Home Spotlights & Interviews Spotlight: Adil Hosgor

Spotlight: Adil Hosgor

Spotlight: Focus on Transformation


How did you get into Transformation and Innovation?

All of us have great experience in this domain, but most of us are not conscious of just how much they know. In fact, we engage with change every day of our lives. We all have, on a daily basis, a need to make a decision regarding a change. For some, these are life changing transformations, and for others it is much smaller. The common denominator is that we are constantly engaging in some form of change or other. A great example of how change comes about is Dyson. When people can’t find what they’re looking for, and to help them through a challenge, innovation is born!

Change can be uncomfortable, and if the common saying “people resist change” or “people don’t like change”, is to be believed, then we should all be going through our lives distressed (might be true for some!!).  Actually, change is the distraction, the danger, the problem – and the opportunity. It is when the change is not working for you, not aligning to your goal or vision, and you are not looking for an innovative solution to the discomfort.

I’ve always been into Technology (a geek that also loves time out from Tech), and most importantly, I always believed there is a solution for most challenges, and if I couldn’t see it, I would try and create it.

Where did it all start?

My first “proper” job, was at British Airways, managing high volumes of Customer Complaints, sending out standard letters, giving vouchers, and not really adding much value. Feeling this was a huge waste of our talent, I prepared a proposal to my executive team, to create an Offshore Service Center, the first one used for managing CRM. At first my colleagues pushed back hard, saying they would all lose their jobs, however I was able to reassure them that my proposal ensured that we would be the Center of Excellence in Customer Satisfaction and Customer Retention – this was before CI/CX/BI and real time dashboards were a thing.

To cut a long story short, our Offshore Service Center proved to be so successful that our satisfaction levels from our clients went through the roof, our customer retention numbers trebled. We were actually addressing people’s concerns and resolving them in a tailored way.

From there, I joined the Service Delivery Program Team as a Transformation Program Manager, I was involved in the LHR T5 build. My portfolio included Airside and Landside readiness, and the management of the roll out of a new Fleet for British Airways (the pay and rewards portfolio), alongside other complex change programs.  I spent a lot of my time with Unions and lawyers, which was a great learning experience.

How did you come to the UAE?

In 2011, I was headhunted for Emirates, and came to Dubai as a Business IT Manager and consultant and my portfolio was Emirates Airport Services.  I was definitely thrown in the deep end, but as I love swimming I enjoyed every minute of it.  During this time, I also Project managed the completion of Dubai International Airport Concourse A’s IT readiness, and proudly received a certificate of appreciation from Sheikh Ahmed and Sir Tim Clark.

I then moved to Technology Business, Operations and Support for Service Delivery Cabin Crew Training at Emirates. There I created and implemented a large number of high-profile change programs, L&D interventions. I was an advisor to HR, aligning delivery to the strategic goals of the Organisation. Using a customer centric planning approach, I made sure that as many people as possible benefited from the changes – as well as our customers of course!

With severe capacity issues at our facility, I put a business case together to introduce VR training to the Service Delivery landscape at Emirates (working with the Training Managers, VPs and stakeholders across multiple departments and regulatory bodies including crew licensing. This was put forward to Dubai Futures, and we were the first Business Case to be accepted by Dubai Futures on behalf of Emirates Service Delivery. Being a high-profile event supported by the Dubai Government, the MOU was signed by my COO and Sheikh Hamdan. Another proud accolade!

My love of change and innovation took me to consult for an international law firm and to a holding group with diverse businesses from retail, to DNA laboratories, across 21 countries.  So more great learning!

What advice would you give to People facing changes, or wanting to grow in the Transformation and Innovation domain?

One of my favorite sayings is “It is better to light a candle, then to curse the darkness”.  Firstly, approach everything with an attitude and mindset of “if this was to work for me, what would it look like?” Secondly, to get the best out of change, make sure that you are the one steering it. Don’t be the disgruntled observer, creating a self-fulfilled prophecy by doing nothing, then saying “see, I told you it would be bad”. Thirdly recognize that change is inevitable, so it’s about knowing what you want, what works for you, and limiting the damage of the change. Maximize the opportunities change brings (and it does bring opportunities) and take as many people as you can with you. Lastly, and most importantly, if you cannot see a solution, create one, this is where innovation is born, brainstorm with peers or friends, again, always have the mindset of “if this is to work, how will it?  What will it look like?  What will it need to do?”

For those wanting to get ahead in this domain, obviously study your craft, understand the various frameworks from quality to design thinking, but never think that one framework will be the answer to every transformation, it won’t. Use certain elements of frameworks, and deliver a solution that is fit for purpose, not a solution that is from a framework that you are familiar with. When it comes to innovation, always make sure you understand the culture, the competency mix of the employees and the L&D and HR requirements for the innovation to be operational. If you bring in new technologies that your IT department have never had exposure to, or it creates processes that your teams or the whole company have never used before, then the innovation and the change will less likely succeed.

 Learn to listen to understand, never listen just to give a reply, always playback your understanding, gather your requirements, validate them, then validate them again before any proposal is given. You are potentially delivering something that will have a direct impact on the working lives of people, and/or the customer user experience, it’s a big responsibility, don’t take it lightly. When you gather the requirements, review how the employees’ concerns/comments/wants/needs, align to the corporate goal or vision.  If there is huge disparity between the two, speak to your sponsor or senior executive, as this is a risk. Discuss how you can bring the two together as without buy in from the end user, your Transformation is much less likely to succeed.

How do you stay on top of all the innovation and Transformation frameworks?

I am a firm believer in giving back, so I am a senior mentor for an Incubator / accelerator that supports Tech Startups in the Airline, Tourism and Hospitality landscape (sponsored by Microsoft, Accenture, Dubai Tourism and Emirates). I am a visiting lecturer for Northampton University’s MBA program in Dubai (through Stafford Global) and I write for an Entrepreneurial magazine on Transformation Delivery, Service Excellence and Quality.  Because I love what I do, and because of my extensive network that has evolved over 25 plus years, I also get asked to attend or deliver ad hoc events, such as being a judge for the SME 2022 awards (a MEED event), and I am also on a lot of Future Tech groups and sites.

All of this helps keep me fresh and on top of my game.

What do you feel is the future of Transformation Design and Delivery?

The future is bright.

As I said at the beginning, transformation is something that is all around us. Companies, Organisations are no different. There will always be a need for transformation design and delivery, and as time goes on, existing frameworks will be refined, new methodologies will be created. AI / ML / VR / AR / Metaverse / Big Data / Human Factors / Quantum Computing and many many more new technologies will emerge to create transformations and changes that are smoother, brighter, shinier, and more profitable than before.

What I would love to see, and this is something I am working on, is to build more human-centric driven transformation principals and frameworks. We are told in business schools – and the many posts on linked in- that people are our most valuable resource. With this in mind during times of change and uncertainty, I would love to see more of a people-centric approach being applied as it’s where HR could play a pivotal role in the future of People-Centric Transformation and People- Centric Innovation Design and Delivery for all change throughout business, from IT to Commercial.

Adil Hosgor