By Dayoan Daumont, Innovation Director at OgilvyOne


COG · NI · TIVE / käg-nə-tiv (adjective):

of, relating to or involving conscious mental activities

(such as thinking, understanding, learning and remembering)

Watson is a cognitive system that enables a new partnership between people and computers that enhances and scales human expertise. Organisations have just begun to scratch the surface of cognitive computing capabilities. From improving customer engagement to enhancing research capabilities that identify new life-saving medical treatments, the potential value is boundless.

For many in the Ogilvy family Machine Learning probably sounds like a fanciful Sci-Fi offering but behind its techy jargon it’s a powerful tool that can enhance our ability to reach and connect with our customer’s’ customers. It’s insightful and tireless and allows us to be thoughtful while discovering real value for our customers, its an incredibly technical offering, but one that used wisely can reveal real human connections.

For a programmer, Watson can provide code that allows a start-up’s software to read and interpret legal documents more easily. For a big company, Watson can provide not just software but also IBM consultants helping a retailer use the technology to customize marketing and improve customer service. 

The artificial intelligence marketplace is primed to grow rapidly. A.I. is also the new arena of high-stakes competition in computing, fuelled by big data and innovations in software algorithms. 

As an engagement tool it helps us the following ways;


Here, cognitive systems play the role of an assistant – albeit one who is tireless, can consume vast amounts of structured and unstructured information, can reconcile ambiguous and even self-contradictory data, and can learn. In this partnership, the two – human and machine – are more effective than either one alone. 


Decisions made by cognitive systems are evidence-based and continually evolve based on new information, outcomes and actions. Decisions made by these systems are also bias free; however, certain standards are required for humans to fully trust their decisions. Currently, cognitive computing systems perform more as advisors by suggesting a set of options to human users, who ultimately make the final decisions.


Discovery involves finding insights and connections and understanding the vast amounts of information available around the world. With ever-increasing volumes of data, there is a clear need for systems that help exploit information more effectively than humans could on their own. While still in the early stages, some discovery capabilities have already emerged, and the value propositions for future applications are compelling.

Is it for you?

* What opportunities exist to create more engaging and personalized experiences for your consumers?

* What data aren’t you leveraging that – if converted to knowledge – would allow you to meet key objectives and business requirements?

* What is the cost associated with making non-evidence-based decisions or not having the full array of possible options to consider when actions are taken?

* What benefit would you gain in being able to detect hidden patterns locked away in your data? How would this accelerate conversion, product development, sales revenue and the like?

* What is your organizational expertise skill gap? What would change if you could equip every employee to be as effective as the leading expert in that position or field?

IBM is not alone other big companies are making serious efforts in the A.I. world and its worth a quick note here to give you context of how serious this offering is;

AMAZON - The front-runner in cloud computing is investing in A.I. expertise - to improve its own commerce business and to offer some A.I. to outside developers.

MICROSOFT - The builder of the winning platform of the PC era is strong in cloud computing and A.I. research. It has open-sourced its “deep learning” A.I. technology to attract developers.

GOOGLE - The biggest user of A.I.-related technology in-house, from search to self-driving cars. It has open-sourced its machine-learning A.I., TensorFlow, and young developers seem to love its tools.

SALESFORCE - This pioneer in cloud computing for the corporate market just announced its A.I. platform, Einstein. The plan, for now, is to add A.I. smarts to sales and customer service apps.

BAIDU - “China's Google” is investing heavily in A.I. in a drive led by Andrew Ng, a deep-learning star formerly at Google.

This field is only getting larger and there are many tech companies making great efforts to be leaders in the industry, we are fortunate to have IBM as a long term strategic partner with Ogilvy. If you have any questions or would like to explore the possible don’t hesitate to contact me.