Due to its intrinsic characteristics, artificial intelligence (AI) can be considered a general-purpose technology (GPT) in the digital era. Most studies in the field focus on the ex-post recognition and classification of GPT but in this article, we look at a GPT design ex-ante by reviewing the extreme and inspiring example of IBM’s Watson. Our objective is to shed light on how companies can create value through AI. In particular, our longitudinal case study highlights the strategic decisions IBM took to create value in two dimensions: internal development and external collaborations. We offer relevant implications for practitioners and academics eager to know more about AI in the digital world.