Having travelled the world, my friends ask me why is that I have decided to move to Saudi Arabia. Few can understand the mysticism in this land.
Saudi Arabia is a welcoming country. Saudis are people eager to learn and advance their society. Aren’t we all? After four years of living here, of learning their language, their culture and their traditions, I can see the similarities between Mexicans and Saudis. These similarities bring us closer and help me to empathise with them. I am a global citizen, after all. We should all be at this stage.
In January 2016, I designed and developed the IBM Watson Cognitive Computing Project – in partnership with IBM Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)/New York/Chicago, Dublin City University, Princess Nourah bin Abdulrahman University, and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.
I developed a module around a high-tech marketing case study that introduced to 58 second year, Marketing, Innovation and Technology – Digital DCU at PNU students to the concepts of cognitive computing, human-computer interaction, app development, artificial intelligence, cloud, and data analytics to meet client needs within specific industries such as healthcare, financial services, and government.
The result were 14 cognitive business ideas, 14 infographic posters that articulated how their proposed Watson solution could help business users uncover new insights in KSA, and a sales pitch which was presented to practitioners at IBM KSA.
Computing and marketing students came together to exchange knowledge in market strategy, marketing and technology, and app development.
The top cognitive business solutions and our entire initiative were presented by myself and the students in a Technology meetup held in Riyadh in April 2016. The Meetup was organised by the IBMer Susan Malaika to foster collaboration between educational institutions, to deliberate on new technologies particularly in the context of KSA, and to share the activities and achievements of professional institutions for women in the region.
I presented our initiative, which was the first one on its type in Saudi Arabia, to an audience of academics and researchers from King Saud University (KSU), King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) Princess Nourah University (PNU), Prince Sultan University (PSU), and IBM.
The presentation of our initiative generated such an enthusiasm among the attendees that I finally partnered with King Saud University (KSU), King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). The result? Over summer 2016, KACST ran an internship with two students from KSU to implement one of the DCU at PNU Business School cognitive business solution KeepUp – a car maintenance application. After coaching the students on the app interface and the usability and Watson applications, the app was fully developed by the end of the summer.
The project was such a success that I presented at the World of Watson IBM annual conference at Las Vegas, 23-27 October 2016.
I participated in the Evolving Education with Cognitive and Data Science, the IBM for Academics track with brought together faculty, academic and industry leaders to explore how to rapidly evolve academic programs and research to satisfy the exploding demand for graduates skilled in cognitive and data sciences (Visit website here for full details).
I presented in the Cognitive Science Education track, as outlined below:
Merging Tech & Marketing in a Cognitive World Randy Hvalac, Northwestern
Next generation cognitive curriculum Jim Spohrer, IBM
The nexus of society, data and cognitive sciences: Driving the evolution of curriculum Nitesh Chawla, Notre Dame
Co-Innovation Strategies for Empowering the Bottom of the Pyramid Solomon Darwin UC Berkeley
Cognitive as an enabler of tech entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia Artemisa Jaramillo, Princess Noura University
Experiences integrating Watson into my courses Gordon Pipa, Universität Osnabrück
After the feedback in this session, I came to the realization that I had designed what I called Technology Product Management: Creating a template for collaboration between Business Studies and Computer Science with Industry Partners
Link to blog post by Susan Malaika, IBM, USA that describes the proposal for collaboration between industry partners, business studies and/or computer science departments at universities for developing technology product management and software delivery skills particularly in developing economies and emerging markets.