Artificial intelligence, real transformation

1)	„Beyond the buzz: How Artificial Intelligence is changing industries“ – Sarah Schimmelpfennig, Executive Director Marketing & Communications bei FIEGE, und Co-CEO Jens Fiege eröffneten das sechste FAST & FORWARD.

The sixth instalment of FAST & FORWARD is held at Von Greifswald, a former railroad depot. FIEGE invited around 250 international guests to their annual networking event in Berlin. This year’s motto is Beyond the buzz: How Artificial Intelligence is changing industries. An eventful day filled with discussions, work and plenty of laughter came to an end, producing invaluable stimulus.

Our data. Our power. – set in big white letters on large, turquoise-coloured cubes suspended from the ceiling of the old railroad depot. And there is more: We innovate. We transform. The backdrop of Von Greifswald is picture-perfect for this. The Berlin venue which the logistics company FIEGE used for the sixth time now for its FAST & FORWARD event is just one good example of how transformation can become a winning formula when bravely pursuing new paths. In the past, goods were loaded here but today, it is where people meet, convene, and celebrate in a very special ambiance.

Networking in besonderer Atmosphäre: Das „Von Greifswald“ in Berlin bot den perfekten Rahmen für die sechste Auflage des FAST & FORWARD von FIEGE.

Networking in a special atmosphere: Von Greifswald in Berlin provided the perfect setting for the sixth edition of FIEGE's FAST & FORWARD.

This year’s motto of FIEGE’s exchange format is Beyond the buzz: How Artificial Intelligence is changing industries. Right at the start, the direction of today’s journey is mapped out. “FAST & FORWARD is our way of offering a networking and exchange platform where people from different areas and industries come together who usually might not even talk to each other”, says the Co-CEO, Jens Fiege who manages the family business in unison with his cousin, Felix Fiege, during his welcoming address.

If these people worked together intensely for one day and shared their expertise in their respective fields, not only would this create valuable new contacts but also many exciting ideas, Jens Fiege explains. “This goes especially also for AI, which is a topic that affects all of us and has become an integral part of our world.” Artificial intelligence will change many things, not just for FIEGE alone. It will change the market, the working world, products, and services. “AI is thus both: a challenge and a major opportunity. Today, we want to contribute our small share in making the most of this opportunity rather than missing out on it.”

Digital transformation alongside streams of data

Someone who knows a lot about opportunities inherent in AI is Sascha Lobo. The journalist, author and AI start-up founder takes the audience at the FAST & FORWARD event through the first part of the daytime programme which covers everything from keynotes to panel discussions, flagship presentations, hands-on sessions and start-up pitches. During his presentation, Lobo shares how artificial intelligence changes the world and what this change means within logistics, eCommerce and the working world. In his own words: “AI has the potential to disrupt entire industries and markets once new data streams have been created and evaluated with the help of AI. Our job is to find out which data streams offer such potential, how we can spot them and how, in the end, we can get to them.”

„Wie künstliche Intelligenz die Welt verändert und was das für Logistik, E-Commerce und die Arbeitswelt bedeutet“ – Sascha Lobo hielt die erste Keynote des Tages.

"How artificial intelligence is changing the world and what that means for logistics, e-commerce and the corporate world" - Sascha Lobo gave the first keynote speech of the day.

A first important step, and a decisive factor in succeeding, is not to underestimate the transformation triggered by AI, which many still do. It is also about speed and flexibility, Lobo explains. “It is not possible for us to foresee the precise direction this will be taking, not even with the best, most comprehensive and costliest of preparation. This technology will even surprise AI experts time and again. All we can do is try to edge towards this AI transformation by developing a feeling, an instinct for it.” Either way, the mission will be to want to always be a part of shaping this development. “We will have to trial which AI possibilities will advance us – together with partners, employees, and clients. And we must be ready for specific, short-term investments and business models.” He is convinced: “ChatGPT was the iPhone moment in artificial intelligence. We are currently living through an incredible enthusiasm for data which has no natural limitations. The age of AI started long ago.”

Im ersten Panel des Tages diskutierten Kenza Ait Si Abbou, Vorständin bei FIEGE, Dubravko Dolic, Head of Applied Analytics & AI bei Continental, Dr. Jasmin Kaiser, CIO bei Lufthansa Cargo, und Moderatorin Katrin-Cécile Ziegler (v.l.n.r.) zum Thema „KI-Revolution im Unternehmen: Vom Status quo zur Zukunftsvision“.

First panel: Kenza Ait Si Abbou, Board Member at FIEGE, Dubravko Dolic, Head of Applied Analytics & AI at Continental, Dr Jasmin Kaiser, CIO at Lufthansa Cargo, and presenter Katrin-Cécile Ziegler (from left to right) discussed the topic of "AI revolution in companies: From status quo to future vision".

