Case Study: A Blast from the Past

Case Study: A Blast from the Past 1707 2560 Fadi Jawdat Al-Hindi

In 2013 a group of friends and me decided to start a not-for-profit organization by the name of Strategy & Enterprise Architecture Society (SEAS Inc.). SEAS continues to be registered in the State of North Carolina in the United States and has amassed 800+ participants by the end of 2015.

Due to numerous career moves, busy lives, and the demands of a hectic schedule, we stopped further development of SEAS.

Nonetheless, we developed and published a case study in 2013 that was very useful to business majors, executive leaders, and University professors. It is based on a fictitious company called Acme Building Materials plagued with problems.

The case study describes the organization, it’s management, issues its facing, and it’s P&L at a moment in time and challenges the reader to find a solution. We also provided an answer key in the published case study.

For nostalgia purposes, I am attaching the case study here as some of our readers might find some useful nuggets of information and we encourage anyone in an educational or mentor capacity to use this case study to help facilitate understanding.

Happy reading!

Innovation Lessons from Mr. Miyagi

Innovation Lessons from Mr. Miyagi 2560 1748 Digit AI

Conquering a Crisis with Innovation Management

Conquering a Crisis with Innovation Management 2560 1748 Digit AI

This is an article written and published by our partner Planbox.

Right now, the challenge of adapting to transformations and disruptions in the business world is more real and more urgent than ever. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have been thrust in a vicious cycle of uncertainty that has them confronting unprecedented setbacks.

Historically, innovation in times of crisis grows exponentially. Improving current business processes and services is a mandatory solution to successfully navigating the crisis. This makes effective innovation management critical for fighting against the current setbacks.

However, this pandemic shows how important it is to leverage sustainable innovation now and after this crisis for the long-term growth of your business. Innovation is being embraced by organizations all over the world in new ways, and it is here to stay as the new norm.

COVID-19 is already sparking the next generation of innovation as companies realize the importance and potential of a culture of innovation. Innovation management can be leveraged to conquer a crisis now and generate sustainable success for the future.

Building Your Defenses

Innovation tends to be a do or die concept for most businesses, and this is never more true than during a crisis. It is likely that you have already seen the effects of this around you. Innovation is a powerful line of defense against disruption and unpredictable events that threaten your business. Reacting in these situations can be dangerous compared to taking prepared action. Sometimes there is no other choice, but that is why this pandemic has proven that creating sustainable innovation that is agile is so important.

By creating a flexible and adaptable work environment, you can build your defenses and better prepare for if and when there is a future crisis. To deal with the current situation, innovation management platforms provide the stability to generate innovation now while building a base for long-term strategy.

Most importantly, sustainable innovation requires commitment from executives, employees, and the organization as a whole. Uniting the organization with a common goal and expectation for innovation provides support for surviving the current crisis and leads the company in a positive direction for the future.

Driving Sustainable Innovation

Building a profitable and sustainable innovation strategy requires clear communication, open collaboration, market research, and the effective use of technology. Agile innovation management platforms are built for organizing and executing innovation activities for any business of any size in any industry with all of these things in mind.

Not only does this manage innovation, but it manages the challenges presented by a crisis so that deliberate action can be taken to overcome setbacks. The goal is to stay ahead of the curve and ready to adapt at a moment’s notice. The pandemic has created a business environment where flexibility and quickness beat competition.

Organizations should prepare to face this as a market expectation moving forward. Adopting agile practices company-wide creates a culture of innovation that dominates during times of growth and perseveres during times of crisis.

Preparing for the Future

The future trends of innovation management predicted great leaps in technology and business capabilities, and the current crisis exemplifies why it is so important to take advantage of new resources. The current landscape demands a move away from physical services, which makes a move toward digital processes and services critical. Open innovation solutions make collaborating virtually easier and more efficient for businesses facing physical restrictions. It has long-term value as well for creating a culture of innovation whether or not physical limitations are in place.

