| 17.12.2019

Artificial intelligence is the future of service excellence

Students presenting their work to a jury
Today’s business world is faced with continuous turbulence, and decision-making in the incalculable environment is even more complicated than before. Hanken trains its students to work-life challenges in tight collaboration with the business world.

Students at the master level course Transformative Service Strategies, lead by Professor Kristina Heinonen, have collaborated this fall with KONE Corporation, a Finnish-based global giant with over 57,000 employees across more than 60 countries worldwide. Professor Heinonen together with top management at KONE developed a business case competition where student teams compete against each other in pitching the most useful and feasible solution to one of KONE’s ongoing service transformation challenges.

“It is increasingly important to educate oneself and stay open to new thoughts”, says Jussi Herlin, Strategy Development Manager and Vice Chairman of the Board of KONE. He was one of the KONE representatives of the jury evaluating Hanken students’ solutions to the case challenge about B2B customers´expectations of digital service experiences.

“Kone is interested in listening to diverse thoughts outside the company, and students can offer one view to that”, says Henrietta Haavisto, the Head of Service Transformation Global Maintenance at KONE. There are 25 students in the course from different backgrounds, from different countries, providing KONE with their ideas. “I am impressed, but not surprised how well the students are able to develop compelling solutions that combine customer-centric ideas with technology-human balance", says Heinonen.

Artificial intelligence in its different forms was one key solution that students offered to KONE, as an answer to how to build future services that customers appreciate. AI offers many benefits without significant risks when it is used without forgetting the human touch, and many young customers prefer already to use for example chat robots.

“The students had made good use of academic research and presented comprehensive and deep-thought solutions. They had also taken account the global view which is important for KONE”, says Haavisto.

“It is ever more important to widely observe the world and reflect oneself”, answers Herlin to the question about what kind of knowledge and skills are needed, in the future business. “Interdisciplinary skills are useful. It is good to jump into different projects and be open-minded.”

Other members of the jury evaluating the students’ pitches were Rosa Smolander from KONE and Professors Emeriti Christian Grönroos and Tore Strandvik from CERS Hanken.

The jury listening to the students

Kristina Heinonen, Henrietta Haavisto, Jussi Herlin and Rosa Smolander listening to student presentations


Text and photos: Annamari Huovinen