Zweites Panel: Nicolaus Schefenacker, Co-Founder von Sennder, und Elisabeth L’Orange debattierten zum Thema „Innovationsführerschaft KI: Wie Start-ups unsere Zukunft gestalten?“

Second panel: Nicolaus Schefenacker, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sennder, and Elisabeth L'Orange, Co-Founder and COO of Oxolo, debated with Katrin-Cécile Ziegler on the topic of "AI innovation leadership: How start-ups are shaping our future?".

The logical inference is that artificial intelligence will be integrated into almost all work processes of winning companies, Lobo says. More so: Ultimately, the competitiveness of businesses as well as of Europe compared to USA and China depends on this. Lobo’s plea is clear: “Germany need not and must not be afraid of the AI transformation; instead, we must invest in it and encourage it.” After all, so Lobo, it is already apparent that there is more than economic profit that can be boosted with the help of AI. “Working with AI also comes with the opportunity of being happier, more productive and having employees in teams who are less likely to change their job or hand in their notice.”

Combining the strengths of people and AI

A thesis that Kenza Ait Si Abbou would easily subscribe to. The FIEGE Director who has been overseeing Digital Services, IT and Data Driven Company since last September, explains in her keynote titled The workplace 4.0: Humans and machines in sync? that the fear of AI is poor advice. “It’s all about keeping the strengths that we already have and adding new strengths which we can harness with AI on top. The fear will then disappear on its own.” From a company’s perspective, it is “our responsibility to address our communication to specific audiences and empower our colleagues to actively partake in the AI transformation.”

„Arbeitswelt 4.0: Mensch und Maschine im Einklang?“ – FIEGE Vorständin Kenza Ait Si Abbou lieferte die zweite Keynote des Tages.

"The workplace 4.0: Humans and machines in sync?" - FIEGE Director Kenza Ait Si Abbou delivered the second keynote of the day.

After all, it takes openness and acceptance of technology by all employees to successfully transform a company in the age of AI, Ait Si Abbou says. “Technology drives value creation. That was the case yesterday and is the same today. What’s new is that the speed at which this is happening is growing exponentially. In the future, we will be dealing with tasks that we are not even aware of today. We will unlearn old and relearn new things.” Her approach is best summed up like this: “You don’t become a Data Driven Company overnight or by accident. If we, as a company, want to be driven by data in everything that we do, we will need to trigger a transformation process that is so far reaching that it can only succeed if and when every single colleague pitches in.”

Kacper Nowicki, CEO von nomagic, sprach in seinem Impulsvortrag über „AI and the physical world“.

Kacper Nowicki, CEO of nomagic, gave the first keynote speech of the day. The title of the presentation: "AI and the physical world".

„Shopping smarter – empowering & entertaining customers with AI experiences” – das war das Thema des Impulsvortrags von Tian Su, Vice President Personalisation und Recommendation bei Zalando.

Tian Su, Vice President Personalisation and Recommendation at Zalando, spoke about "Shopping smarter - empowering & entertaining customers with AI experiences" in her keynote speech.

Cooperation and partnership as the key to success

A point that Felix Fiege picks up again at the end of FAST & FORWARD. “We are at our best and our strongest as a team, both inside and outside of our company. Partnership and cooperation are what make us master future challenges. By combining a range of competencies, we add significant value.”

Runde Sache: Zum Abschluss des Tages fassten Kati Wilmsmeier, Executive Director Marketing & Communications bei FIEGE, Co-CEO Felix Fiege und Moderatorin Katrin-Cécile Ziegler (v.l.n.r.) die wichtigsten Erkenntnisse, Thesen und Impulse des FAST & FORWARD 2024 zusammen.

Rounding off the day: Kati Wilmsmeier, Executive Director Marketing & Communications at FIEGE, Co-CEO Felix Fiege and moderator Katrin-Cécile Ziegler (from left to right) summarised the most important findings, theses and impulses of FAST & FORWARD 2024.

And for this very reason, the bottom line of the FAST & FORWARD event is nothing but positive for him: “My notepad is fuller than I would have ever thought possible when I set out this morning. A big thank you to our speakers and to the start-ups, for sharing this much knowledge and exchanging this many ideas. I take a lot of inspiration and valuable input with me for our day-to-day business and our strategic planning. Naturally, we don’t know today where artificial intelligence will work at FIEGE, and where it won’t. But we will edge closer and trial many things to tap the opportunities that AI has in store for us as best as possible.” Moving fast and forward into the future!