The value of transparency has been on the rise, but COVID-19 made transparency an important market and customer expectation. Sharing innovation processes allows for extreme speed in producing products and services that meet current customer needs that are largely unprecedented.

Sustainable innovation is a high priority that cannot be put off any longer. We have only seen the beginning of COVID-19’s impact on business, but it is proving the need for agile flexibility and adaptability for future success. Having a culture of innovation means adopting methods that go beyond making improvements by accident or in response to a crisis.

To prepare for the future of work and future trends, an effective innovation management solution can help you develop a strategy that drives sustainable innovation.

For tips and advice on navigating the current crisis while building a long-term plan, check out Planbox’s COVID-19 Business Threat Challenge Starters. Or contact us via for a free first consultation.

The Influence of AI on the Finance & Banking Sectors

The Influence of AI on the Finance & Banking Sectors 2560 1748 Fadi Jawdat Al-Hindi

The finance & banking sectors have positioned themselves at the forefront as one of the most developed sectors globally. They are forever willing to innovate and invest in new technologies, and the past decade has seen major investments in developing digital accounts, person-to-person (P2P) payments, advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) practices and more recently lots of investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and block-chain.

AI has a lot of value to bring so it was no surprise when it quickly ushered the new-age financial market. But there are often misconceptions about the role of AI in finance because of its presumed limitations. For example, AI is usually just associated with data analytics, but it’s got a far bigger role that it can play outside of data automation.

AI provides a change in the way customers interact with services. It provides a remedy for the daily challenges that banks face, such as fraud prevention and anomaly detection. We are in the “I WANT IT NOW” era. Consumers want quick solutions to their problems, and due to the volume of online transactions, it’s costly and time-consuming to be handled entirely by a human workforce.

But despite many advancements, this is just the beginning for machine learning and AI in banking; we have only just scratched the surface. Here are some more ways we can leverage it.

Let’s Start with Behavior

Behavior is a key pattern that must be tracked in banking, especially because of the growing transactions conducted online through e-tailers and alternative payment providers, such as PayPal. Each bank defines fraud guidelines differently and these can only be determined by understanding the consumer behavior that’s displayed at your particular institution.

A fraud detection startup based in the UK, Ravelin, uses a unique blend of neural networks and algorithms to basically mimic the human brain. Each individual vertical in that algorithm defines a different aspect of human behavior, such as how long it takes to ‘window shop online’ or how long it takes to enter your card details or your address. Together, they create a metric for each bank that helps them flag a fraudulent interaction.

For example, the threshold for fraud detection at a local bank such as Emirates NBD may be different from the guidelines at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank because of the unique consumer patterns they’ve observed. Behavior – very important for AI in banking!

Moving on to Something We’re Familiar with – Mobile banking
By digitizing the banking experience, the bank reduces its operational costs, creating a convenience-driven solution for consumers with a direct line of communication with the bank through the support of push notifications. The future of mobile banking is something that’s been heavily debated because of concerns around cybersecurity and data protection. But here’s the flipside – the tech sector is growing rapidly, now more than ever, and large investments are being made to perfect the digital world.

The role of AI in mobile banking addresses just that. With fingerprint scanning, voice recognition, facial recognition (and even iris scanning at times!), AI solutions create a robust biometric support for online security. Barclays has enhanced its security offerings by partnering with the Japanese digital solutions group, Hitachi. These futuristic technologies are readily available to us thanks to our smartphones, and modern banking solutions will be prevalent on most smartphones by 2024 (Juniper Research Data).

Customer Service Will Continue to Evolve

Due to their segmented approach and ability to target different audience niches, customer service will become even more personalized. For example, based on a client’s purchase decisions and transaction history, AI can create customized recommendation models that specifically target you based on your individual needs and wants.

AI is not only a cost-effective, time-efficient solution to the daily problems faced by anyone in the financial sector or even the consumer, but an all-rounded protection of our finances. We’re at the cusp of an AI breakthrough in the financial sector. It plays on, and improves, our basic, fundamental building blocks – customer service, security, behavior, and I’m just as excited as you to usher in this new era of banking.

