Competing in the Digital Economy (Competing in the Digital Economy)

Organization: Zairi Institute


Location: KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia

Event Date/Time: Dec 05, 2012 End Date/Time: Dec 07, 2012
Registration Date: Dec 07, 2012
Early Registration Date: Nov 10, 2012
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Palace of the Golden Horses, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

05 Dec - 07 Dec 2012



The new economy has been defined in so many different ways. First of all it is an economy that has made globalisation of business competitiveness the norm for delivering products and services and managing customers experiences through leaning on the strength of technological advancements. Aided by the technological revolution the new economic requirements are fundamentally once set by new rules and dictating a new paradigm in which the business mind set is no longer concerned by predictable actions and behaviours and static decision making but a new one which is geared towards fast responsiveness, using innovation as the fuel for delivering value to customers and stakeholders, ensuring that quality underpins all key activities within the organisation and relying on the flow of constant and real time information for making effective decisions.

" The internet is triggering a third wave of capitalism that will transform business and government and lead to extraordinary wealth creation."

John Sviokla
(Partner – Strategic and Innovation Advisory Group, PWC)

Indeed the new rules set by the internet are to govern the behaviour of organisations through three new concepts:

  • The connectivity cloud (i.e. for the transfer of information);
  • The resource cloud (for the storage of data);
  • The social cloud (for networking and collaboration).

These three new rules are perhaps the DNA of a modern digital economy which drives business organisations for a new mode of competitiveness triggered by the following critical factors of success:

  1. Knowledge – The new economy is sometimes referred to as a knowledge economy. Indeed information technology enables the economy to use knowledge as a commodity product and to drive value by capitalising on the abundance of knowledge in all aspects of business performance.
  2. Digitisation – The new economy is also referred to as a digital economy. This new revolution means that the new media which is all electronic is the communication method for businesses with the external world and within the business between its divisions. The new media as a business language has grown possibilities for understanding complex phenomena but has also bought customers closer to the organisations that serve them and has accelerated the pace of innovation in a variety of ways.
  3. Virtualisation – TThe brick and mortar mentality through physical assets is no longer appropriate for modern competitiveness. The virtual world is the real world and henceforth the necessity to create new interactions between organisations and building a connected world through internet based technology.

In the light of the new era where change has become the norm where organisations are struggling to equip themselves with capabilities for absorbing change and making it as precursor for driving value and building competitiveness, new and higher expectations have resulted from customers and stakeholders. The notion of value has been redefined and higher levels of expectations and satisfaction, fulfilment and loyalty have also resulted. In this sense there are questions that modern organisations be it in the public or private sector need to address:

  1. The ability to reconfigure the business/organisation orientation towards their customers with a notion of generating constant value and fulfilling requirements with quality and excellence as the standard.
  2. Using a pro-active relationship based approach to dealing with recipients of value (customers and stakeholders). This means that value creation and value generation has to be a pull system as opposed to the traditional push system for products and services.
  3. The higher level understanding of quality and excellence. In the context of a digital economy where the customer is proactive, a partner in generating value the definition of quality as an outcome has to be revisited. Indeed customer experiences are individualised and it is no longer valid to assume that mass customisation is appropriate.
  4. Individual customerisation means that technology allows the customer to work upstream in the definition, design and individualisation of their needs and requirements. As such technology will make an organisations value chain more transparent and more open ended as a system.
  5. The measurement of excellence and quality at the higher level is more about the fulfilment of emotional needs and the appreciation that experience is what is sought after and no longer the traditional hedonic or utilitarian needs and requirements.

It is very hard for leaders to come to grips with the notion of Excellence, particularly so in the 21st century we are often referring to a moving target. Excellence in a modern context is the attainment of a relative state of achievement and performance. The relative state of performance is however appropriate and applicable to any organisation, operating in any sector of the economy and being at any state of competitiveness. Excellence could mean on the one hand being able to fulfil the requirements of customers and stakeholders that are current, clearly defined and predictable since they are representing an ability to replenish, to do more of the same and to be reliable and consistent in dependability.

