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DataIQ Awards 2021 winner – Best data literacy or data development programme: WPP

DataIQ Awards 2021 winner - Best data literacy or data development programme: WPP

At the start of 2020, WPP’s newly created data and AI team set itself an ambitious target to up-skill 5,000 data practitioners and “demystify” AI for 50,000 colleagues by the end of 2021. The objective was to provide accessible up-skilling opportunities for all staff, irrespective of seniority, literacy or proficiency in English. 

The team was just applying the final touches to plans for an in-classroom AI academy for data scientists and planned shoots for a Demystify AI video series when lockdown hit. The determined team quickly recalibrated and took advantage of the shift online to expand its initiatives and deliver at scale.

The team partnered with e-learning provider Coursera to take its AI academy online. Participants work through curated learning paths and are encouraged to take part in community feedback sessions. By prompting participants to share their progress on LinkedIn, WPP has created an atmosphere of healthy competition to fuel the desire for learning.

With live shoots rendered impossible by the pandemic, the team looked at creative alternatives for the Demystify AI series. It partnered with synthetic media company Synthesia to create 19 videos, in which participants are asked questions about the future of AI and its potential to shape a more diverse world by a computer-generated teacher. Participants are, in effect, taught about AI by AI.

To make the sessions accessible, the videos are made available in English, Spanish and Mandarin. Additional programmes included an AI myth buster movie with Territory Studios and an introduction to the four data fundamentals with the Open Data Institute. 

The latest stats show that the AI Academy has enjoyed more than 4,900 enrolments so far, with an impressive 11,237 hours spent on learning. Courses within the academy are highly popular, with the average feedback score being an impressive 4.75/5. The Demystify AI video series has been watched thousands of times by WPP colleagues across 51 markets. 

Success has attracted the attention of external clients looking to implement similar initiatives as talent retention becomes a key issue as we head into the new normal. In a clear demonstration of the power of the programme, Peenaz Irani, managing director of Canadian WPP agency Theo said: “I owe my recent promotion…to the constant learning and up-skilling I have been able to do via WPP AI Academy.” 

DataIQ Awards 2021
Year: 2021
Category: Best Data Literacy or Data Development Programme

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