Built by a CEO for CEOs: Coursera launches generative AI playbook course


He is hoping that he can help CEOs and other business leaders avoid being blindsided by a potential massive technological disruption.

“What is happening, and what is going to be happening in the next 12 to 18 to 24 months is going to be unlike anything that CEOs have ever seen. I think it will be more disruptive than COVID,” he says.

The culprit? Generative AI.

Starting today on Coursera, Maggioncalda’s personally built course designed specifically for CEOs—Navigating Generative AI: A CEO Playbook—becomes available for the public. The playbook, or survival guide of sorts, will help CEOs—no matter their company’s size of industry—be prepared for the tidal wave that’s coming.

He says that if companies do not play offense and defense at the same time when it comes to AI—meaning they are looking at how changes are coming to competitors, suppliers, and customers as well as then adapting their own business strategy—they will lose the game.

“It’s going to enable a lot of competitive dynamics that we’ve not seen previously,” he says. “And so I think the CEOs are really in a very tough position. I mean, you have to do something but there’s this conundrum: If you move too quickly, it’s fraught with risk and you can make some big mistakes. If you don’t move quickly enough, it’s a type two error.”

Give me AI or give me death

Maggioncalda admits he is not a teacher by trade and that there are many people out there who know a lot more than him about generative AI. But, after being a CEO himself for close to 30 years now, he says he knows a thing or two about tackling challenges head-on.

“I have a lot of experience being a CEO and being in companies where if you were not agile, you would die,” he says. “Agility is a survival skill to a growth company.”

Generative AI, he says, is going to require a large level of agility that many CEOs need to prepare for. And as an edtech company, the technology couldn’t be more germane to Coursera.

Maggioncalda’s playbook features 15–20 hours of content in the form of videos, readings, assignments, and discussion posts. It also features a lab playground environment that allows business leaders to use Google’s Gemini Pro AI model and see first hand how generative AI can be used to understand how generative AI can impact business strategy elements like acquisition channels, customer relationships, and workplace productivity.

“You can read about generative AI. But as I say often in the course, you’re not going to really know this unless you use it, so get your hands on it,” he says—adding that the playground environment is the first time Coursera has done something of the like.

And as Gemini Ultra and ChatGPT-5 are developed and released, the value of the course is only going to increase as the thought partner gets smarter.

Module topics include harnessing the power of generative AI for business, empowering and transforming your organization with generative AI, and the ethical, data, and legal considerations for generative AI. The course also features guest lectures from experts like Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera, and Jules White, professor at Vanderbilt University.

The course costs $49 per month (or for just an extra $10 monthly, you can access thousands of Coursera’s on the platform—including from top tech companies and Ivy league institutions—with Coursera Plus) and is available in 17 different languages. After completion of the course, participants receive a certificate.

The course is not restricted to CEO use. In fact, Maggioncalda says that everybody will need to understand how generative AI is going to revolutionize the world and the mind.

He hopes to update parts of the course about every 90 days to provide the most up-to-date content and readings.

“This technology is going to have profound implications,” Maggioncalda adds. “And ethics is not just about preventing bad things from happening—ethics is also causing good things to happen. And I really hope that by learning about this stuff and using it and sharing our ideas as a community, we can bring the best out of what this technology is capable of.”

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