First Results of AI Social Design Thinking Lab

First results of the AI Social Design Thinking Lab research project show what hinders SMEs and start-ups in the application of AI systems.


The AI Social Design Thinking Lab (ATCZ271) research project is funded by the European Commission under the Czech-Austrian Interreg programme and aims to create a cross-border network to explore opportunities for the practical use of AI systems in start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Southern Bohemia, Upper Austria and Vienna.

Currently, a survey was conducted to find out what prevents start-ups and SMEs in Vienna from using or introducing AI systems. IHS employees found that the lack of trust, shortage of qualified personnel, high acquisition costs and the not always immediately recognisable benefits of AI systems are the main barriers. The research revealed that, in addition to qualification measures, there is a need for mechanisms that promote acceptance and trust or that accompany and support start-ups and SMEs in the implementation of AI systems. The practical implementation of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) can promote trust in new technologies during their development and application. AI knowledge should not only be imparted to experts, but also to all interested parties through the provision of test stations, for example. National and international funding will support start-ups and SMEs in Vienna financially in their digitisation processes.

The next steps in the project are the validation and, if necessary, supplementation of the results by experts before physical AI Social Design Thinking Labs are opened and tested in Austria and the Czech Republic. Until the end of the project (December 2022), three AI training concepts for different target groups will be developed.