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Helen Todd is co-founder and CEO of Sociality Squared and the human behind Creativity Squared.
Katie Trauth Taylor is a growth-focused entrepreneur executive boasting over 10 years of experience inspiring teams to design and deliver magnetic products, memorable experiences, and groundbreaking impacts

Ep36. Katie Trauth Taylor: Narrative Science & Innovation with GenAI

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Ep36. Narrative Science & Innovation: Discover the Power of Story in the Era of GenAI with Katie Trauth Taylor, CEO of Narratize, an OpenAI Developer Ambassador

There’s no doubt about it: Generative A.I. (GenAI) had a breakout year in 2023 — and enterprises that have successfully harnessed its potential now stand to gain immense market advantage.

Yet, for all its promise, GenAI adoption lags among the product teams that arguably need it most: those building the complex technologies upon which society increasingly relies.

In this episode of Creativity Squared, Katie Trauth Taylor contends that narrative science offers the missing ingredient for GenAI to fulfill its destiny as an engine fueling scientific innovation.

As CEO of Narratize, Katie leads an all-woman team of narrative scientists leveraging their expertise into an A.I. platform designed specifically for technical teams struggling to communicate ideas effectively. While other vendors focus solely on productive volume, Narratize builds on OpenAI’s and other large language models to provide the accuracy and strategic storytelling capability that technology innovators need to drive internal buy-in and external marketplace success.

Throughout her spirited discussion with host Helen Todd, Katie discusses Narratize’s unique position in tackling GenAI and diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) imperatives, the need to fund female founders, the role of IP and consent regarding date, the potential of Generative A.I. as a democratizer for creativity and storytelling, and more.

To be inspired and fascinated by narrative science and algorithms in the era of GenAI, continue reading below! 

Narrative Science Sets the Stage for Innovation

93% of companies are buying Generative A.I. solutions, but only 13% of product and research and development teams are regularly using it.”

Katie Trauth Taylor

With her PhD in narrative science, Katie is a serial entrepreneur who leads the design and implementation of evidence-based methods that enable people to harness the power of stories for accelerated innovation.

From her history implementing groundbreaking systems to support VA hospitals to her present leadership of an OpenAI Developer Ambassador startup, Katie lives at the intersection of exponential technology and effective communication.

In this conversation, she argues that when innovators fail to contextualize the importance of their work through a compelling narrative, the consequences can be severe, even lethal, with cases of scientists contracting ulcers to verify their disputed research.

That’s where Narratize comes in.

Narratize is one of OpenAI’s 8 original developer ambassadors and recently secured a $2M seed funding round, earning recognition as one of Cincy Inno’s 24 startups to watch in 2024.

As a Generative A.I. platform designed for scientific, medical, and technical clients — from NASA and Boeing aerospace engineers to the World Food Forum and United Nations teams — Narrative aims to help users leverage GenAI to more effectively communicate their complex innovations, so their ideas don’t get shelved.

Narratize embeds the ingredients for resonant, evidence-based storytelling directly into the technical communication workflow. If adopted at scale by those designing cutting-edge innovations, she see how GenAI rapidly accelerates solutions to pressing issues like food insecurity. More broadly, it also can sow understanding about complex technologies to heal societal divides and restore trust in expertise.

Narratize’s Co-Founders: Kara Uchtman (Chief Product Officer),  Katie Trauth Taylor (CEO), and Catherine O’Shea (COO)

The Power of Narrative Algorithms

Early in her PhD studies, Katie recognized how rarely technical experts receive training to convey their ideas in a compelling way beyond niche groups of specialists. She suggests that missed connections due to poor communication cut off oxygen to promising innovations before they ever escape labs or pass through the perilous gauntlet of internal approvals.

Katie argues that accelerating innovation requires applying principles of both art and science in strategic storytelling. At Narratize, she leads a team of narrative scientists discovering patterns of effective messaging and packaging them into easily referenced narrative toolkits. By mapping elements into “constellations” of ideas — like grouping stars against night skies into familiar shapes — Katie says the abstractions help technologists intuitively arrange complex details into resonant narratives.

