3 Key Lessons from Adam Martel on AI at Work

Posted by Alyssa Verzino on Jan 23, 2019 11:30:00 AM


Today, Gravyty is a Boston-based artificial intelligence company developing self-writing emails to revolutionize frontline fundraising at nonprofit organizations. What do self-writing emails mean for fundraisers? Well, not only can Gravyty predict which donors are most important for the fundraisers to reach out to, but they can also self-write the next draft of an email to that donor.

At Gravyty, they built algorithms that can track the changes frontline fundraisers make to the emails. This gives them the ability to refine the writing style. They learn over time and make better predictions about what they should be saying to the donors, and when to say it. 

That’s today, but it all started back when CEO and Co-Founder Adam Martel was a frontline fundraiser himself. Tune in to this episode of AI at Work to hear Adam’s experiences, from the story of Gravyty’s origin to their breakthroughs in human behavior.

Check out these 3 lessons from Adam Martel

1.) Use AI to understand where to focus your attention

Before Gravyty, frontline fundraisers were spending a lot of time running primitive predictive analytics in their head. Naturally, they were struggling to figure out which donors to be in touch with. Adam and his Co-Founder Rich Palmer realized that they could take a lot of the data they had on the donors and apply machine learning algorithms to predict which donors were most important for fundraisers to focus their attention on. These algorithms give the fundraising teams the ability to focus on the right donors.

2.) Technology is only valuable if people use it

So, problem solved, right? Well, there was still a major hurdle. They found that people didn’t login to their dashboards. That’s when they decided to push everything into email as a solution, and were able to develop their self-writing emails. Adam described,

“Even if the efficacy of our algorithms are right, even if we're 90% right in our algorithms and in our predictions about which donor's most important, it doesn't really matter unless we get the front line fundraiser to take action on those predictions. That's why the self writing of the emails was so important.”

Simple and straight to the point. For any technology to deliver real value, people need to use it.

3.) Understand the workflow of your users

So, how do you make sure that people use your technology? By understanding your users and their workflows. Fundraisers are on the road, and they live in email. This insight has been vital in creating a tool that people get value out of for Gravyty. This is how they’ve had such huge breakthroughs in behavioral change. 

Adam shared that fundraisers didn’t want a fourth screen. They already had their email, calendar, and CRM open. He described that, 

“They don't want a fourth screen to tell them what they do in the CRM, which tells them what to do in their email, which tells them what to do in their calendar. We pushed everything out into email and we quickly learned that not only could we predict which donor's most important, but we could actually self write the next draft of the email to that donor.”

People need to use your technology in order to benefit from it. If you want people to use your technology, you have to understand how they work, and meet them there. 

To learn more from Adam on tips to executives learning about AI, predictions on the future of AI, new partnerships, and much more, tune in to this episode of AI at Work or read the full transcript. And, be sure to subscribe on iTunes or Google Play and share with your friends.

Topics: AI at Work