DBA Insight | How can AI help Entrepreneurs Redefine the Future?


The annual conference Think Pairs of IBM was held in Paris. It showed IBM's investment in future AI in France, and also the AI projects of emlyon business school, presented by Bernard Belletante, Dean of the School. “If the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) radically changes the way companies operate (and even their culture!), we must know how to prepare the future managers of tomorrow.” Bernard Belletante pointed.

As an entrepreneur, the following qustion you have to answer: How to use AI to achieve the competitive advantage?How to align operational competence with AI initiatives? And how to nurture the innovative AI-based ecosystems?

Giants Reduces the First Mover Advantage

Consider the R&D and application of intelligent voice technology in Mandarin, in which iFlytek used to be the undoubted industry leader. At its peak in 2013, iFlytek claimed that it “offered voice development capabilities to over 2,000 partners, including China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Intel, Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo,Haier, Tencent, SAIC, FAW, Geely, Midea and Galanz, covering all leaders in diverse domain of voice applications”. It boasted “the voice of the industry chain”.

In an interview with Ms. Qian Lina, Editor of Business Management Review, Dr. Gong Yeming, Professor of Management Science at emlyon business school, pointed out, “The new deep learning based on Hinton’s findings is a subversive innovation in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The industry has found that deep learning combined with big data is extremely valuable. GPU provides support for massive computing of big data.The foundation of deep learning - algorithms, computing power and big data is reinforced by improved industrial infrastructure.”

In the field of intelligent voice, the advantage of deep learning is that it can save many steps of voice modeling and in turn reduce the difficulty, time and cost of development. A large number of enterprises have poured into the field of intelligent voice and compete with iFlytek.

The Competition of Ecosystem

In the era of artificial intelligence, what kind of technology can be commercialized and stand out?

For enterprises, is there a shortcut to grasping major technological innovations? Prof. Gong noted, “There is no shortcut, because the probability is ruthless! While economic forecasting has certain accuracy, for an organization, the successful prediction of technological innovation is more challenging. After Hinton invented a new model of deep learning, the industry did not realize how great this technology was for a while. In this era, a small company might lead an era by inventing a major technology, and a major business that used to dominate an era could also quickly fail. The solution is not at the level of a single organization. So given probability theory, it is difficult for a single organization to grasp the opportunities of major technological innovations, and it is necessary to rely on an ecosystem to seize the opportunities of technological innovation and transformation."

According to Prof. Gong, although improving dynamic, learning and absorbing capabilities may help organizations to seize innovation opportunities, the success of a major technological innovation is a small probability event for individual organizations, and it is difficult for a company to capture all major emergencies. It is essential to seek for opportunities through a cluster of ecosystem, innovation and industry. “There are a lot of companies rising and falling in Silicon Valley, but since Silicon Valley has formed a good cluster of ecosystem and industry, every era witnesses some businesses seize the technological opportunities to stand out.”

In addition to ecosystem, it is more important that each company can obtain a large amount of ecosystem data to provide useful information for deep learning in different scenarios. Therefore, the competition of artificial intelligence is not the competition between industry chains and ecosystems, instead of between individual enterprises. It is critical to create the whole ecosystem from source innovation to industry innovation.

Application-Oriented Businesses
Seek Opportunities in Market Segments

Specialized barriers are particularly evident in the medical domain. Ms. Zhang Xiaoming, Vice President of PPC Group, a provider of clinical trial services for biopharmaceutical companies, and a participant of emlyon Global DBA Program 2018, revealed in an interview with Business Management Review that the biggest challenge in the field of new drug clinical trial is patient recruitment, and 90% of delays in clinical trials are due to the failure to find suitable patients.

A complicated clinical trial of a new oncological drug is often subject to 20 or 30 screening criteria, which require the guidance of medical professionals to find the right patients. Recently, many AI startups have developed AI patient recruitment systems for clinical trials. A patient uploads his/her medical records to the platform, and the system automatically matches the uploaded medical records with clinical trials registered in databases such as clinicalTrials.gov, in order to recommend new drug clinical trials that may be suitable for the patient.

Ms. Zhang, who has both MBA and MS, decided to study at emlyon Global DBA program to find a methodology to solve the general bottleneck in the industry, that is, the recruitment of patients in clinical trials. She is working with some AI companies in China and the priority criterion is whether the potential candidate has sufficient medical big data. One of them has built a data network by partnering with more than 100 hospitals in China. “These companies have only emerged in recent years, who are focused on the medical field and can provide professional AI solutions.”

Thank Ms.Qian Lina and Mr.You Congrui for their contributions to this article
Some contents are adapted from Business Management Review
Reviewed by: emlyon Global DBA Program

Prof. Yeming (Yale) Gong
Professor of Management Science and DBA advisor,
emlyon Business School

He is visiting professor at Cornell University and received the master degree from INSEAD, PhD degree from Rotterdam School of Management, and obtained the Post-Doctorate from University of Chicago. Prof. Gong’s main research interests include big data logistics, big data supply chain, intelligent operation strategy, and intelligent manufacturing.

He has published book “Global Operations Strategy: Fundamentals and Practice” in Springer, which has been a best-selling book for years. The book has been globally adopted by more than 40 universities or business schools in Europe, USA, Australia, Africa, China, and other Asian Countries.According to a published scientometrics report by MHI in 2018, Prof. Gong is listed as top 10 scholar in the world and No.1 scholar in France in the field of material handling, measured by the degree of academic leadership.

Xiaoming ZHANG
emlyon Global DBA 2018 Intake
Holding double master's degree in MBA and science
VP, Head of Business Development in China
Protech Pharmasevices Corporation

Xiaoming ZHANG’s research topic is to develop big data analytics enabling business transformation model in clinical research CRO industry. Since she is working in clinical research organization industry and wants to do this research topic in order to help with organizations like Protech Pharmasevices Corporation.And probably it can make some findings for my industry applying big data analytics in the future. Through this research process, she wants to further develop research skills and to develop a concept model. And this model can be proven contributing for the entire industry at large.