Excellence on the other hand could mean the ability to stretch, close performance gaps and become ‘better’ at doing current things with new ideas, solutions and methods. In this context it could also be the ability to fulfil undefined and therefore unfulfilled needs with innovation and new thinking. Finally excellence could truly mean shooting ahead of the duck and not missing a moving target.

In this sense, it is about stimulating new thinking, surprising customers and stakeholders with delightful products and services and building a brand reputation through innovation and uniqueness. This state of excellence is dependent on innovation driving the value chain and breaking the mould, using out of the box thinking and not clinching onto a safety net by depending heavily on the past and the present.

" We can believe that we know where the world should go. But unless we're in touch with our customers, our model of the world can diverge from reality. There's no substitute for innovation, of course, but innovation is no substitute for being in touch, either."

Steve Ballmer

Innovation will remain the true predictor of the future, whilst Excellence will be the foundation on which to build a future state. It is therefore imperative for leaders of the 21st century to build sustainable excellence based on the following principles which are depicted in the model proposed below:

  • The Constancy of Purpose, a sense of purposefulness will define what contribution, impact and legacy leaders can leave behind. Excellence in the 21st century is not about ‘getting there’ but more importantly is about ‘continuity’ and the assurance that the journey will continue after they have gone.
  • Excellence is of course subject to the old maxim ‘horses for courses’. It has to be defined to give true meaning to the entity that ‘owns’ the challenge, the dream and aspiration. Furthermore, Excellence is to be driven, guided, nurtured and grown.
  • Excellence is about tangible impact and outcomes.
  • Excellence as stated previously is about developing the momentum for continuity, the potential for growth, the predictability of performance, the dependability on capability, the confidence in the next journeys and what they bring.
  • Excellence is similar to a living cell and its nucleus where the DNA gets determine is represented by the culture and work environment that is shaped and created.


This conference is designed to bring relevance to the meaning of excellence and quality in a modern economic context. The emphasis needs to be placed on the following:

  • An appreciation and understanding of how excellence and quality can be made relevant to a modern economic context.
  • In the light of changes for market orientation and customer focus the notion of customer experience as an evolving concept requires a different approach to managing quality and excellence.
  • The specific applications of excellence and quality in different sectors of the modern economy can also shed light on best practice applications and highlight the key challenges that pioneering organisations may be facing.
  • Drilling at the heart of customer experience management in particular understanding the concept of customer empathy.
  • The integration between knowledge based work environments, innovation as a catalyst and information based value chains. The integration of these three concepts is what can usefully define a modern, successful organisation that uses change as a precursor for self renewal and for injecting best practice that allows value for the end customer to be optimised and competitiveness in terms of maintaining any likely competitive advantage.
  • The importance of human capital as a key asset for building sustainable competitiveness and in the context of driving quality and excellence within digital based work organisations.



Professor Zairi is the JURAN Chair in TQM and previously the SABIC Chair in Best Practice Management based at the European Centre for Total Quality Management, Univeristy of Bradford, UK. Professor Zairi holds a BSc (Hon) in Polymer Sciences and Technology; MSc in Safety and Health and PhD in Management of Advanced Manufacturing Technology. He is currently The Executive Chairman of the Zairi Institute and Assistant Chancellor for Strategy and Growth at Hamdan Bin Mohammed eUniversity in Dubai. Professor Zairi has been involved in guiding, mentoring and advising on the implementation of excellence in both the government and private sector context. He has also acted in the capacity of Jury Chairman of various prestigious international awards. Professor Zairi has been awarded The Ishikawa/Harrington Medal (2005) for his significant contribution in 12 Asian countries by the Asian Pacific Quality Organisation (APQO). He has also been awarded the Grand Master Six Sigma Medal (2005) for unique contribution to the growth of quality initiatives, the development of tools and systems and the impact of organisational business performance in various parts of the World. In 2007, he received the Lancaster Medal by The American Society for Quality (ASQ), for his outstanding contribution to the international fraternity of quality professionals. In 2010, he was presented with the ASQ Grant Medal. He was also presented with the Yoshio Kondo Academic Prize (2010).


