its clients. Many clients. Ford, Investec, ColPal, EY, HSBC, Dell, Herman Miller, Coutts, Barclays, Unilever, Shell, etc. We delivered hundreds of digital platforms during my time at WPP. Then Wunderman became Wunderman Thompson after it merged with JWT, and now it’s VML. I left WPP after a couple of years of leading technology back into The Coca-Cola Company.

So what changed?

Me. After graduating from Oxford University in 2023 with a Master’s in AI for Business, the world looked very different. Something unlocked in me. Like many others, I believe that AI is mission-critical to businesses and people. But it was more than using AI, which is just technology. I’m curious about the operationalization of AI across the organization and equally its widespread adoption. What are the better business outcomes that an intelligent enterprise can deliver at scale, with speed, and sustainably? There’s so much going on. Understanding workloads, standardization of approaches, automating where appropriate, leveraging AI, and tying everything back to results has my full attention.

Omnicom

So, I joined Omnicom in 2023. They have a clear mission, with key partners like Microsoft, and have invested in an AI-driven future. Now I’m part of a technology team helping to accelerate Omnicom towards that future reality.

What’s next?

Focus and execute. Listen and learn. Collaborate and communicate. And above all else, keep moving forward into 2024.

Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Automation (AiA)

Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Automation (AiA) are connected by intelligence.  And it’s no coincidence.  

Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Automation.

(Intelligent) Automation

The corporate ask of automation remains the same; do more with less.  Because time is money. Automation is an efficiency play to do things right. Map out the processes that people follow to get things done. Then, start automating the simple tasks to free up increasing amounts of time to do things better suited for humans.  

What we really want is for people to adopt more automation, adapt their current ways of working, to ultimately readily embrace machines as part of their everyday.  Let’s be clear, augmented humans are (going to be) more productive than non-augmented ones.  The future of work is less about (wo)man being replaced by machines, but more about augmented humans displacing non-augmented ones.  This is why workers that ignore what’s happening today do so that their risk, and will more likely end up on the wrong side of the change equation.  

Automation doesn’t create much.  It optimizes a lot.  Intelligent automation uses AI to learn how to automate repetitive and routine tasks.  

Artificial (Intelligence)

AI is the technology that enables machines to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence.  AI is an effectiveness play to do the right things. Machines run algorithms that analyze data, find patterns in it, and make predictions off it.  Today, AI makes routine predictions that need humans to make those last-mile decisions.  You must’ve terms like keeping the human in the loop. Humans still provide the necessary guardrails on decision-making and learning goals to continuously progress machines gain more and more human intelligence.  

However, machines are learning faster than humans in specific contexts.  Once trained, AI required less data, in new contexts, to make accurate predictions.  AI is accelerating toward machine intelligence.

Smarter Children

So, what if as a parent you knew that your child was going to be so much smarter than you ever could be? Not only that but your child’s intelligence could potentially periodically double ad infinitum.   What would you do?  And how would you do it? 

As a civilization, we have struggled to manage the human race with many amazing leaps and near-disastrous events along the way.  We are adding machines into the mix and are re-writing new rules of engagement.  I hope we do better than the Titans and Olympians, where Zeus and his siblings overthrew their parents. Humans are not Titans, and machines are not Olympians. However, we are going to have to work hard to co-exist and deftly sidestep the fall of the Titans (read as humanity)!

Automate today

The promise of automation is to lighten your current load.  To give you more time to focus on the things that matter most.  However, you have to give up precious time now to get more time later.  For already time poor, busy people, that’s just too much for them to automate today. 

The tomorrow never comes syndrome is everywhere.  For companies, we see them tripping over short term revenue wants when struggling to meet long term value needs.  Or at home, sacrificing retirement investments to literally survive today.  

But you have to make a call. And it’s your call.  Do you want to be in the same place next year, or somewhere else?  If the latter, then invest the time.  Automation is supposed to make things better in the long run.  However, we don’t know how much better.  So we hesitate, and many never take that essential first step towards progress.  It’s time to get out of your own way.

Automate today example

I’ve been a long time user of Things.  It’s a task-based tool that runs across all my Apple devices.  I never forget stuff because Things remembers and reminds me.  It’s by task brain. This weekend I got notification that Things had integrated with Apple Shortcuts to better automate tasks.  I was excited at first, and then sighed. But instead of parking the task and kicking that learning downstream, I took the time to educate myself today. 

After a couple of hours of reading and testing, I had converted my micro tasks into macro actions. This equates to a 30 minute saving every day.  That was definitely worth the two hours upfront investment time. I gambled and won.

The automation returns for organisations are literally off the scale.  But you have to give to get. Don’t believe that tomorrow never comes.  It always does.  And when it does, be better than the day before.  Otherwise, what are you doing? 

About Cleve Gibbon



Hey, I’m Cleve and I love technology. A former academic that moved into fintech to build trading platforms for investment banks. 20 years ago I switched to marketing and advertising. I joined a content technology spin-off from the Publicis network that was bought by WPP in 2014. I'm now at Omnicom. These pages chronicle a few of things I've learnt along the way…


My out-of-date cv tells you my past, linked in shares my professional network and on twitter you can find out what I'm currently up to.