Keesiu Wong is the Co-Founder and CEO of Design AI, a Munich-based startup combining AI and Design Thinking to develop innovative software solutions.
Keesiu was born and raised in Germany and studied Mathematics with a focus on statistics and probability theory at Technical University Munich. Before founding Design AI, he has worked in numerous startups and consultancies implementing AI models.
1. What is Design AI?
Everybody is talking about AI. It is a big buzzword and a lot of hype has been evolved around it. However, many German companies, especially medium-sized ones, still have the problem of harnessing the potential of AI. The business model of Design AI is to combine the power of AI with the innovative concepts of Design Thinking to solve this issue. We want to help companies make use of AI by:
- Creating an understanding of AI through training and workshops.
- Identifying relevant AI use cases with the help of Design Thinking.
- Developing and implementing AI applications in business processes.
Design AI offers an end-to-end solution and does not stop at the sole conception of use cases.
Before I founded Design AI, I had participated in a scholarship program for entrepreneurship during my studies (Manage&More). There I got to know my current co-founder Frederik. We both had a fascination with AI from the very beginning. We learned a lot about Design Thinking in this program and soon realized that these two topics fit together exceptionally well.
2. How did you find your passion for data?
For me, data and formulas are very tangible and measurable. Like in mathematics, there are unclouded truths in data. My first job was in the business intelligence department of an eCommerce startup, where I had my first contact with machine learning. I found it super exciting to evaluate data to support business decisions. Especially in eCommerce, it is essential to understand customers with the help of data.
For example, we wanted to know in which part of the purchasing process the users leave our shop. With the information gained, we were able to optimize operations and drive the business forward.
3. How did you acquire the necessary technical skills?
While studying mathematics, I learned the theoretical aspects of AI, which was mainly about the methodical basics like formulas and mathematical proofs.
In parallel, I worked in different startups and consultancies to learn how to implement AI projects in practice. I also gained experience in various industries like energy, finance, and automotive through my own projects.
4. How do you or Design AI create value from data?
Design AI focuses on customer needs through Design Thinking. Data basically has a value, but to realize this value, you have to find the right use case and know how to make use of AI properly.
For example, we developed a matching algorithm for a client using an unsupervised learning approach, which applies NLP to estimate the candidate’s fit for a job. Previously, we identified with Design Thinking that the client had a great need to pre-sort and rank the numerous applicants.
5. Where do you see the opportunities and challenges of AI?
For me, AI is a general-purpose technology with versatile application possibilities. It is independent of any industry and can be used along the entire value chain. Furthermore, AI is also an »invention of a method for invention.« This means that AI can also generate knowledge.
Basically, companies can use AI in three different ways:
- Automate processes to increase efficiency and save costs.
- Support business decisions with the help of data.
- Develop new products, services, and even business models.
AI has the potential to disrupt all business areas, regardless of industry and size.
However, one should not underestimate the challenges in AI.
Especially in Germany, there is still a lack of understanding of technology, which makes many people fear for their jobs.
I believe that there has been significant progress in the development of AI prototypes and algorithms in recent years. Instead, I see the challenge in the availability, exchange, and validity of data, as well as in the productive implementation of AI models.
6. What invention do you hope to see in your lifetime?
I hope that I can still experience the so-called »Artificial General Intelligence«. This is the point where AI has the same level of intelligence as humans. For me, this would be a turning point in human history, and I would be incredibly interested in how the world develops afterward. However, I don’t hope that we’ll be living in a world, where machines enslave the human race like in Terminator or The Matrix…
7. If you could switch places with the CEO of a company for one day, which one would it be?
If it’s only for one day, I would probably be attracted to the US President’s work routine. I would like to know how his day-to-day work looks like and how much input he gets from all sides.
In general, however, I don’t want to swap places with another CEO, as I am delighted with my current role as CEO of Design AI. Of course, other companies are more successful and have an incredibly exciting product, too. But for me, the most crucial aspect of a company is the work culture, and I am positive that our corporate culture at Design AI suits me best.