Meeting the Challenges: Artificial Intelligence, Enterprise Open Innovation, and Partnering Models

September 19, 2017

Thank you to CBS and to our participants at our TON program held on September 14, 2017 at CBS. Once again, we’ve done what we do well: open up to interesting input and robustly discuss its relevance to our work leveraging value from external and/or distant resources and technology.


We kicked the day off with our Red Thread: Peter Ørberg Jensen, Associate Professor, CBS, noted the clear differences between past internationalisation of development when standardised production was the trigger for including developing economies, and that of the current wave of internationalisation which sees organisations supporting multiple international sites covering both processes and innovation. Instead of merely exploiting resources abroad, organisations today develop complementary process and development value chains with a specific intent of leveraging knowledge resources for business advantage. Yet for all of these benefits, working this way demands rigour and excellence at client organisations.


We then had Martin Börjesson, Partner, “stir the pot” with his perspective on artificial intelligence. According to Martin, it is not a question of “if” organisations will need to grapple with AI, it is only a question of “when.”  Martin helped us to understand that the current use of business intelligence is primarily limited to dashboards and reporting where true artificial intelligence is distinguished by actual machine learning, enabling predictability. Yet for all of its promise for new business models, the route to success is littered with challenges, among them corporate push-back and limited focus on actual business-outcome by those making AI investments. Martin emphasised the criticality of focusing on a business outcome, e.g. a competitive advantage, a business improvement etc., rather than just corralling massive amounts of data and playing in the sandbox with it. Not focusing on the business outcome is a guaranteed way to ensure the AI project fails.


Wolfgang Sofka, Associate Professor, CBS then took the stage to talk about his comprehensive research into enterprise-level B2B open innovation. Wolfgang remarked on the desirability of collaboration and the explicit ways that business (and the academic world) encourage it. Yet, research has shown that there is a clear point when the diversity of partners reaches a point of diminishing returns. The benefits of collaboration go down because many organisations underestimate the costs of screening companies; lack the breadth of knowledge to properly benchmark suppliers; are deeply challenged to anchor innovations developed externally in their own companies; and can be challenged to actually document the direct effect of this kind of collaboration.


In the afternoon, we conducted a mini-workshop on challenges. The members presenting challenges for our discussion were LEGO, Mærsk, Arla, Danish Crown, Carlsberg and ISS. Among the challenges we discussed were: Constructing the optimal managed services set-up; Delivering quality and value in a managed services set-up; Moving from an in-house vendor-management model to one that is delivered via a 3rd party; Moving from a sand-box AI pilot project to a production-level AI product; Raising the professional profile and prestige of in-house contract management; and developing vendor management models that keep up with the accelerating pace of change.


We used a brief bit of time to brainstorm on good topics for future TON programs as well as to harvest ideas for speakers. We are always on the look-out for relevant topics and speakers that would benefit our network. We are definitely interested in hearing from you with regards to topics and speakers so please contact us if you have any ideas!


We are really looking forward to our next TON program. It will be held on November 9, 2017 and will be hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For more information, please contact Katie Gove at