My Predictions For The Post-Pandemic Corporate World

My Predictions For The Post-Pandemic Corporate World 2560 1748 Fadi Jawdat Al-Hindi

We’ve long suspected the need to develop a virtual world, where the core of business longevity stems from a complete digital transformation. COVID-19 seems to be making our case for more zero touch and online interactions. While this transformation is not new, it is being accelerated due to the isolation, social distancing norms set in place globally. How does one operate in a world driven by physical distance? Simple. You revamp the paradigm.

Around the world, the transformation started taking place years ago when companies began replicating certain elements of their brick and mortar business model on online platforms. The automotive sector welcomed virtual showrooms, healthcare sectors started telecommuting consultations, the education industry began online classes and distance learning so students across the globe could receive their degrees without travelling to the University/school locale. But the catalyst, COVID-19, created almost a worldwide emergency requiring companies to adapt and adopt technologies overnight that could help them mirror their physical office practices in a virtual ecosystem.

Having seen the success rate and increased productivity rates over the past two months, we’re painting a picture of a post-COVID corporate world.

Post-COVID Work Life

As offices switched to all-online mediums of communication, as with an actual physical setup, cyber security is always a factor to be considered. With the increase in the number of employees working from home, information sharing is all virtual and altered quite dramatically, so the challenge fell on the in-house tech geniuses to create remote work capabilities that are safe, secure and mitigate misuse.

Working remotely permanently was first implemented by Twitter in March as a response to the virus onset. They explained that this decision was made in line with their ‘distributed workforce’ endeavors. Telecommuting and a hybrid of in-office + Telecommuting is where we’re headed post-pandemic. The need to conduct webinars, virtual meetings and a more digitally enabled workforce is crucial now more than ever because of the long-term benefits. Most organizations will not be returning to the old way of conducting business even as the country reopens operations.

Apart from the obvious health benefits to social distancing and working from home, the company faces reduced costs, reduced emissions while indirectly motivating their employees because of the new work-life balance that’s created. We are at the cusp of a post-COVID reality and in the position to reinvent the workplace.

Post-Pandemic Business Meetings

A major impact has been on corporate travel. Flying across the globe for business is not the same anymore and possibly not as safe anymore. We’re looking at a more limited future in terms of travel; regional travel may be safer as compared to international. This change, from the airline’s perspective, is beyond drastic. We’re looking at a complete 180-degree turn in the way in-flight entertainment and food is served, the seating arrangement, coach and business class pricing, especially considering the reduction in capacity travel.

The New Corporate Standard

While the world is seeing redundancies, furloughs and a significantly large unemployment rate, we are resilient. We’re seeing entrepreneurial spirits on the rise, SMEs taking the lead in technological advancements and a contact-free economy that, based on previous experience, will birth new disruptive brands that will sustain the post-pandemic world. Brands that are now helping us in this period, Netflix, FedEx, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and so on were formed post-economic recessions and are now part of our daily lives.

For consumers, brands are now being held to a new standard. Business priorities have to change completely, and resources need to be repurposed to cater to today’s challenges (reduced in-store footfall and impulse purchases) while communicating a responsible, CSR plan. Consumers have now become more conscious of the brands they interact with and this is fueled by their compassion for frontline workers currently. To maximize their brand impact, donating a portion of their sales to hospitals or partnering with like-minded brands is important for raising their social status.

This means a significant drop in luxury brand purchases is expected, unless, they are able to keep their sense of purpose on the surface to allow the customers to experience their compassionate, responsible side. Our consumers are becoming more conscious of the efforts in brand development and identifying CSR as a driving factor for brand loyalty. For SMEs and startups, shelving an idea until the market rebounds may create a missed opportunity and acting swiftly is fundamental.

We’re at the brink of a revolution that could create a unique algorithm for corporate functions moving forward but the thing to remember is, resilience is key.

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