The aim of the Älypaja workshop was to provide information on artificial intelligence and to demonstrate how artificial intelligence could be utilised in the operations of small and mediumsized businesses. The Älypaja workshop was advertised to entrepreneurs operating in the Satakunta region: “In Hubble’s Älypaja workshop, we humanise artificial intelligence by talking about it in simple terms and by explaining how it can benefit your company. During the workshop, we will identify potential business challenges that could be solved using artificial intelligence.” Artificial intelligence can be defined as a method of attempting to make computers understand human intelligence and imitate human-like cognitive functions such as learning and problem solving (Yin et al. 2018). According to Sebag (2014), machine learning was at the core of artificial intelligence even before the name was coined. Machine learning can be used for multiple purposes, from Internet searches to social media recommendation systems, which can be used to supporting sales and marketing in businesses. Machine learning systems are used to recognise targets, to turn speech into text, and to customise news, messages and products that specific customers might be interested in (Lohi, 2018).
In the Älypaja workshop, Hubble’s CEO Jani Nurmi talked generally about artificial intelligence and provided examples on how artificial intelligence can be utilised. Jani Nurmi also presented case studies in which Hubble had utilised artificial intelligence. In addition, Pirita Ihamäki provided information about BrandCube, a service design method developed by Ihamäki in cooperation with Katriina Heljakka. The BrandCube tool is both a service design method and a prototyping tool utilised in service design, which provides an opportunity to develop solutions for customer interfaces. BrandCube can be used for designing the visual appearance of the service as well as for performance-oriented prototyping. BrandCube therefore functions as a platform that helps users visualise potential experiences related to customer journeys (Ihamäki & Heljakka 2017).
In service design, prototyping means creating a rough model of the service to support the design and development of the service. The aim of prototyping is to gain a better understanding of the planned service entity. Prototyping involves testing and refining ideas together with the team. Prototyping is an essential part of service design, and it is used to illustrate and test service components and concepts with customers or service providers (Tuulaniemi 2013, 196–197). Prototyping can be used to visualise the service chain, service environment or ecosystem, and different prototyping methods can be used to design the different touchpoints of the service. Prototyping brings a third dimension to the interaction situation which may provide a deeper understanding of the service under development. Different interaction methods activate people in different ways; some people are verbal, some are visual, and some prefer three-dimensional conceptualisation.
Prototyping is a quick ‘cut-and-paste’ exercise that provides an easy way to test service components and to outline practices. Prototypes help illustrate design ideas and provide something concrete for the rest of the design team to comment on and improve. Service prototypes, i.e. rough prototypes, can be built from almost any office or recycled material available, including pens and paper, tape, cardboard, boxes, etc. (Tuulaniemi 2013, 197–198). In this workshop, we used three-dimensional paper cubes based on the BrandCube concept to build an artificial intelligence solution for a business entity selected by the team.
Based on the feedback, participants were pleased with the Älypaja workshop. On a scale from 1 to 5, the Älypaja workshop was rated at 4.25. One participant commented: “The workshop was successful in breaking down difficult terms and concepts related to artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is still such a new concept to people that the workshop invitation itself could have elaborated further on the subject.” The best thing about the workshop were the “concrete examples on the application of artificial intelligence in production (though more of these would be welcome)”. The participants were pleased with the workshop and stated:
Great event, worth attending! Would love to see more of this type of useful activity!