Womenpreneur is pleased to introduce Amel Ait Ahcene and Ismail Belkaid, two tech experts. On the 20th of May, they led an enlightening workshop on design thinking for our GenerationW program. Afterwards, we decided to conduct an interview to find out more about them and their project, mBranching. We were also very interested to ask about their views on the future of the digital and tech environment.
Amel is a Digital Marketing Manager at CWIT (Connecting with Women In Technology) MENA and she has been working in this field for over 10 years. She specializes in B2B and B2C and is passionate about it. She brings this rich experience to mBranching, where she leads the Marketing Practice, in order to help customers reach their goals.
Ismail was until recently the regional Head of Product and Innovation at MoneyGram International. In recent years, he has focused on strategic initiatives, digital projects and products. He has left MoneyGram to focus on mBranching and lead the Innovation Practice.
Supporting innovation and companies via mBranching
Although they have different backgrounds, Amel and Ismail were both close to technology. Their partnership made perfect and complementary sense. They recently launched mBranching, a project to facilitate companies’ work on new projects, products and ideas, and also to support organizations to build innovation in a systematic manner. In digital terms, the word “branching” means to duplicate an element, thus creating a branch. This way, the element is freed from internal constraints and can be given new external skills. Once this is done, the modified element is brought back into the main environment.
This “branching” image appears to be the perfect analogy for their project. The first part of mBranching’s work is to help their clients on new projects by isolating them from their initial work environment. This enables them to separate the project from the organization’s constraints, like bureaucracy and organizational rigidity. Clients can work on it aside and bring it back to the main organization. Amel and Ismail are making everyone contribute to the process so that the clients are entirely part of the project and are motivated to learn how to improve it.
The second part of the process they offer focuses on increasing the online visibility of the client’s project. Regarding the type of the client’s project, Amel and Ismail take on very specific, short-term challenges that relate to exploring how to do things differently, but also projects that can be done in a systematic and sustainable way.
A project based on a human-centered perspective
Amel and Ismail’s main concern is centered on delivering the best services to their clients and on helping them succeed. This is all the more necessary in the context of the pandemic and its economic consequences. This context highlights the importance of the factor of time. More than ever, clients are looking for someone who can work and understand quickly, and who can also deliver results quickly in a field where “change is the only constant”.
Their initiative requires building strong relationships to navigate the culture of the company, empower the individuals and implement sustainable practices. This especially means that, after Amel and Ismail worked with them, their clients should be able to do the process on their own in the future because they acquired the necessary skills.
What does the future hold for the digital world and the working environment?
New trends keep transforming the workplace and the job market. This observation is also true in the digital field. According to Amel and Ismail, the pandemic has forced many companies and individuals to work from home and adopt alternative working methods to the traditional ones at the office. The issue with working only from home is that people are missing out on the whole combustion of ideas that occurs when meeting with colleagues. However, working only from the office does not fit everyone’s needs and profile either.
In fact, we have not seen a drop in productivity since people started working from home. The two working places need to be balanced in a flexible approach to work. In their opinion, the new trends, that are linked to hybrid work, include the use of adapted technologies, a good command of all the necessary tools, and the valorization of collaboration. The pandemic can be a period of opportunity that brings transformations and interrogations. As for the future of the professional world, people need to ask which talent is now going to be needed, and how to further teamwork. Amel and Ismail believe that if a meaningful combination is found, it could reflect a lot on productivity.
Women in technology: fighting misconceptions
When asked about women in technologies, Amel's opinion was clear-cut. Women are underrepresented in the technology sector. This is a fact that crosses borders. When taking a closer look, Amel notices that there is a gap between university and the workplace: there are many women among university graduates in tech, including in the MENA region.
The difference between the two comes from a lack of knowledge and many misconceptions about the tech field. This is what Amel's work with CWIT is aiming to address, by raising awareness and educating women about the opportunities within the tech companies. However, there are reasons to be hopeful as there is a growing general consensus and interest from companies to promote women. There are signs that we are moving towards the right direction, although there is still a lot to accomplish!
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