Julie Furst-Bowe is currently serving as the 8th Chancellor of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, a metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students that has been nationally recognised as an “up and coming” institution by the U.S. News and World Report. SIUE has been engaged in quality improvement initiatives for more than a decade and is a member of the Academic Quality Improvement Program. Prior to this position, Dr. Furst-Bowe served as the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, the first and only university to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Dr. Furst-Bowe is an internationally-recognised expert on quality improvement in higher education. She has edited two books on this topic and is a frequent speaker at national and international quality conferences. She is active in several national and international quality organisations and was recently featured in “Who’s Who in Quality,” by the American Society for Quality.


Dr. Tito Conti is an eminent scholar and consultant in the areas of quality and organisational excellence. He has a very distinguished track record as follows.

  • Consultant, Organisational Assessment and Improvement.
  • Permanent Member of the Assessment and Advisory Board, University Federico II, Naples.
  • Advisor, University La Sapienza, Rome.
  • Ex. President and ex. Chairman of the International Academy for Quality.
  • Fellow of the American Society for Quality.
  • Past President and Honorary Member of the European Organisation for Quality.
  • Past President of the Italian Association for Quality.

Dr. Conti has had a distinguished career in the corporate world and has implemented quality systems for large and small corporations. He led the quality initiative for Olivetti in the 1980s. In recognition for his immense contributions in different parts of the world, Hamdan Bin Mohammed University in Dubai has set up The Conti Research Prize for Systems Thinking and Organisational Capability recognises and supports research that focuses on the Middle East needs and addresses pressing questions related to systems thinking and organisational capability. The aim of the prize is to encourage and reward research that moves away from a mechanistic approach towards a systems approach in the context of organisations.


Prof Pervaiz Ahmed joined Monash University Sunway Campus in 2007. Currently he is discipline Head of Management, the Director of the Strategy Research Group and leader of research strength Competitiveness and Competitive Advantage. Up till January 2010, he was the Director of Postgraduate Studies and spearheaded the development of the PhD programme and Masters level provision at the Sunway Campus. Previously he has help academic position in several UK universities. Prior to joining Monash University Malaysia, he was Professor and Chair of management at the University of Wolverhampton. He has published extensively in international journals. He has been a keynote speaker at international venues and won numerous academic awards for his research. He has served as editor and sat on the editorial boards of number of journals.

He is the founding editor of the European Journal of Innovation Management, the International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, International Journal of Business ethics and Governance and International journal of Management Practice. Professor Pervaiz Ahmed was involved in the European Quality Foundation and advised on the development of the revised model incorporating innovation and learning. He has extensive experience working with and advising blue chip companies and public sector organisations.


Professor James Kirkbride is the Vice-Rector at London School of Business and Finance. He was also the Founding Dean and Professor of International Business Law and founding Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law at Liverpool John Moores University. Previously Head of the Centre for Board Development in Leeds and Director of the Law School and Assistant Dean in the Business Faculty. James has published over 50 papers and has written and contributed to 8 books on Business and Law issues. He has held personal Chairs and awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in European Studies by the Commission. His expertise is reflected in his appointment to the Department of Trade and Industry’s “Ideas Factory”’; his appointment as the first chair of the Standard’s Committee West Yorkshire; and his appointment to professional body boards such as the Institute of Directors’ Board and the Bar Council Education Committee (Northern Circuit), and to the Senior Executive Roundtable at the EFQM.

He was a member of Innovation and Business Excellence Awards Jury; the Steering Group for the UK Northern Way Centres of Excellence Initiative; and International Advisory Committee of leading Business Schools, including NIMBAS. He is also a member of the Xi’an Arbitration Panel in China and was recently appointed as an EU expert under the EU-China International Commercial Arbitration Project. His EU Report on ODR was published in late 2009. He is a Visiting Professor at International Universities and has acted as an external consultant to the development of Law Schools at Bradford and Derby Universities.