We recognized and started identifying narrative algorithms within innovation management, within research and development, and all the way through to marketing and communications.”

Katie Trauth Taylor

Presenting persuasive evidence lies at the core. One such narrative constellation that frequently appears, Katie explains, is the ABT pattern, referencing how most technical pitches describe a status quo, introduce current shortcomings, and conclude by presenting an improved solution or technology. Katie suggests that formulaic conventions dominate for good reason — they work if executed artfully. Yet cookie-cutter communication fails to inspire action or market success.

Artful execution remains key — as well as being the area where human creativity shines. Like stars comprising unique constellations, the limitless combinations of innovation variables allow for boundless ingenuity in linking ideas into compelling mosaic patterns. This fusion of defined narrative architecture with wide creative latitude for executing messaging distinguishes great technical storytelling, Katie says.

She believes that when executed well, strategically framed communication makes audiences feel connected to innovations that improve lives. By contrast, dense data sans narrative context breeds indifference and the message can just not land with the audience. Misunderstandings shrink potential funding, delay solutions addressing global priorities like food insecurity, and erode public regard for indispensable expertise, pushing progress ever upward.

“Generative A.I. is the great equalizer. It is enabling creatives and those with more humanities-related backgrounds to be able to really grow.”

Katie Trauth Taylor

Empowering Technical Storytelling at Scale

Katie’s expert team at Narratize works to identify recurrent patterns and codify narrative toolkits to inject strategic frameworks into automatically generated communications.

These GenAI-powered templates allow non-writers to efficiently outline pitches, reports, articles, and other materials through prompted dialogue. Narratize technology then fuses user ideas with embedded narrative algorithms to produce compelling technical narratives exhibiting the context, surprise, and evidence Katie suggests stories require to captivate audiences while maintaining accuracy.

Early pilot programs found aerospace engineers at Boeing and NASA raving that automatically generated communications finally conveyed the importance of their technical work in terms that resonated with key leaders and stakeholders. By melding the creative spark of human ideas with the untiring capacity of machines, Narratize allows technical teams to harness strategic storytelling sans intensive training or outside consultants.

Katie suggests that in regulated industries especially, the sheer challenge of documenting innovations distracts from effectively framing broader meaning.

She proposes GenAI as a multiplier, allowing experts to strategically broadcast ideas through clear cross-discipline narratives that speak to hearts as well as minds.

The result accelerates research and development cycles to rapidly securitize funding, accelerate production, and spur marketplace success.

We can bring…narrative science, data science, and this deep foundational understanding of narrative algorithm…to those enterprises to partner with them in the best use of their data.”

Katie Trauth Taylor

Thought leaders increasingly argue that Generative A.I. constitutes the ultimate democratizer of opportunity by exponentially expanding individuals’ creative capacity. If innovating equals creating, then by infusing strategic narrative into technical communications, Narratize expands who gets to innovate within enterprises.

Katie believes that by setting best practices alight, Narratize gives creativity wings for companies struggling to spark innovation and retain competitiveness.

Tackling Generative A.I.’s Biggest Challenges

Despite the proliferation of conversational models like ChatGPT, product teams working in regulated industries remain rightfully wary of blindly trusting information that could be inaccurately hallucinated.

While such hallucinations can sometimes seem obvious to general users, they can pose an outright danger in sectors where lives are on the line.

“In a high-reliability industry like aviation, or agriculture, or healthcare, medicine, and pharmaceuticals…there’s such a little margin for error.”

Katie Trauth Taylor

Katie maintains that Narratize overcomes such pitfalls through an architecture that extracts the most accurate outputs across multiple models. This provides guardrails mitigating hallucinated content through corroborated consensus balanced against known model strengths and weaknesses.

Katie suggests that by maximizing accuracy rooted in evidence, Narratize generates communications that audiences better comprehend and trust. She observes that when scientists fail to effectively contextualize ideas, public regard erodes alongside funding and political will needed to tackle threats that require broad consensus and short-term costs for long-term gain, like climate change.

Generative A.I. also continues working through embedded biases that manifest in ways that alienate marginalized groups.

