Coverage on the 11th edition of the Executive Innovation Forum
On November 29th, 2023, the 11th edition of the “Executive Innovation Forum” conference was held at the Sheraton Grand Warsaw Hotel. Participants were treated to four panel discussions and two presentations, during which experts addressed key issues related to the ongoing digital transformation of business, current trends in the development of artificial intelligence, as well as issues of diversity in organisations. The culmination of the event was the evening’s award ceremony, “Diamonds of Innovation,” during which companies and individuals who have particularly distinguished themselves in the field of developing and implementing innovative solutions in business were recognized.
The main part of the program began with an inaugural speech by the event’s special guest, Mr. Vlad Winner, CEO and co-founder of Binom AI, based in Norway, under the title “How to create a universal AI employee. How to leave intelligence as a legacy to a family/company. Ready-made solutions by Binom AI”.
According to the special guest, more than 100 million people around the world already enjoy the benefits of artificial intelligence on a regular basis. The obvious advantages that artificial intelligence has over a human worker are far fewer errors, unlimited working hours, stable efficiency, greater ability to assimilate knowledge, and now also lower labour costs. On the other hand, by choosing AI we lose in terms of creativity, integration and social relations.
The speaker also stressed the importance of a proper legislative approach to the development of artificial intelligence, so that control over the information we “feed” AI in the learning process is ensured.
After the opening presentation, it was time for the first panel discussion, entitled “Evolution of Innovation”. The moderator of the debate was Rafał Mrówka, PhD, DSc, Professor in the Department of Management Theory, Director of the MBA Programme Office, SGH Warsaw School of Economics. Participating in the discussion, in turn, were Milena Czajkowska, Lean Manager EMEA, AstraZeneca Pharma Poland, Dariusz Jasak, President of the Management Board, Seen Technologie, Mateusz Kopacz, Director of Innovation Branch, Budimex, Dariusz Kwiecinski, CEO, Fujitsu Poland, Sofie de Lathouwer, CEO, Gudrun Group, and Marcin Petrykowski, President of the Management Board, Atende.
The experts first referred to the issue of proper understanding of the concept of innovation. These are not always groundbreaking, revolutionary changes. Sometimes innovations have a very minor scope, such as a different positioning of a road sign. Anything that leads to an improvement in work efficiency can be considered an innovation.
Speakers also stressed the importance of the innovation culture in an organization. Leaders are responsible for building it and gaining the team’s support and understanding. The basic principle, however, is to “not get in the way” and let bottom-up initiatives be born, to support the ideas of employees.
After the panel, it was time for another presentation, titled “Product Development in the Age of AI and the Protection of Intellectual Property”, which was delivered jointly by Ms. Dorota Rzążewska, Managing Partner, and Ms. Małgorzata Furmańska, Attorney-at-law, JWP Rzecznicy Patentowi.
The year 2023 proved to be a turning point for artificial intelligence, the development of which gained a stupendous pace. The 1994 copyright law that is still in force in Poland is undoubtedly inadequate to describe this phenomenon. Meanwhile, when thinking about innovation, especially in a legal context, it is not enough to keep up, but it is necessary to stay ahead of trends that may emerge in the future.
After Ms. Dorota’s and Ms. Małgorzata’s speech, it was time for the second panel, entitled “Digital Transformation”, moderated by Grzegorz Mazurek, Professor, PhD, DSc, Rector of Kozminski University. Participating in the discussion were Ireneusz Borowski, Country Manager Poland, Czech Rep, Slovakia, Hungary, Dassault Systèmes, Tomasz Dziki, Executive Vice President, Britenet, Zsolt Fekete, President of the Management Board, Algotech Polska, Stanislaw Korwin-Kossakowski, Co-Owner, GoNextStage, Remigiusz Pyszka, Country Leader, MTWO Construction Cloud, SoftwareOne, Robert Szpunar, Director of Digital Channels Development Office, PKO Leasing, and Dariusz Wabik, Sales Manager, FANUC Polska.
Many companies state that they have already completed their digital transformation. According to the speakers, treating digitization as a one-time implementation of a certain digital solution, eliminating a specific problem or improving one aspect of work, is wrong. Transformation is in fact a process that has no end. More so, because evaluating its effectiveness requires a longer perspective, and the very criteria for evaluation change over time.
According to some discussants, the ultimate determinant of the effectiveness of the transformation should be cost reduction. Others pointed out that indirect benefits and goals achieved in the meantime, such as higher customer satisfaction, are even more important than financial gain alone. It is crucial, for example, to systematically improve the digital competence of employees. Training them properly is easier and cheaper than acquiring new qualified staff.
After the lunch break, a speech by Ms. Joanna Chełchowska, Polish Agency for Enterprise Development PFR Group, entitled “New European Funds for Enterprises” was scheduled.
More than €5.5 billion in European funding has been allocated to Poland for the 2021-2027 perspective, available under three programs: Modern Economy, Eastern Poland and Social Development. Ms. Joanna provided the attendees with details of the various programs and calls that are currently available to domestic companies, such as the SMART path, brand promotion of innovative SMEs and Startup Booster.
The participants were then invited to the third panel discussion of the conference, titled “The Power of Artificial Intelligence”, moderated by Tymoteusz Doligalski, PhD, DSc, Head of E-Business Department, Warsaw School of Economics. Participating in the discussion were Wojciech Hann, Senior Advisor, Deal Advisory, KPMG in Poland, Artur Pollak, DEng, CEO, APA Group, Paweł Stefański, Strategic Incubation Manager, Balluff Worldwide, Vlad Winner, CEO, Co-Founder, Binom AI, and Piotr W. Zawadzki, PhD, Expert of the Strategic Management Department, National Centre for Research and Development.
The panelists unanimously agreed that contrary to popular belief, the last year, although groundbreaking, was not exceptional in terms of the development of artificial intelligence. It is only now, though, that the topic has so widely penetrated public opinion.
The speakers expressed concern that the implementation of artificial intelligence in Poland has been too slow. This is because too often we wait for top-down system solutions, public and EU funds, instead of taking risks and investing on our own. Meanwhile, the number of ideas and applications for funding does not translate into actual implementations of beneficial solutions. Another problem is the generational change currently taking place in Polish business.
The last panel of the “Executive Innovation Forum” was entitled “Diversified Organizations”. The discussion was moderated by Bolesław Rok, PhD, DSc, Professor at Kozminski University, Department of Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics. Participating in the discussion were Sylwia Bogucka, Transformation Director in B2B Market, Orange Polska, Bogi Gabrovic, Deputy Country Head, CTP Invest Poland, Władyslaw Grochowski, Chairman and Owner, Arche, Sofie de Lathouwer, CEO, Gudrun Group, Anna Morzy-Brzosko, Head of Blended Learning, Youniversity, and Edyta Wojtkiewicz, Head of GFS EMEA, AstraZeneca Pharma Poland.
The panelists agreed that we are currently seeing a shift from a work culture of “I live to work” to a “I work to live” formula. Companies are increasingly supporting work-life balance, employee wellbeing and creating workplaces where every employee can be themselves.
During the discussion, it was emphasized that, contrary to the image that often functions in the media, a diverse team is one that primarily represents different points of view. A group in which we have people of different genders, sexual identities, but with a similar worldview and outlook on key issues in the organization, is not a diverse team at all.
The “Executive Innovation Forum” conference can be viewed at this link
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Author: Krzysztof Kotlarski, editor of Executive Magazine
Last Updated on December 8, 2023 by Krzysztof Kotlarski