Skip to main content

Generative AI for Engineering & Innovation: How AI augments the way we innovate & work in creative teams

Mar 21, 2024 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm AEDT
Wilkinson Lecture Theatre 250 , Wilkinson Building (G04)
The University of Sydney

Generative AI is here and now. Join Professor Frank Piller for an insightful seminar on Generative AI for Engineering & Innovation, being hosted by the Discipline of Strategy, Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the University of Sydney Business School, in collaboration with the Faculty of Engineering and the Sydney Knowledge Hub.

Research and development has always relied on cutting-edge technologies to push the boundaries of innovation – combined with human creativity. Today, a new generation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), in particular large language models and transformer architectures, offers new ways to expand the problem and solution space in an innovation project.

Long considered the furthest frontier, AI is now being applied to "creative" work, such as OpenAI's ChatGPT, which can automate the ideation and design process. Other algorithms can automatically identify latent market needs from, for example, social media streams or CRM data.

In engineering, the use of generative adversarial networks (GAN) is driving a new generation of problem solving and design approaches. Applications build on advanced simulation models using the digital twin, linking engineering with usage data and real-time executable models. AI has also proven its power in materials science, with algorithms and robotic process automation working hand in hand.

Our research indicates that generative AI systems could become partners in the innovation process. However, these applications are not without constraints and limitations. A future of purely data-driven and algorithm-based "autonomous innovation" seems unlikely. AI-driven methods and approaches will complement existing methods - and reshape them and the innovation processes in which they are embedded. But how and where? For example, do CTOs need to implement "prompt engineering" and what are the capabilities of these prompters?

Using numerous examples and case studies from the field, Frank Piller will provide a framework for understanding current developments in this area and reflect on what the engineering & innovation process of the future might look like. Professor Steve Maguire will offer introductory remarks and Associate Professor Krithika Randhawa will facilitate this public seminar to channel conversations between academics, practitioners and policy-makers in our innovation ecosystem.

Presented By

Prof. Frank Piller is a professor of technology management at RWTH Aachen University, Germany's leading institute of technology and its national center for production engineering. At RWTH, he heads the Institute for Technology & Innovation Management and is academic director of the RWTH Executive MBA program. His research interests include mass customization and how established companies can become better business model innovators in times of disruptive change.

Frank Piller's most recent research focuses on the impact of AI and ML on new product and process development in the age of Industry 4.0, Digital Transformation and the Internet of Things. He is the chairman of the largest German cross-industry network on "Business Model Innovation for Industry 4.0", an initiative of more than 40 companies organized by VDI, the Association of German Engineers. In this and similar roles, Prof. Piller is involved in shaping the digital agenda of many European market leaders. In addition to his academic endeavors, Frank has been involved in several companies.


Headshot of Professor Frank Piller
Professor Frank Piller

More information