After hours: Younes Haffane

Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the region’s IT leaders tick

Tags: Banking and finance
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After hours: Younes Haffane Younes Haffane, IT Research and Innovation Expert.
By Staff Writer Published  May 6, 2014

Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the region’s IT leaders tick.

Younes Haffane, IT Research and Innovation Expert.

Getting personal
Nationality: Moroccan/French
Number of years in the industry: 10
Favourite food: Couscous and Coke
Holiday destination: Chefchaouen, Morocco
Music: Drum’n’Bass
Dream car: Aston Martin DB9
Gadget: iPad
Movie/book: L’auberge Espagnole
Piece of advice: Think out of the box. Actually, get rid of the box!

How did you come to be in your role?

In my previous professional experience, I used to work in Accenture Technology Labs in Sophia-Antipolis, France. I was a manager in the Next Generation Financial Services department and my key role was to look for innovative solutions in banking and insurance. This role involved research and development activities, innovation sessions and workshops as well as client project assignments. A couple of years ago, I started getting more exposure to the company’s Middle East activities on a more regular basis. There is a real potential for growth here and innovation is at the heart of many important initiatives. I got an interesting opportunity to join an Emirati bank as head of IT Research and Innovation and that’s how I landed in Abu Dhabi.

What is your management philosophy?

The Research and Innovation arena isn’t similar to any other IT discipline. Passion, motivation and excitement should be the keywords of every management philosophy. I also believe managers should focus on failure management as it’s a key component of any innovation process. I don’t believe in extra hours as it’s usually synonym of bad planning and burnout risks, unless it is used for social team activities. Finally, there is no harm in gently pushing employees outside their comfort zone, from time to time, as it can lead to great learning opportunities.

What was your first computer?

I got my first PC in the summer of 1995. It had Windows 3.11 and had a 40Mhz processor. There was a Turbo button on the central unit that doubled the processor speed (80Mhz – Fasten your seat belts!). Two years later, I upgraded to Windows 95 using about 15 floppy disks.

What is your greatest achievement?

That would be the multi-cultural exposure and international experience. I took every possible opportunity to travel and see the world. The more you interact with the others, the more perspectives you open for yourself.

What is your biggest mistake?

This was more like a trait of character rather than a specific mistake. In my early professional years, I used to do a lot of wishful thinking. I tended to see things as I wanted them to be instead of what they really are. This of course led to many miscalculations and misjudgement situations.

What is your fondest memory of working in the Middle East IT industry?

I’m passionate about my current role as it gives me carte blanche to explore all sorts of topics that might be relevant to our business. This freedom of action and initiative is what makes work an enjoyable experience.

What new technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the market?

Globally speaking, I’m curious to see how far Bluetooth Low Energy technology will go. If there was boxing game between BLE and NFC, I think I’d put my money on BLE.

What’s the best way to deal with stress?

To deal with stress, the best method is to put things into perspective. If you step back a little bit and look at the positive things in your life, you’ll realize your problem is just a pixel in a big picture.

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