New VP for Digital Innovation: ‘I Look at AUC as a Changemaker in the Business Community’

As AUC embarks on an ambitious strategy to digitally transform the University experience, Hanan Abdel Meguid ’93, AUC’s new vice president for digital innovation, will spearhead its strategy.

“I’m very excited to use AUC as a platform for consuming Egyptian innovation that is coming from startups and companies started by AUCians and Egyptian Talents at large,” said Abdel Meguid. “In time, I want to release some kind of digital manifesto, so people can reach out and engage and share with us their ideas. I see AUC as a catalyst for young innovators. The student body and all the great academia and administration that are progressive are a very strong user-base for these kinds of services.”

An AUC alumna and a computer science graduate, Abdel Meguid has more than 20 years of experience in applying digital innovation to business needs, establishing Internet service businesses in Egypt and across the Middle East and North Africa. She is the founder and CEO of Kamelizer, an angel investment fund that is focused on technology startups. Kamelizer invests money and helps in accelerating product cycles to move startups from Seed stage to Series A; Previously, she has led several other pioneering companies like Link Development and OTVentures. She spoke to News@AUC about digital innovation at AUC –– what it is and the idea of a digital transformation at the University. 

What brought you to this position at AUC?

I am a graduate of AUC myself, and the core reason why I’m here is that I owe a lot of my success throughout my career to AUC. When I saw an opportunity to add to the digital transformation that we need to take, I felt that it is an important part of everything that I’ve started at the University. I’ve always used the University and its institutions to build Kamelizer and move forward. So I’m very happy to be able to contribute now and give back to AUC.

How would you explain the idea of a ‘digital transformation’ within the AUC community?  

There is a very quick definition that I’ve tried to make, which is a snapshot of my current vision that, of course, could change later on. Digital technology is now an essential tool not an add-on. We need to prioritize a user-centric approach in digital transformation which leverage all digital tools and real time data not only to empower a faster and more responsive lifestyle on campus but also to create new tools to interact with knowledge and all the great AUC events and classes beyond the campus . I’m inspired by human-centered design and intend to follow its methodology in our digital transformation.

What are the main pillars of this digital transformation?

There are three main pillars: paperless, open data and beyond the campus.

1. We have to be paperless in all forms. At AUC, I see three main stakeholders: students, faculty and the administration. Each one of them needs to do the great things that they’re doing with real-time access to all the support and resources through a mobile application or any kind of digital touchpoints. There are all sorts of ways to be paperless, including having a cashless campus. You should be able to enter the campus and with your digital touchpoints, consume all kinds of services and information as well as engage with all the other stakeholders.

2. We need to have open data. We have a lot of systems and information scattered around, and there are great projects happening in this regard. We need to figure out how to make this information available to allow innovation from students and others. People should be able to access data in an open form, using an open data platform in a secure way to enrich the information and the output they create, or the services they can innovate with.

3. Beyond the campus is the third theme I’m looking at. We have an amazing, beautiful campus, and every day, there are lots of events happening. The “AUC effect” needs to happen beyond the borders of the campus so people can participate and engage in these events. Working remotely is also an important component. Another big category is online and blended learning. We need to enable our digital platform to accommodate all this great knowledge to be shared outside of the campus borders.

Are there components of digital management that AUC is particularly strong on or that need to be approved?

AUC is an extremely strong institution with all the foundation needed to unleash this digital transformation, so I look forward to working with these solid institutions. The University has all the elements; I just see myself as the curator and accelerator of this movement for all the stakeholders.

What are some of the effects that you hope this digital transformation will have?

I hope that this digital transformation will be used as an edge for students, faculty and administration. When students live a superior digital experience on campus, they go out and demand it from other businesses and organizations. And if they don’t find it, they build it. This was my scenario when I graduated. I looked in the job market and didn’t find anything that matched my ambitions, so I started my own. I look at AUC as a changemaker in the business community. With this digital transformation, it can be a changemaker with all of Egypt.

Vice President Abdel Meguid encourages and welcomes all feedback, comments and ideas. To connect with her, email VPdi@aucegypt.edu. She also welcomes direct communication on social media through her Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.