Summit Day One: Monday, 25 November 2019

8:00 am - 9:00 am Registration, welcome refreshments and networking

9:00 am - 9:10 am IQPC welcome remarks

9:10 am - 9:20 am Chairman’s welcome and opening remarks

Syed Mohammad Arshad - Design Editor, Gulf News

Syed Mohammad Arshad

Design Editor
Gulf News

What is design thinking?
Improving user experience by creating empathy to understand your customers’ specific needs and requirements, which leads to undeniable business profit – that is design thinking. Big brands like Airbnb, Nike, Apple, Netflix, Tesla amongst others, which have brought 10 year returns on 211% over the S&P Index. According to Parsons New School, 75% of companies report that they are engaged in design thinking and 71% of which practice design thinking report has improved working culture on a team level.

9:20 am - 9:50 am Breaking bias with user centred design: A case study on Google Maps

Rajiv Arjan - Senior UX Researcher, Google

Rajiv Arjan

Senior UX Researcher

9:50 am - 10:10 am Five critical elements in your design thinking strategy

Ali Khalid Rana - Head of Product, Noon UAE
The core of this concept is placing your customers and their needs at the centre of your business. What this means is, looking at the customers’ experience from their perspective, instead of designing a product and trying to find ways to make people’s lives better.

Key question – What is the plan of action?
  • Focusing on human-centred approach to bring a significant ROI
  • Having a prototype to communicate and test your data
  • Establish your goals and your individual journey

Ali Khalid Rana

Head of Product
Noon UAE

10:10 am - 10:30 am Design thinking for digitizing services and improving customer experience, to achieve innovation & excellence

Seham Elbehissy - Digital & Connected Cars General Manager, Renault Middle East


Seham Elbehissy

Digital & Connected Cars General Manager
Renault Middle East

10:30 am - 10:50 am Speed networking

10:50 am - 11:20 am Refreshments and networking break

Developing a successful design thinking strategy to boost innovation and creativity
Establishing the difference between design and Design Thinking alongside with a strategic and proper execution can have an outrageous impact on business outcomes as well as deliver huge competitive advantage. The whole idea of design is transforming the way leading companies generate value.

11:20 am - 11:40 am Creating meaningful customer connections that unlock genuine brand value and generate commercial return

Mike Roberts - Chief Creative Officer, Green Room Design
We firmly believe the brands that will truly prosper in the future are the ones who recognize now, that the ultimate return on investment comes only from investing in genuine human relationships with their customers.
We are seeing a significant shift in the way people want to engage with brands on both a global and regional level – those brands and retailers who fail to recognize these shifts in behaviour are either struggling, or are unfortunately no longer trading. However those that are building strong, meaningful relationships are on the ascendancy.
During this session we will share tools that will ultimately:
  • Help retailers truly understand what people want from brands and their products
  • Nurture relationships based on understanding and empathy, that ultimately drives increased sales
  • Maintain meaningful relationships between your brand and its audience


Mike Roberts

Chief Creative Officer
Green Room Design

11:40 am - 12:10 pm Researching the researchers: What is ResearchOps

Jonathan Steingiesser - Head of Design, Property finder
Jonathan Steingiesser, Head of Design at Property Finder will talk about a study he led in his former role at MYOB ( - a large accounting software provider in Australia & NZ) to research the researchers. The aim of the study was to understand how product designers across Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland conducted design research in order to assist in accelerating and aiding the design research capability of the organisation.

Key questions:
  • What is ResearchOps?
  • How might we mature and operationalise design research practice?
  • How might we provide the right roles, tools and processes needed to support design researchers in delivering and scaling the impact of the craft across an organisation. 

Jonathan Steingiesser

Head of Design
Property finder

12:10 pm - 12:40 pm Evaluating the difference between human-centred design and user-experience design

Charalampos Sarafopoulos - General Manager, Al Shirawi Facilities Management UAE
Understanding the difference between the two can bring a lot of benefits for designers and leaders. Human-centred design is focused on the impact which is made on humans via the usage of design, or in other words it is the involvement of the human perspective in all stages of the problem solving process. The user-experience design on the other hand is focused on enhancing the user satisfaction by delivering or improving the usage, accessibility and happiness provided by the product, considered from a user’s perspective.

Key question – How do you create sustainable and measurable business impact?
  • Establishing the areas of business which will drive ROI from user experience
  • How do you measure the impact on design thinking for your company?

Charalampos Sarafopoulos

General Manager
Al Shirawi Facilities Management UAE

Driving greater ROI with a human-centred design
You have already have a design thinking journey in place, have created awareness across all departments and organised your strategy, but how do you make sure this whole package leads to a significant return on investment?

  • Natural Design (Fitra)
  • Instinct As A Design Tool
  • Design Mindset


Ziad Jarrar

Founder and Chief Design Officer
Taurus Human Centered Design

1:10 pm - 2:10 pm Lunch break and networking

Combining design thinking with data analytics to generate maximum customer value and business growth
Nowadays, many companies are looking to leverage their data by creating and delivering innovative customer experiences and organisation’s ability to bring this outcome with each interaction is key to the success of a business. However, companies are facing challenges of being too much data centric. What is the right approach?

In a business environment, the power of storytelling to boost empathy can be really vital in order to give the work better purpose and deliver greater outcome. It is very essential that storytelling is implemented in the early stage of the specific project and it takes part throughout the whole innovation process.

Key question – How do you build empathy with storytelling?
  • Implementation of the storytelling into your design thinking strategy for better results
  • Translating your user insights to convince stakeholder buy-in

Lays Laraya

Director of Quality
Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai, Kempinski Hotel and Residences Palm Jumeirah UAE

2:40 pm - 3:10 pm Learn to speak your customer’s language

Guilherme Rodriguez - AVP Customer Experience and Design Lead, First Abu Dhabi Bank, UAE
Without a doubt, a customer is what drives the business and its success. Understanding his exact needs and requirements will not only save you time and resources, but will make your work more productive by focusing your attention on the important things. A lot of companies fail, because they provide products or services which they think are in demand, instead of analysing their clients better by speaking their language to make more rational decisions.

Key question – Are you wasting your time?
  • How do you master your customer language?
  • Learn to listen, understand and replicate to the user’s desires in order to succeed in your strategy

Guilherme Rodriguez

AVP Customer Experience and Design Lead
First Abu Dhabi Bank, UAE

3:10 pm - 3:40 pm There are no facts, only interpretations: How important is it to start and end with the user in a design process?

Muzaffer Akay - UX Lead, Namshi UAE
Changing the mindset and approach of settled systems are really hard. How can we embrace and deliver qualitative results and make them work alongside quantitative is another thing? Using every output from our users and converting it to design is the challenge everyone is trying to tackle. This presentation will focus on understanding the user and how that can help with our output and processes. The session will go through examples that can help everyone understand the importance of translating user requirements into design and help tackle this problem.

Muzaffer Akay

UX Lead
Namshi UAE

3:40 pm - 3:40 pm Chairman’s closing remarks and end of summit day one