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The debate as part of the AmCham Reinvention Breakfast at the Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) on Tuesday concluded that what makes companies successful is their willingness to cope with the challenge of reinventing themselves and adjusting to constant change brought by digitalisation and the rise of artificial intelligence.

At the panel called Predicting the Unpredictable: How to Win in the Flow of Constant Change?, Marten Kaevats, a digital advisor for the Estonian government, said that making predictions was really hard, "a kind of witchcraft". According to him, digitalisation is actually about cultural change. Although it is believed that technology is only a tool, it becomes a purpose in its own right, but it is not about gadgets, it is about culture and mindset, he said.

Joško Mrndze, Google's manager for the Adriatic region, added that constant change and disruption was a good thing, as it encouraged companies to be resilient, fast and adaptable. For Mrndze, disruption may have a negative connotation, but only for those who are not able to adapt. "Disruption is actually progress, and thinking from a different point of view will eventually bring benefits in the long run." A setup should be created where innovativeness will come out of as a natural process. "With the arrival of more sophisticated tools, some jobs will be replaced by automation, but we will have more time for creativity."

Gregor Potočar, the managing director of the software company SAP SE for Southeast Europe, also touched on disruption, which is not actually disruption for him, as "we are living the change every day" and "recipe for survival is to change fast enough". He stressed that his company had managed to reinvent itself a couple of times in history, and that successful companies actually wanted change, while it is not a big deal if some companies fail to do so.

Disruption and transformation was also welcomed by Matthias Sachs, the director of corporate affairs of Microsoft CEE, who sees a "lot of appetite for transformation" during his regional trips. He argued that large corporations such as Microsoft want to give back something to societies, help transform them, and be responsible and transparent, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is something Joe Dumoulin of the US analytics company Verint Systems, deals with, seeing it as a tool to help people and companies to make better analytical decisions. The biggest problem however is getting the right data to solve a problem. "We sometimes are trying to answer questions with wrong data, perhaps this is something that will change with AI," he added.

Source: STA

AmCham Reinvention Breakfast was a part of the Business Bled Strategic Forum 2019, entitled "Predicting the Unpredictable".

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