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Business Transformation

Developing Digital Mindsets

Javaid Iqbal
Jul 26
4-5 mins

Table of contents

Key takeawaysCollaboration platforms are essential to the new way of workingEmployees prefer engati over emailEmployees play a growing part in software purchasing decisionsThe future of work is collaborativeMethodology


Javaid Iqbal talks to us about digital-first mindsets and disruption.

Javaid is the CEO of TransformX, a human-centric digital transformation firm that he co-founded. He lives in the digital and customer experience transformation, disruption, and innovation space with a focus on Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, and Data Science.  

Javaid is passionate about finding solutions to unique futuristic global challenges, building long-term business relationships and providing thought leadership through writing, speaking, teaching and advisory.

He even coaches executives and boards on their Digital/Customer initiatives through workshops, 1-on-1 sessions and courses at various global institutions, provides board-level advisory to multiple startups and keynote business and technology conferences globally (Google, BCG, Infosys, Informa, eyeforpharma, Momentum, 021Disrupt to name a few).  

Interview with Javaid Iqbal


Why is it important for companies to have a digital-first mindset?

A digital-first mindset refers to approaching any new opportunity, or challenge with the assumption that the solution is going to be in a digital form.  

The mindset envisions intelligent growth and scalability. Companies like Uber and Airbnb are digital natives that took on very physical and archaic industries and put a nice wrapper on them. They made them more scalable.

Digital-first mindsets envision intelligent growth based on data, based on an understanding of new models and even an understanding of models that have not even been tried and tested before.

Javaid gives us 5 reasons why companies need to adopt a digital-first mindset.

  • Industries are evolving and convergingLet’s take Uber as an example. For Uber to be what it is, you needed multiple industries to converge. You’ve got financial services, you’ve got hi-tech, you’ve got transportation, logistics, software, etc. So many industries have to work together to make this happen.
  • The dynamics of organizations are changingA lot of companies that were on the Fortune 100 list a decade ago are not there anymore. They’ve either been acquired or they’ve gone bankrupt. This is because they were catering to a need, but didn’t realize that there’s a new need. They didn’t see the new business models with data-enabled thinking and decision making and they just missed the boat. Blockbuster video and Kodak are big examples of this. New organizations are coming up and revolutionizing archaic industries with AI and data science.
  • Skills and requirements are changingIn terms of hard skills, we’ve got cloud computing, AI, analytical reasoning, UI design. Soft skills like creativity, persuasion, elaboration, adaptability and time management are needed. It’s a new world out there.
  • The next generation of employees is differentThey’re lifetime learners. They’re empowered with data, are digitally competent and their customer-focus is different.
  • The next generation of customers are extremely scaredJavaid was invited by Google last year to give a talk on the future of AI and humanity. The generation of people born from 2010, till those that will be born in 2025 are going to be known as Generation Alpha. They’re the first generation to be born in the world of AI.

According to Javaid,  

if your business model does not include a digital-first mindset, you don’t have a business model. You’re a dinosaur.


What are the obstacles that most businesses face while trying to develop such a mindset?

People are stuck in their business silos. This used to work back in the day where things were not so transparent. Now, in addition to the rest of their organization, the rest of the world can see what’s going on.  

Another major obstacle is that organizations don’t have the digital skills and acumen. There are also cultural challenges and silos. Departments are not talking to each other and working together.

But, the biggest obstacle is the resistance to change. Leaders are all stuck in their ways and they don’t want to do things differently.


What are the obstacles that most businesses face while trying to develop such a mindset?What is disruption readiness? How significant of a role will innovation play?

Disruption can be broken down from 4 perspectives:

Ability, Volatility, Durability, and Vulnerability.  

Industries like banking, hospitality, and logistics are more threatened. A lot of the leaders are not thinking outside of their silos. Disruption doesn’t come from within. It comes from outside.

Banking was first being disrupted by telcos. Now it’s being disrupted by software companies. You’ve got Apple Pay. Now you can even place orders and make payments over WhatsApp and WeChat.

With this COVID situation, you need innovation in all sorts of business functions. You need innovation in ride-sharing, logistics, food delivery, hiring, conferences, etc.  


AI and automation are here to stay. How important is it to leverage them and blend them into daily activities? What advantages do they bring in?

AI is not a new phenomenon. It’s been around since 1959. But, with the scalability of cloud models, AI has been able to grow farther.

Companies that adopt AI as of late, have 20% better cashflow. AI will increase economic growth on an average of 2-3% for 15 industries by 2035.

AI has the potential to increase productivity by 40%. Now it’s not just your own intelligence alone allowing you to make decisions; it’s the intelligence that the machine has augmented for you as well.

The AI industry is expected to grow by $60 billion in another couple of years.

Check out this list of 55+ podcasts to know more on how digital devices have change our lives.

Javaid Iqbal

Javaid Iqbal is an innovative and multilingual strategist/advisor/educator who has been helping transform businesses and governments across North America, Europe, and Asia for the past two decades.

As the co-founder & CEO of TransformX, his focus is on leading the firm in the digital customer transformation, disruption and innovation space.

He is a certified Board Director, advises multiple tech startups, teaches innovation-focused executive and board-level courses globally, is a former adjunct professor at DePaul University and is actively researching the effects of The Fourth Industrial Revolution in the developing world.

Andy is the Co-Founder and CIO of SwissCognitive - The Global AI Hub. He’s also the President of the Swiss IT Leadership Forum.

Andy is a digital enterprise leader and is transforming business strategies keeping the best interests of shareholders, customers, and employees in mind.

Follow him for your daily dose of AI news and thoughts on using AI to improve your business.

Catch our interview with Andy on AI in daily life

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