Professor Geoff Lancaster is Dean at London School of Commerce. Previously he was Research Professor of Marketing at London Metropolitan University and has held visiting Professorships at the University of Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University and Macquarie University, Sydney. He was founding Chairman of the Durham Associates Group of Companies which he chaired for 21 years until 2011. This is a corporate communications and educational provision company, headquartered in Castle Eden, County Durham with offices in London, Bahrain, Oman, Dubai and Zambia. The company is in receipt of the Queen’s Award for Exporting. He was previously Senior Examiner and Senior Academic Advisor to the Chartered Institute of Marketing and is currently a Governor of the Association of Business Executives. He has published over 100 academic papers and textbooks with McGraw-Hill, Routledge, Macmillan, Prentice-Hall, Butterworth-Heinemann and Kogan Page.


Steve is Professor of Corporate Governance and Head of Department of Finance, Accounting and Economics at Bournemouth University, UK. Previously he held the chair in Corporate Governance at Liverpool John Moores University and Chair of the Faculty of Business and Law Research committee. He has directed several large research projects on Corporate Governance, Risk Management, Performance Measurement and Corporate Reporting. Recent sponsored research studies include: The European Union; The British Army; Department of Trade and Industry - Changes in the board and its impact on company performance (a sponsored study informing the Modern Company Law Review); Abbey National - a 4 year series of projects on risk management to 2001 and the jointly sponsored British Council and KBN, Polish Research Council, an Anglo-Polish comparative international research study (joint with Poznan University). In addition to his research and university work Steve is a non-executive director in Controline Limited, a high-tech company based in the UK. In recent years he has acted as consultant to many for-profit and not-for-profit organisations including several U.K. and overseas institutions. Steve has an extensive research and publication record with well over 200 published papers. In 2005 he was awarded the Literati medal for a paper he wrote in 1996 in recognition of the paper being one of the world’s top two hundred most frequently downloaded papers. He has extensive Executive MBA teaching experience including Beijing Jiaotong University (China), Griffith University (Gold Coast, Australia), Leeds (UK), TiasNimbas (The Netherlands), Poznan (Poland) and Warwick (UK).


Dr. Hassan holds a PhD in Government Performance from the University of Bradford in the UK, and an MBA from Cardiff Business School in the UK, and a BSc in Industrial Engineering from the University of Jordan. During his career he worked in different private and public sector organisations in the field of management consultancy and business excellence and he is currently an Advisor at the Prime Ministers’ Office in the UAE working on Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Program and is an Adjunct Faculty at the Faculty of Business and Management at the university of Wollongong in Dubai. In his capacity as an advisor with the Prime Minister’s Office of UAE, he designed the performance management system for the UAE Government; He also participated in developing the excellence award categories of Emirates Government Excellence Award which is considered the most prestigious award at the government level. As a researcher in the field of Management, he presented and published several papers and articles in a number of international conferences and journals, in the field of Performance Management and Business Excellence.


Dr. Wafa' Abu Snaineh is the Advisor of Dubai’ the Model Centre, in the Executive Council of Government of Dubai. Dr. Wafa’ holds a BSc in Industrial Engineering; MSc in Quality and Performance Management and PhD in Experience Management, and is currently an adjunct faculty at the University of Wollongong in Dubai.

As a researcher and a management advisor; Dr. Wafa’ has made various contributions in the area of service management/improvement and is playing currently a key role in leading the development and deployment of Dubai Model for Government Services. She has a varied research experience in the management field with publications in the area of organisational effectiveness and efficiency as well as customer experience management.

In the last 15 years, Dr. Wafa’ has worked, carried out training and offered business advisory in the field of quality and performance management, service management and business excellence in different sectors including: the public sector, higher education, e-commerce, management consultancy and telecommunication.


