Executives, Interviews

The Role of a Cognitive Officer in the HR Space: A Conversation with David Emanuel

Phoebe Degn / October 9, 2020

What is the role of a cognitive officer and how are they beneficial to companies? Recently, Francesco Rulli, Global CEO of Querlo and Chief Digital and Cognitive Officer at the Opera del Duomo, spoke with David Emanuel, HR Senior Executive, about what it means to be a cognitive officer and how they can be implemented in the HR space.

 David has over 30 years of experience in the human resources department. Currently, he is helping companies work through issues surrounding the pandemic and how to work virtually, as well as thinking about diversity and inclusion. He encourages companies to focus on what values they hold and how they want to look in the next five to ten years.

In the past few months, companies have been under a lot of pressure due to the pandemic. With covid came many changes to people’s lifestyles, which includes an increase in technology use. Francesco spoke with many companies about AI in the HR space and realized that many are in need of a cognitive officer. A cognitive officer understands the tools provided by partners such as IBM Watson, Microsoft Luis, and Rasa, and can assist companies as they make this digital transformation.

Due to the drastic changes in the past few months, David supports the idea of challenging the old way of doing work and bringing in AI as an assistant. He described the concept as fun and cutting edge because as a working world, so much has changed and so much is going to be different in post-covid. 

Francesco continued by describing how measuring feelings and levels of happiness has been a very important topic in the past few months. He has been working to build digital assistants that are specific to each employee; the assistants are available 24/7 to provide information to employees and listen to their needs. The role of the cognitive officer is to provide access to the best tools in order to monitor and improve performance and happiness in an organization. In addition, they must also cross-reference information to provide useful feedback to the c-suite. 

David responded by comparing a cognitive officer to a culture champion. Just like a culture champion is someone who promotes culture, a cognitive officer is hearing and challenging employees to open up and be more inclusive.

To hear more from David, you can connect with him on LinkedIn or visit his website