Successfully apply AI in your own company

25.6.2021 | For the third time, the INC Invention Center and Fraunhofer IIS/EAS are training companies in the use of artificial intelligence (AI). In the consortium project “AI: Understand – Apply – Benefit,” participants from a wide range of industries learn how to harness the potential of AI to their advantage. Applications range from production processes and operational workflows to integration into products and services. The consortium project will run from June 25, 2021 to April 5, 2022, although it is still possible to join at a later date during the first few weeks after the start of the project.


“Our consortium project is an all-inclusive package, and that’s the secret of its success,” says Anne Loos, Head of Business Development at Fraunhofer IIS/EAS. “Companies learn what AI is and where they can best apply it in their business. We then work together to identify the most promising use case, develop solution concepts, create a roadmap, and review what the actual implementation might look like. By the end, participants have concrete recommendations for action as well as a list of potential partners with whom they can successfully implement a use case in their company.”

Fraunhofer AI Innovation Days am 16.09.2020 in der Börse in Dresden
© Fraunhofer IIS/Arvid Müller
"The networking in a strong ecosystem, such as the consortium projects so excellently provided by KEX and Fraunhofer IIS/EAS, has always helped us enormously.” Christian Baier, Managing Director, NEDGEX GmbH

First things first: What is AI, anyway?

To begin with, project leaders clarify what AI is and how it can be used. As Loos says: “The hardest part often is actually getting started. That’s because lots of people are talking about AI, but they all have a different idea of what it means. So it’s important to get everyone on the same page first. What are we talking about when we talk about artificial intelligence?”

Support throughout the entire journey

It’s true that AI can do many things, such as eliminate inefficiencies in internal processes, reduce waste and inform decisions on strategic direction. It can also improve product value and the customer experience. But it takes a lot of preparatory work before any of that can happen. First of all, potential users must know exactly which (internal or external) customer problem they want to eliminate. Only then can they ask whether AI is a possible solution. If it is, then they need historical data to train the AI, along with process knowledge, infrastructure, and the right mindset in their organization.

“The biggest benefit for companies is that they don’t just receive help – they learn to help themselves. At the end of the project, they have a plan, they have a roadmap, they have the methodological skills. They have a clear picture of where it really makes sense to use AI. This hands-on support gives them the confidence and guidance for using AI profitably and securing a competitive edge.

What do companies gain from being a project partner? Why should, say, a medium-sized company seize this opportunity?

This is how previous participants have benefited from the consortium project:

“The consortium project has several advantages for Norafin as a medium-sized company: the AI readiness check helped us classify our own AI capabilities, we built up knowledge on the topic of AI with the Fraunhofer experts, and we worked closely with them on the implementation of our own use cases. It was the perfect introduction to the application of AI-supported possibilities in SMEs.”
André Lang, CEO, Norafin Industries GmbH

“The AI consortium project taught us that when introducing artificial intelligence, identifying and prioritizing AI-based value drivers is at least as important as driving company-wide digitalization. Thanks to the constructive workshops, training sessions and, not least, the dialogue within the consortium, we’re optimistic that we’ll be able to tap the potential of AI and digitalization in the future.”
Dr. Alexander Arndt, Manager of Digitalization and Process Design, Laserline GmbH

“Participation in the consortium project gave us the opportunity to bring knowledge not only of the fundamentals, but also of the scenarios for AI application at our company, to a much larger group of experts and executives. In this respect, the project was another door opener for a topic that will be a major part of our work at Miele in the coming years.”
Alexander Henke, Director of the Creator of Quality Innovation Cluster, Miele & Cie. KG

“As digitalization progresses, the Dresden State Art Collections face special challenges in dealing with the data of our cultural heritage. The consortium project “AI: Understand – Apply – Benefit” helped us to develop a better understanding of AI as well as its possibilities and to evaluate potential ways of working with our digitized collections.”
Dr. Martin Zavesky, Digital Communications, Dresden State Art Collections

“For us, the technologies related to artificial intelligence are some of the most important enablers for the development of new digital business models. On this basis, we’ve already created remarkable solutions with our corporate start-ups. The networking in a strong ecosystem, such as the consortium projects so excellently provided by KEX and Fraunhofer IIS/EAS, has always helped us enormously.”
Christian Baier, Managing Director, NEDGEX GmbH


FAQ Consortium project

  • A consortium project is an alliance of interested partners who carry out a project for a limited period of time. In the AI project, around 15 consortium partners are developing AI concepts for use cases in their companies. The project is being run by the INC Invention Center together with the Adaptive Systems Development EAS division of the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS.

  • We ensure right in the preliminary discussion that applying AI to the selected use case has a chance of success. The project includes the following: skills development, a company-specific AI maturity assessment, technology scouting and solution concepts, support for the “make or buy” decision, expert discussion and community.

  • The consortium project is open to anyone considering an AI application for their business. Participants come from a broad range of industries, including industrial automation, automotive, semiconductors, mechanical and industrial engineering, logistics and healthcare. They also work in a wide variety of functional areas, including production and manufacturing planning, predictive maintenance, innovation management, supply chain management, and internal or external logistics.

  • Companies usually bring along several potential use cases. As a rule, each consortium partner controls its information and data and can decide at all times which information it chooses to share with the consortium. Some partners communicate their basic experiences in more general terms because of competition considerations relating to their use cases. And there are other partners, for example in the cultural sector, that are more open with their data because it is publicly available anyway. It is precisely this mixture that is very valuable for all partners.


    • Companies with up to 50 employees: 7,500 euros
    • Companies with 51 to 250 employees: 15,000 euros
    • Companies with more than 250 employees: 30,000 euros
  • It started June 25, 2021, and runs until April 5, 2022



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