City establishes new National Centre for Creativity enabled by Artificial Intelligence

Centre is funded by UK Research and Innovation, City, and industrial partners

This October, City, University of London will establish a new National Centre for Creativity enabled by Artificial Intelligence (CebAI), funded by UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Research England Development Fund and industrial partners including Grant Thornton and SAGE Publishing.

The Centre is committed to delivering new, more scalable forms of knowledge exchange.

It will provide new types of service to augment the creative capabilities of UK businesses. These services will combine artificial intelligence algorithms, interactive tools, creativity consulting practices and leadership training into new offerings for business partners.

It is intended that business partners will use these new services to amplify their existing creativity consulting, training and leadership services, in order to maximise the value of these services to business clients.  New CebAI business models, intellectual property (IP) frameworks and forms of service offering will optimise the opportunities for and returns from creative thinking on demand, especially for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

CebAI will provide its services to different industries and sectors, from publishing and advertising to legal and professional service firms. It is already launching a pilot in the news sector, to augment creative capabilities in journalism and news businesses, through a start-up called JECT.AI.

CebAI will also disseminate these new models, frameworks, offerings and lessons to other universities through a series of conferences and events dedicated to improving institutional practices for creativity and artificial intelligence (AI) knowledge exchange.

UKRI’s grant is worth over £3 million, with £2 million contributed by City, and another nearly £2 million given in contributions by industrial partners.

The Centre will be led by Professor Neil Maiden, Professor of Digital Creativity at City’s Cass Business School.  He said creative thinking on demand is an emerging strategic need for many organisations.

“Businesses that will create when required will be more likely to innovate regularly and successfully during the fourth industrial revolution.  Digital technologies are already one means of creating new ideas on demand. However, although many data analytic and machine learning technologies now exist, few explicitly support human creativity, or can be applied quickly to discover new ideas from most business information assets. The problem is more acute for SMEs that constitute 99 per cent of all UK businesses.

“Creativity research has generated a large body of knowledge about the processes, techniques, conditions and contexts for ideating and inventing effectively. However, most of this knowledge is reported in academic papers inaccessible to many businesses. New AI algorithms have the potential to compute creative outcomes and support human creativity, but these algorithms do not incorporate most of the reported creativity knowledge and, at the moment, cannot be applied to the information assets of most businesses.

“Therefore, to support businesses to exploit their assets and existing creativity knowledge, our Centre will advocate a new form of on-demand software service – AI algorithms and interactive tools that encode this knowledge so that businesses can apply it to their digital information, in order to create effectively on-demand. The project will implement RESTful software services that businesses will invoke using public web APIs to create new ideas from information described in white papers, client reports and competitor analyses.   It will also implement new interactive tools as web apps that employees will use to invent and innovate using the created ideas.”

The Centre will launch at City in October.  It is already online via Twitter at CebAICentre.

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