It’s ok to not go AI first!

Julia Butter
Oct 16 · 3 min read

We consciously decided against an AI first maxim — for now.

AI Readiness is about educating and inspiring employees and enabling them to win by making products and processes better with AI. Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

In 2018 — motivated by events such as Singularity University — Scout24 started internal discussions about how AI would change the future of our products and company. Everyone was (and is!) convinced that AI will change our lives massively. We had executed several Data Science projects already, but felt that it was the time to take the next big step and start investing more into AI.

Mostly involved in the discussions and kick-off meetings were our Director of Data Technology Markus Schmidberger and our former CTO Richard Durnall. They thought about it in depth:

Would an AI strategy or an AI first maxim make more sense for our company? They finally agreed that either would do the job.

Our solution was AI Readiness.

Why not go AI first as a company?

Scout24 has executed successfully on two product maxims for years:

  • Consumer first and
  • mobile first.

And we are a marketplace with the intention to make the user experience very efficient and stress-free.

So, yes, AI will play a huge role! No discussion. Yet there was clarity having another “First maxim” wouldn’t rock. We agreed that in the beginning we wanted to focus on education, inspiration and creating impact by successful AI projects. There was also a need for re-evaluating structures and adjusting processes. In other words, it was time to run a change to make the company AI ready.

(Note: An AI strategy or an AI-first program might still come later in the AI journey of Scout24.)

What exactly is AI Readiness?

There was a clear message by the management to our employees. Scout24 doesn’t aim to replace people by AI. So the goal of the AI Readiness Program was and is to give every employee applicable knowledge in a consumer first and AI supported culture​:

  • How might AI help me to do my job better?
  • How might I make this idea happen?

For Product, UX and Tech this means specifically:

  • Focus on the consumer when designing a product / process​ and
  • Focus on AI when considering how to deliver a magical experience

(Here you can read about an example project we delivered exactly that way. We wanted to simplify the search journey for our consumers and offer a more intuitive and seamless discovery experience.)

For any internal processes it means that we would like to use AI to make them more scaling and more user friendly.

How to deliver AI Readiness

We decided to focus on concrete KPIs to see the impact of our actions:

  • Employees trained
  • Business processes changed
  • AI initiatives rolled out

Our concrete steps in the AI Readiness journey were the conduction of AI Use Case Discovery Workshops, a Christmas inspiration, trainings, the set up of an AI community with regular sessions and specific topics of the month and regular AI inspiration newsletter featuring internal projects and relevant market news (articles on the latter following soon — check out my profile or follow me to get notified).

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Interested in learning more about me or want to work together? Reach out on LinkedIn!

Julia Butter

Written by

AI Evangelist working @Scout24. In love with building products people love. Combining Design Thinking and Machine Learning. Innovation enthusiast.

Scout24 Engineering

All about engineering @Scout24

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