AI in Action
AI in Action is a comprehensive curriculum designed to enable the Fung Group to build a data-enabled culture and develop AI-enabled business solutions.
Build AI capabilities and data-driven culture within the Fung Group.
Fung Holdings (1937) Limited, a privately-held business entity headquartered in Hong Kong, is the major shareholder of the Fung Group Companies. Their core businesses engage in trading, logistics, distribution and retailing. Li & Fung Limited (SEHK: 00494), Global Brands Group Holding Limited (SEHK: 00787) and Fung Retailing Limited are all subsidiaries of Fung Group.
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In 2018, Dr. Victor Fung, Chairman of the Fung Group, wanted to encourage new data-driven projects across his organization. The group, like any other large organization, has been generating and collecting vast amounts of data, but only utilizing a fraction of it to drive decisions or create new products, services, and business models. In fact, Digitization, Automation, and Artificial Intelligence were now threatening to disrupt the Fung Group’s business of supply chain & retail. So, Dr. Fung tasked his Academy with designing, building, and delivering a new Artificial Intelligence curriculum called AI in Action.
Fung Academy is the learning arm of the Fung Group. They accelerate learning to enable the Group to constantly evolve, and improve how their fast-changing world works. Through talent acquisition, leadership training and exploration and prototyping of innovations, the Academy build future capabilities of the Fung Group and its key stakeholders to shape the supply chain of the future.
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Comprehensive curriculum design, creative content development, and caring community building.
Yaniv was instrumental in helping us develop our artificial intelligence curriculum, AI in Action. Yaniv’s design combined the necessary technical ingredients for managers and practitioners to gain the foundation knowledge of AI, and the ways in which the technology could be deployed for value creation in business.
I started working on the AI in Action project in 2018. My role as a member of the Fung Academy was to help the AI in Action team design, develop, and deliver the AI curriculum. My work with the AI in Action team consisted of a wide range of activities – from designing the initial curriculum to co-creating content.
The team established a few goals to guide the design of the AI curriculum:
- Provide broad knowledge of AI, enabling leaders to “know” AI before “doing” AI.
- Build an understanding of how AI can bring value to Fung Group businesses.
- Develop the ability to identify opportunities to use AI in Fung Group because the strategic use of AI in the Fung Group can create a competitive advantage.
- Make learning practical so participants can apply AI to specific business units.
With these goals in mind, the curriculum was built around 4 modules:
- Foundation module which covered the history, evolution, and landscape of AI
- Technology module which developed an understanding of the algorithms and infrastructure needed to deploy AI
- Business module which discussed the application of AI through different case studies
- Application module which challenged participants to define and launch their own AI project
The curriculum was designed to be extremely practical so its subsequent development included additional elements that go beyond traditional Learning & Development practices. Every module was developed with a class project in mind. Participants were guided through a custom AI Project Blueprint that helped them to scope and shape their projects. 1-on-1 mentoring was available throughout the curriculum and continued well beyond to make sure participants had all the support they needed to bring their project to life. To up the ante, the Fung Academy launched a co-investment fund created specifically to support curriculum alumni in applying AI in the businesses.
Given the multitude of Fung Group businesses, the urgency of becoming AI-enabled, and the steep learning curve of a topic like AI, the team put a lot of emphasis on stakeholder management. Starting with Dr. Fung, through Fung Academy, and all the way down to the businesses, the AI in Action team sat down with stakeholders, listened to their thoughts, needs, dreams, and concerns, and created a stakeholder map to ensure that the curriculum creates the right impact.
Identifying Curriculum Delivery Vendor
The AI in Action team needed to enlist the help of AI experts in the delivery of the curriculum. The process included reaching out and interviewing potential vendors, coming up with the right criteria to evaluate their pros and cons, and finally identifying the right vendor to partner with on this project. The team ultimately partnered with Reboot.ai to assist in the development and delivery of the curriculum as well as support participants through 1-on-1 mentoring.
In order to create awareness of AI and the development of the curriculum within the Fung Group, I gave a talk titled A Gentle Introduction to Artificial Intelligence to the 2018 PMD intake.
Learn more about the PMD.
Delivery and Support
The first curriculum was delivered in April 2019. I attended the first two modules and provided feedback about the experience, quality of material and delivery, as well as provide general suggestions for improvements.
A data and AI-enabled Fung Group driven by a community of internal champions.
Yaniv and I worked on developing an AI curriculum for the Fung Academy. Yaniv designed the initial curriculum and then worked with us to develop each module, find and select the right partner to deliver the curriculum, as well as audit the first run of the curriculum.
Fung Academy and Reboot.ai continue to deliver the AI in Action curriculum. The impact of AI in Action has been transformative for the Fung Group. More initiatives were launched like an online community on MS Teams, offline events such as a pitching workshop, and an AI showcase.
Following the launch of the curriculum, a core community of 28 alumni across 8 business units continues to learn and evangelize AI across the Fung Group. Overall, 9 projects were supported by the Fung Academy with 4 being coached towards a Proof-of-Concept.
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