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Webinar : Towards a better understanding of AI-enabled digital transformation and its implications for manufacturing SMEs in Canada

Friday 1 Apr 2022
From 12PM To 1PM

Catherine Beaudry, Full professor at Polytechnique Montréal, CIRANO Fellow and researcher and Amir Taherizadeh, lecturer at McGill University and CIRANO presented the highlights of the CIRANO project report «Vers une meilleure compréhension de la transformation numérique optimisée par l’IA et de ses implications pour les PME manufacturières au Canada - Une recherche qualitative exploratoire» Friday April 1st from 12pm to 1pm. Benoit Dostie, Responsible of the CIRANO Pole on the Socio-economic Impacts of Digital Intelligence, Fellow CIRANO and full professor at HEC Montreal moderated the event.


This report presents the main results of the qualitative and exploratory study aimed at explaining how artificial intelligence (AI), as general-purpose technology (GPT), impacts firm-level productivity and employment. Analyzing primary and secondary data sources (including 27 interviews, reports, and panel discussions), they first develop the maturity spectrum of AI adoption and classify small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that integrate AI into their work processes into four archetypes: The Wishful, The Achievers, The Leaders, and The Visionaries. By characterizing each archetype, they highlight nuances of changes that need to take place for a firm to further progress to the next stage of AI adoption. Second, they identify and explain seven barriers that are associated with the pervasive integration of AI among SMEs in manufacturing industries. Third, in three distinct case studies, reseachers explore three AI projects conducted by Quebec-based AI-focused firms to show how machine learning (ML) integration into products and work processes can act as a productivity enhancer and identify its impact on firm-level employment. Overall, their results suggest that successful AI integration requires a firm-level digital transformation which we illustrate as a continuum.


Catherine Beaudry

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2002, Main Researcher of the theme Innovation and Digital Transformation at CIRANO, Catherine Beaudry is Full Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal. She holds the Canada Tier I Research Chair in the Creation, Development and Commercialization of Innovation (Innovation Chair) at Polytechnique Montréal and leads the Partnership for the Organization of Innovation and New Technologies (4POINT0). She is also a member of the Board of Directors and Program Committee of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), a member of the Board of Directors of QuébecInnove, a member of the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie (CIRST), an associate professor at UQAM and a founding member of the "Global Young Academy".

Catherine Beaudry is a Rhodes Scholar and holds a Ph.D. and Master's Degree in Economics from Oxford University. From her studies in electrical engineering specializing in space technology, she kept a deep interest in technology, science and innovation.

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Benoit Dostie

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2001, responsible of the CIRANO Pole on the Socio-economic Impacts of Digital Intelligence and Main Researcher of the theme Innovation and Digital Transformation, Benoit Dostie is Full Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at HEC Montréal and Academic Director of the Centre interuniversitaire québécois de statistiques sociales (CIQSS).

He also holds the Power Corporation of Canada Chair in Labour Relations, Compensation and Benefits.

Holding a Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University, his research interests are labour economics and applied econometrics.

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Amir Taherizadeh

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