Invest to Grow: University of Birmingham case study

Curium | 12 Sep 2018 | News | General News

This case study is part of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s Invest to Grow campaign. Invest to Grow aims to inspire and inform businesses around investment in R&D, innovation, technology and machinery and how it can help boost productivity through case studies, expert opinion pieces and briefing information.

Part 1 of Invest to Grow focuses on investment in innovation and research & development and is sponsored by the University of Birmingham. The university asked Curium to contribute a case study.

Curium Solutions is an independent change consultancy that empowers individuals and organisations to achieve their personal and business potential.

We work with private and public sector organisations, with customers having included Lloyds Banking Group, E.ON, Sainsbury’s, Argos, local authorities, private equity-backed businesses and partnerships. In 2018 we won two awards at the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce Awards: Business of the Year and Excellence in People Development.

As a small company challenging established players in a competitive consultancy market, we leverage thought leadership to help raise awareness of our brand and establish our credibility.

In our region, we are lucky to have a host of highly rated academic institutions and we are keen to form closer links with them. In 2016, we developed a relationship with the University of Birmingham to explore areas of synergy in digital innovation and to collaborate on potential research projects.

Among the various ways we have worked with the University of Birmingham, one which has had a material impact on our reputation is investing time in MBA projects. We have worked with two students, commissioning research from them as part of their final projects.

Enthusiastic and insightful, they have helped develop our thinking about a topic affecting many of our customers: artificial intelligence and robotics.

We wanted to understand better the benefits and concerns over AI and robotics investment and the challenges of integrating new technologies within existing organisational cultural and leadership structures.

Collaborating with the University of Birmingham has enabled us to:

  • Identify the key drivers and benefits of implementing AI and robotics technologies
  • Identify the cultural, organisational and leadership challenges faced when implementing AI and robotics technologies
  • Drill into the adoption of AI and robotics in specific areas including legal services and contact centres

While AI and robotics offer many opportunities to create competitive advantage, companies are struggling to make a business case as the technology is too expensive or not proven. Research indicates that while there is a significant amount of interest in this field, only around 20% of organisations use AI and robotics or have strategic plans to implement them.

We strongly believe that technology on its own won’t fully deliver business benefits. What will is the ability to integrate AI technology with improved processes and people. As with all strategic transformation programmes, changing behaviour is critical, which is where we focus our efforts.

Following the MBA research, we are better informed and better able to support our customers as they work through the pros, cons and mindset change required to develop their technological capability.

To other businesses considering investing time, ideas and resources for collaborating with the University of Birmingham on research and development projects I’d say, give it a go. Invest the time to shape a programme that meets your objectives and you’ll have useful data and insights to help take your business forward.

Get your copy of our report ‘AI and robotics: from science fiction to business fact’.

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