Emlyon Share Secrets Behind Their New Artificial Intelligence in Management Institution

Emlyon Share Secrets Behind Their New Artificial Intelligence in Management Institution main image

Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have advanced from the worlds of science-fiction to change the way the world operates, both in our personal and professional lives. Today, many businesses and business schools alike are incorporating the technology into their daily regime.

One of the schools focusing on AI is Emlyon Business School, which recently launched the first-ever Artificial Intelligence in Management (AIM) Institute to learn more about the opportunities and implications of artificial intelligence in management.   

Renaud ChampionRenaud Champion, AIM Executive Director, joined Emlyon 10 months ago with the mission to develop the school’s strategy around artificial intelligence. We caught up with him to find out more about the AIM Institute.

The idea behind the institute

As a management business school, Emlyon’s philosophy focuses on management teaching from a hybrid view. Champion says, “We understand the managers and leaders of tomorrow will be working in a world where technology is everywhere. It’s in our mission that they will understand technology and see how those technologies can change business models and their company.”

He adds, “AI related technologies are already starting to dramatically impact companies in the way they create value, work, and organize. We decided to focus our strategy on the impact of AI and related technologies, and what it means from a management point of view.”

As we press forward in a world where AI in management is inevitable, Champion admits combining human interaction and robotics will make things move faster.

He says, “We need to take a multidisciplinary approach, mixing engineers with managers. Also, sociologists and experts in ethics need to understand the broader impact to really make a change.

“From a management point of view, we want to gather interdisciplinary consultants to do the research, make an impact, and understand how the world is changing because of AI.”

“For example, how can AI build or create value with new business models, and create new solutions, services and products in different market domains like finance, marketing, healthcare, industry, logistics?

“A second topic is the impact of AI on work and governance. Once companies change their business model, they have to change the way they get organized and the profile of people they hire. So, what are the new skills needed, how will they redefine work?

Three pillars to success

The institute’s mission statement highlights three pillars it will abide by: research, innovation, and dissemination. Everything starts from research, according to Champion.

Academic research is carried out by school professors in collaboration with other global universities and schools on real-life business issues to generate knowledge.

However, to share the knowledge with Emlyon business students, the general public, and international institutes, dissemination is key.

Champion says, “This knowledge will be published and translated into pedagogy; building new certificates and learning modules about AI and its impact on work.

“We’re starting to build those first modules and electives to be disseminated within our MBA programs and specializations in AI, as well as developing new online certificates on AI in business.

“The idea is to brand the full-time MBA around the impact of AI within different business domains, while considering the ethical challenge of responsible AI.”

There’s a lot of work to be done to get the institute’s mission out into the world, as Champion explains. “I’m working on dissemination for the public and international institutions. The challenge is reaching out to different audiences and taking part in the public debate through the European Commission, the UN and different governments.”

The institute will also look at technology transfer, to see if there’s an opportunity to exploit their research knowledge from a commercial point of view.

Champion says, “Even if we’re not an engineering school or lab, or building algorithms or robots, we will have knowledge and intellectual property that I’m sure could be exploited or used in a model.

“This model could be coded in programs to build applications and solutions which could be useful as the innovation for a start-up. How can we exploit the integral properties within our research? That’s something we want to initiate.”

Building up hype

It’s necessary to get the word out and create a buzz surrounding a new institution and it’s safe to say Emlyon’s institute has drummed up plenty of interest.

Champion says, “We started a series of seminars, including one dedicated to different AI technologies and how to make it accessible to a diverse audience of students, alumni, managers, and staff.

With so many people seeing the importance of AI in management, this will hold the institute in good stead. Champion says, “I think it’s because AI is so relevant in our lives. As citizens and workers, we see that AI robotics is somehow ubiquitous, even if we don’t know it, we see with our smartphone.

“People want to demystify AI, like how AI affects their work and life, how they can benefit, what are the opportunities, but also understand possible risks.”

The school is also initiating a cycle on conferences. Champion says, “In an automotive factory 10 to 15 years ago, you had huge industrial robots, but now the robots are getting out of the cage and becoming more intelligent.

“Before 15 years ago there were no humans on the factory line, but now they’re back and collaborating with robots.”

How is this affecting the industrial process? That’s the kind of question the institute wants to push forward.

Combining humanity and robotics

To some, the idea of AI can be quite scary. Without knowledge or understanding, it can feel as though the machines are taking over. With over 20 years in the industry, Champion explains the machines will complement people in the workforce rather than compete with them.

He says, “What has to be understood is how AI can help automate dull, difficult and dangerous or repetitive tasks.”

The challenge isn’t to understand which jobs will disappear or be created thanks to automation and AI, but to understand how jobs are transforming, what parts can be done by machines or humans, and how can we ensure humans and machines collaborate.

Champion adds, “There is a healthcare study which shows AI will underperform a human doctor in analyzing a patient’s tumour. But if you combine the doctor with an AI algorithm, it’s a lot more effective.”

Where the AI can be useful though is in providing other diagnostic information which the doctor can use to make decisions about patient care.

Champion expects it won’t just be healthcare that has to manage this balancing act: “It’s not only a question of profitability, but an ethical question: how can we make sure technological developments will benefit human well-being?”

Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Assistant Editor of TopMBA.com, creating and editing content for an international MBA student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of the business world.  

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