Katie notes that diversity intrinsically seeds more innovation and that narratives celebrating multiplicity outperform homogeneous content. So Narratize built dedicated DEIA content knowledge to guarantee inclusive viewpoint diversity.

Katie also secured guidance from renowned DEIA thought leader Abro Maldonado, creator of the Afro-Latina A.I. system Clara, to ensure communications highlight diverse voices.

The Critical Role of Women in A.I.

Katie and Helen’s conversation then shifts to focus on trends in A.I. development and adoption, as Katie argues that despite the proven benefits of diversity for innovation, venture capital (VC) funding concentrates overwhelmingly on male founders. This creates homogenous teams, leading to A.I. solutions that fail to serve broad needs.

Recent studies found that while female founders net higher returns, only around 2% of venture capital fuels women-led startups. When it comes to A.I. companies specifically, the number plummets to 0.3%!

In our interview with Cindy Gallop, Cindy explains the need to fund female founders, and that this imbalance is why companies led predominantly by men focus more on addictive technology optimizing profits over solutions targeting inclusivity.

Katie and Helen concur that emphasizing ethical precautions and inclusive development could unleash A.I.’s promise to empower society.

Katie notes that amid excessive hype cycles, women often champion everyday applications to improve the lives of historically underrepresented groups. She highlights OpenAI Developer Ambassador Emad Mostaque’s Fidenz, which helps users manage passwords, representing the sort of “Opportunity A.I.” that focuses on improving lives, not grabbing headlines.

She goes on to assert that women like her guide GenAI’s evolution to uplift society by bypassing barriers and concentrating on both expertise and influence.

Funding female founders constitutes the fastest path toward A.I. equitably serving all groups. Katie’s all-woman founding team manifests the ethos they want to drive humanity’s shared A.I. future.

I have two female co-founders, and the journey that it took for us to be able to raise capital was not great. And I watched other, male-founded companies that had…far less actual expertise…get funding before us…It’s just not okay.”

Katie Trauth Taylor

Owning Your Story with A.I.

Helen suggests that while some artists justifiably fear A.I. threatening creative careers, others race to grab its full potential.

She asks Katie’s perspective on IP rights, given GenAI’s unprecedented data harvesting from uncredited creators. Katie responds that while attempting technological restraints often proves fruitless, creatives retain power as A.I. democratizes influence allowing more voices impactful reach. But absent proper attribution, creative careers stall.

Helen brings up the recent Content Authenticity Initiative conference, noting impending societal tumult as 40 countries hold pivotal 2024 elections amidst public manipulation threats at an unprecedented scale.

She urges that understanding A.I. and controlling personal data grows increasingly mandatory for creatives. Katie responds by emphasizing A.I. accuracy and truth as guiding stars, suggesting narrative science fosters comprehension and trust to heal societal rifts.

As Helen and Katie’s lively dialogue continues, Katie offers her belief that funded female founders will bend the trajectory of A.I. toward inclusive innovation.

She proposes that strategic storytelling is imperative. By embedding narrative architecture into the technical workflow, Katie leads Narratize in working to accelerate expert insights in solving humanity’s pressing problems.

The right leadership will look for opportunities to use new technologies to innovate better and faster, in a way that operates with good intent for good.”

Katie Trauth Taylor

Katie hopes listeners walk away from this episode recognizing that new technologies like A.I. present opportunities to accelerate innovation when guided by thoughtful leadership. She hopes audiences are excited by A.I.’s potential to elevate human capabilities and solve pressing societal problems when applied conscientiously.

Katie relays the story of an innovation leader who transformed a company into a top patent producer by implementing systems recognizing employees’ ideas, enabling them to see themselves as innovators through sharing stories.

She goes on to suggest that communicating unlocks individuals’ potential. By putting scalable technology supporting strategic storytelling into more hands, she argues A.I. can spread innovation capabilities across organizations to fuel impactful progress in addressing humanity’s needs.

Together, Katie concludes, we construct the narratives that co-author our A.I. future — one she hopes manifests A.I.’s immense potential for human empowerment when guided by ethical intentions.

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Thank you, Katie, for being our guests on Creativity Squared. 

This show is produced and made possible by the team at PLAY Audio Agency: https://playaudioagency.com.  

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