Personalized strategy — without the expensive fees! My experience of being impersonated by an AI bot. Rita McGrath

Rita McGrath
4 min readOct 30, 2023

Among the unintended consequences of AI applications built with few guardrails is that conventional views of what is intellectual property are upended — I found out the hard way!

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Well, that was a surprise!

An acquaintance contacted me on LinkedIn about something unrelated, and then congratulated me for being forward-thinking enough to work with an AI bot associated with the Board of Innovation. “Say what?” thought I. I know of the Board of Innovation, but I’ve never worked with them or done any joint projects. So I thought I’d check it out.

Sure enough, whoa! Not only was I on their website as a provider of AI enabled strategic advice, but so was Michael Porter, Peter Drucker, Clay Christensen and Sun Tzu. I suppose it is flattering to be included in that company, at least, as my friend Chris Yeh reminds me. To add to the creepiness of it all, the bot was advertised as offering “personalized strategy, without the expensive fees.”

So I thought I’d give it a spin. Worse even than my name and reputation being used, the responses from the bot were awful. I mean, really bad. It confused my work with some work done by McKinsey, provided guidance that I found kind of horrifying and would have been a black eye on my reputation if anyone took its responses seriously.

Of course, the call to action was to contact the Board of Innovation for more information.

I wrote to the Board on their “Contact Us” page and asked that this be taken down right away. Meanwhile, my colleague Ron Boire posted about it.

Ron’s post

Here’s what he said:

When AI goes way too far: The Board of Innovation has published a ChatGPT bot that purports to give advice as Rita McGrath, who has never given permission for them to use her name, much less pose as anything close to the strategy advice she would give. This is theft of a globally recognized strategic thinker’s name and reputation! It gets worse when you use the “Rita McGrath” bot; the advice it gave me used the Horizons framework, a framework that Rita has never promoted and didn’t develop…

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Rita McGrath

Columbia Business School Professor. Thinkers50 top 10 & #1 in strategy. Bestselling author of The End of Competitive Advantage & Seeing Around Corners.