Palace of Golden Horses

Jalan Kuda Emas, Mines Resort City, 43300 Seri Kembangan, Selangor, Malaysia.

Palace of the Golden Horses, tagged as Asia’s Most Extraordinary Hotel, is a world-class award winning luxury hotel located within the iconic MINES Wellness City and just 20 minutes away from the heart of Kuala Lumpur, where the Palace of the Golden Horses is located and a 35-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). This enchanting palatial hotel is best noted for its dedicated conference center, the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Conference Center. Located in its very own private wing, it offers unrivalled conference space with a total of 19 meeting rooms equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, a Royal Ballroom with a maximum seating capacity of up to 1000 pax.



5th of December, 2012 | 19:00 - 22:30
Dinner Talk and Official Launch of the Zairi Institute
6th of December, 2012 | 07:00 - 17:30
Conference Keynote Adresses and Panel Discussions
7th of December, 2012 | 07:00 - 12:30
Conference Parallel Half-Day Workshops





Zairi Institute
C-14-1, NeoCyber

Additional Information


If Quality Matters Why Doesn't The Customer

05 December 2012


The Program
19:00 Arrival and Cocktail Drinks
19:30 Welcome by the Master of Ceremonies
19:40 Zairi Institute Launch - Corporate Video
19:50 The Dinner Talk - Professor Mohamed Zairi
20:30 Dinner
22:30 Close



06 December 2012

The Program
07:00 - 08:30 Registration
08:30 - 08:40 Welcome (Master of Ceremonies)
08:40 - 08:55 Opening Speech (Government of Malaysia Official)
08:55 - 09:35 Driving Excellence In Higher Education: How to avoid swimming against the tide.
Professor Julie Furst-Bowe
09:35 - 10:15 The Path to Excellence in a Digital Economy: How Quality can lead to Sustainable
Performance. Dr. Tito Conti
10:15 - 10:45 Coffee Break
10:45 - 11:25 The Magic Formula of Organisational Success: How to successfully combine the Power
of Innovation, Human Capital and Knowledge. Professor Pervaiz Ahmed
11:25 - 12:05 Unleashing Potential and Developing Human Capital for the Future: Best Practices
Strategies for Modern Competitiveness. Professor James Kirkbride
12:05 - 12:30 Panel Discussion / Question and Answers
12:30 - 14:00 Lunch Break
14:00 - 14:40 From Marketing to Market Orientation: How to Prepare your Organisation for a
Citizen/Customer driven Competitiveness. Professor Geoff Lancaster
14:40 - 15:20 Ensuring Constancy of Purpose and Business Continuity: How to Use Excellence in
Governance for Managing the Future of Organisations. Professor Steve Letza
15:20 - 15:50 Coffee Break
15:50 - 16:30 Driving Excellence in Government: Connecting reform initiatives to achieve International
Competitiveness. Dr. Hassan Khudair
16:30 - 17:00 Panel Discussion
17:00 - 17:30 Question and Answers
17:30 Close



07 December 2012

The Program
07:00 - 08:30 Registration
08:30 - 08:45 Welcome
How to become a World Class University.
Excellence Capability through the Malcolm Baldrige Framework
Professor Julie Furst-Bowe
Building World Class Status through Corporate Governance
Transforming Organisational Culture using A Best Practice Framework
Professor Steve Letza
Providing Excellent and High Quality Public Services:
How to Build the Required Capabilities using a Best Practice Model
Dr. Wafa Abu Sneineh
How to Ensure Sustainable Business Performance in the SME Sector:
Excelling Through Marketing
Professor Geoff Lancaster
From Customer Experience to Customer Empathy:
How to Build A Sustainable Competitive Advantage in the Banking Industry Sector.
Professor Mohamed Zairi
08:40 - 10:15 Session 1
10:15 - 10:45 Coffee Break
10:45 - 12:00 Session 2
12:00 - 12:30 Question and Answers
12:30 Close