Exclusive Innovation & AI Event – January 25th at Park Hyatt in Zurich

10 min read

Technology & Engineering

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On the evening of Thursday 25 January, a number of senior experts and executives from over 20 large companies around Zurich had every reason to look forward to an exciting event: Digital Leadership AG – the “World’s First Open-Source Consultancy” – hosted an exclusive event at which two highly relevant topics were united: Innovation and AI.

Innovation & AI Event at Park Hyatt in Zurich

The motivation for organising such an event came after Microsoft held an AI hackathon for 6 of its major customers, which Digital Leadership also had the pleasure of supporting. The idea was to make the experience gained there available to a wider community. And what better way to do this than to invite both Microsoft and one of the aforementioned participants – the Adecco Group – as speakers?

To round off the agenda, we also welcomed Builder.ai to the stage, who presented a different, resource-saving approach to AI solution development with their modular, AI driven platform.

Innovation & AI Event in Zurich

Of course, the event also offered space for interesting discussions and networking, with beer, wine and fine appetisers. Some participants also joined us for a late dinner at the same location. All in all, it was a great success, as we were told by the attendees. We are already looking forward to continuing the exciting discussions with our new acquaintances, and to future events!

Finally, we didn’t let the participants go home empty-handed: Everyone was presented with a goodie bag, well filled with the usual pens and notebooks, but also with a tile Mate tracker sponsored by Builder.ai, and with a book that has the potential to help entire companies succeed: The recently published “How To Create Innovation” by my colleague Stefan F. Dieffenbacher!

How to create innovation book

A Brief Summary of the Topics Presented

Past, Present and Future of AI

As host, I was pleased to present a brief history of AI, explain why there is so much hype surrounding the topic right now, and go into more detail about the strengths of this technology and how it affects businesses.

Adam D.Wisniewski

Ultimately, the most relevant question in this context is how these technologies can be used to maximise the benefits for a company. A question that was also at the centre of the other presentations and discussions.

Innovation and AI - Deriving value from AI

How to Innovate Effectively

Stefan F. Dieffenbacher, the next speaker, addressed the question of optimum benefit from the perspective of innovation strategy. In addition to his broad experience, he was able to draw on the knowledge gained from a compilation of his aforementioned book “How To Create Innovation”.

Stefan F. Dieffenbacher – Founder And CEO Of Digital Leadership

An important finding is that the right approaches can substantially reduce the unfortunately very high – around 90% – failure rate of innovation projects.

He presented two important examples of this.

First, the importance of recognising where innovation can develop its full impact for a company and what impact this has on the corresponding business model.

Innovation Strategy Execution Framework
The UNITE Strategy-Execution Framework
Designed By: Digital Leadership AG

And secondly, to choose the right approach to identify your customer’s important but unmet needs. Can you guess where, in your opinion, Stefan will go out tonight ?

Even if you have all the typical information? Not really…..

Innovation & AI Event - Customer Information

And now that you know that he is planning an evening with his friends from university?

This was just a small excerpt from the wealth of valuable content in the book, participants can look forward to many exciting hours of reading!

Successful implementation of an AI project by Adecco Group and Microsoft

After that, Stephanie Meder from the Adecco Group, together with Sebastian Rappen from Microsoft, spoke about their experiences in implementing their AI project as part of the Microsoft AI Hackathon.

Innovation & AI Event in Zurich

They emphasized the importance of solid preparation, and in particular a robust, quantitative analysis of the problem to be solved.

In the project presented here, the Adecco Group has decided to focus on understanding the current labour market. This clear focus made the path to the solution much easier.

Innovation & AI - Finding a path is easier with a clear goal in mind

It was also important to acknowledge that such a venture goes far beyond the purely technological aspects – the users and their satisfaction are at the centre of it all.

Innovation & AI Event - Crafting user delight goes beyond tech backbone

The event participants were impressed by the thorough preparation of the project, but also by the developed solution presented at the end supporting employees in identifying their options in the labour market based on their skills, beyond the obvious choices!

Innovation & AI Event Introducing LHH Career Canvas

AI developments with limited expertise and resources

Finally, it was time for Sandy Walker to present Builder.ai’s approach to developing AI-driven applications for companies that have little experience or resources for this purpose – but still require a solution tailored to their needs.

This is made possible by Builder.ai’s modular approach, in which most of the functions are standardised, the modules can be put together according to the customer’s wishes and the finishing touches also allow customer-specific requirements to be met.

The whole process is supported by “Natasha”, an AI that leads customers through the entire creation process!

Innovation and AI Event - Natasha empowers an enterprise

Last but not least, this approach allows companies to test their new business models on the market – or new internal processes with their employees – in the shortest possible time.

Innovtaion & AI Event - Prototying ideas

Panel discussion

The presentations, enriched by questions from the participants, took a little longer than planned, as is often the case. Nevertheless, the topics discussed at the panel – which was organised in an admittedly informal manner – were exciting enough that the guests were happy to wait a few minutes longer for their first glass of wine.

Innovation & AI event - Engin Erzengin from Microsoft
Engin Erzengin from Microsoft

The presenters were joined by Engin Erzengin from Microsoft, one of the co-organisers of the AI Hackathon, as well as by Carly Koch from Builder.ai.

Innovation & AI Event in Zurich - Carly Koch from Builder.ai
Carly Koch from Builder.ai

The central question was: “Where are the opportunities and where are the risks when introducing AI solutions?”. It was exciting to hear the answers to these questions from the different perspectives of the panellists, and especially from contributors who have already gained a great deal of experience in this still-young topic.

The importance of robust preparation was emphasised once again, as was the importance of involving decision-makers at an early stage, communicating intensively, and providing quantitative evidence for decisions.

Engin has drawn attention to a risk that is often taken for granted in hindsight, but which has nevertheless brought down entire companies: The risk of missing out on change!

With that, he has also provided me with the perfect closing words for this short article.

Adam D. Wisniewski

Consulting Partner | Digital Leadership


Mobile: +41 (0) 76 421 1221

“Eager to learn more about how join the AI revolution, how to prepare your company for arising opportunities, how to identify the most promising business models ensuring future growth and success ? Please don’t hesitate to contact me”

All the pictures from the event can be found here.

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