Fast kid phenomenon

Avoid this key pitfall to realizing value from adopting generative AI in your proposal center

Bottom line up front: proposal organizations adopting AI in 2024 require a holistic approach more than individual superstars to see benefits. Read Shipley Primer to learn that approach.

An unusual silence descends over the classroom of fifth graders, save for the scratching of No. 2 pencils on paper and a bell-shaped wave of test book pages flipping. The teacher attempts to soften her sigh of relief now that everyone is on task. She scans the faces of her students hard at work—some displaying confidence, some worry, most matter-of-fact focus with a hint of resignation. And one or two smirks belying the subconscious assessment that the test is laughably easy.

After a short while, those smirks turn to smiles of satisfaction when the final test questions are answered a full 20 minutes before the bulk of students will begin to finish.

The fast kids.

Throughout 2023, we saw remarkable advancements in generative AI tools and their underlying language models. Some proposal professionals took to these like ducks to water and developed amazing techniques to do their jobs better and faster. More of us at least recognized the potential for AI to accelerate proposal development and perhaps took a few webinars on prompt engineering. And now we know that organizations will make a concerted effort to adopt AI in 2024. Corporate executives in many industries are being incentivized to effectively adopt AI and move their top-line and bottom-line needles in big ways. (The state of AI in 2023: Generative AI’s breakout year | McKinsey)

Fast forward to 2024: Generative AI tools are buzzing in proposal centers, but something’s missing. It’s not the individual champions who mastered prompts and slashed timelines. It’s the collective magic of an AI-powered team, moving mountains in unison.

Remember your elementary school classmates who breezed through every test? Sure, they were done, but their individual speed wasn’t beneficial to the group. The class could only move on once everyone was finished. The fast kids? Bored, frustrated, wasting their potential.

The same holds true for AI in a proposal effort. While some proposal management and writing tasks are ripe for automation, no single AI tool can handle the complex dance of RFP analysis, compliant responses, and seamless delivery. The key lies in augmenting, not replacing, empowering individuals within your existing process.

Think of it as a layer cake:

• Bottom layer: Your solid, established proposal process.
• Middle layer: The approach and process, integrating AI tools to enhance individual performance.
• Top layer: The magic emerges as the whole team, armed with AI, works in sync.

Here’s why this unified team approach trumps fast trackers:

1. Focus on individuals, not superheroes: AI fuels everyone’s performance, not just a select few.
2. Process remains the same, benefits multiply: You leverage existing roles and workflows, but AI accelerates individual tasks, collapsing timelines.
3. Avoid making your RFP response schedule look like “Swiss cheese”: Single-step automation creates idle gaps while the overall project duration remains relatively the same. A team-wide approach condenses the entire workflow.
4. Imagine a month-long proposal done in a week: With 80% of steps AI-powered, the entire team races towards the finish line.

So, what about the fast kids? They become Proposal Acceleration Specialists, the newest RFP support and proposal training rock stars in your team. They’ll pilot cutting-edge techniques, inspire others, and guide the entire organization towards AI mastery.

Ready to unlock the power of a unified AI-powered proposal team? Grab your copy of Shipley Primer and learn how to equip your winning team with the AI they need to win more.