Fella Benaziza was recently included on IBM’s prestigious Women Leaders in AI list. We ask her what it takes to be a successful technology entrepreneur in today’s complex world.
What does it take to be a successful technology entrepreneur? And why does this question even matter?
According to Fella Benaziza, business analyst within Capgemini’s Insights & Data Global Business Line, entrepreneurs in technology are crucial in solving the problems of the world.
‘Our cultures are becoming more complex and so are the problems we face,’ she says. ‘In my view, entrepreneurs anticipate the future needs of society. They see problems before they occur and find solutions.’
Fella has worked at Capgemini for four years as lead innovator, UX designer, and now, business analyst. This year, she was included on IBM’s Women Leaders in AI list for France – a prestigious international roster of women pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence.
Thinking like a tech entrepreneur
According to Fella, being a technology entrepreneur involves staying ahead of the curve and keeping your eyes open. ‘The field of data science advances extremely quickly and, to keep pace, you have to remain curious,’ she says. ‘This benefits you by renewing your stock of knowledge and challenging your accepted paradigms.’
However, the most important lessons she’s learned are about human beings. ‘All my projects have related to people and the changing social landscape we inhabit. This has opened my mind and made me more tolerant of myself and others.’
Moreover, organisations that nurture an entrepreneurial culture will find themselves rewarded, says Fella. ‘It encourages employees to develop their skills and push themselves further. Also, this gives them a sense of belonging within the organisation because they’re involved in trying to address the challenges it faces.’
Going with the ‘Flo’
This was precisely Fella’s experience when she answered an internal call for innovation at Capgemini. She decided to address the issue of time wasted on routine administration tasks by creating a prototype chatbot named ‘Flo’ using the IBM Watson Assistant solution, with support from Capgemini and IBM experts.
‘Flo’ can respond to inquiries on a range of subjects, but is geared towards answering new starters’ inquiries, thereby reducing the admin burden on team leaders and HR staff.
‘The aim was to enhance employee experience as much as possible, centralise access to information, support newcomers and improve talent retention,’ says Fella.
IBM Women Leaders in AI
This project led to Fella’s inclusion on the IBM list, and it demonstrates how an entrepreneurial approach can bring success.
‘It’s a great honor to have been included in this list and see my work recognised globally,’ she says. ‘It makes me more ambitious to go further. I’m also extremely proud to be among these incredible women. That’s been one of the huge benefits: making connections all over the world and learning about the capabilities of AI for other applications.’
While Fella is pleased to be personally recognised, she sees the award as crucial in fostering a more inclusive and balanced future for AI.
‘According to the World Economic Forum, only 26% in the global AI workforce are women,’ she says. ‘This competition matters because it encourages women to take part in AI projects.’
Creating an equal future
‘AI is going to shape the world for the next 50 years,’ says Fella. ‘It’s vital that men and women are equally involved in this project to ensure systems reflect the gender equality of the world and to guard against bias.’
Capgemini has explored this issue in its report ‘The key to designing inclusive tech: creating diverse and inclusive tech teams’. Some businesses have also recognised this challenge and have joined different initiatives to guarantee AI is designed and deployed in an inclusive way. For example, in the UK, Capgemini has joined the Microsoft Partner Pledge, supporting a positive societal impact in five key areas: digital skills, apprenticeships, diversity and inclusion, responsible and ethical AI, and sustainability.
Words of advice
‘To be entrepreneurial, we must always stay in motion,’ says Fella. ‘Draw energy from a group because no-one can innovate on their own. Also, remember that innovation always implies risk, so evaluate the risk and design the right tools to minimise it.’
Perhaps most importantly, Fella underlines the importance of a broad, positive view of human progress. ‘Technological advancements go beyond enhancing human behavior, they shape it – and the direction of the world. So instead of just focusing on technology skills, stay curious about the wider world, about what people need and the social and economic realities of our times.’