Frances Valintine Talked About Accelerating Digital Business At WIEF thinkTALK Webinar


Oct  20th

KUALA LUMPUR– The World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation, through WIEF Young Leaders Network (WYN), successfully held the WIEF thinkTALK webinar on 20 October 2020 at 3pm, (GMT +8), entitled ‘Reinforcing Digital Business: Accelerating Growth Amid Turmoil’. The event was attended by more than 200 participants, from 21 countries, including New Zealand, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Belgium, South Africa and Malaysia. Ebrahim Patel, Chairman of WIEF Young Leaders Network and Managing Director of SiyaXoxa Technologies, South Africa moderated the one-hour session.

The session’s role-player, Frances Valintine (CNZM), Founder of Tech Futures Lab, New Zealand, emphasized on the urgency for traditional businesses to shift towards digitization. She explained, the world population has gained 4.5 billion people, among which, 1.72 billion are of generation Y and 2.52 billion are of generation Z. They are increasingly becoming the consumers in the world. They are also the ones that are forming and working in technology companies.

‘It took 75 years for telephone to become mainstream and to reach 50 million users, while it only took 19 days for Pokemon Go to reach 50 million downloads. This shows how quickly the new generation is able to adopt to new technologies.’ Frances explained. The first move for companies may be to start moving away from paper and start moving everything into cloud system.

95 per cent of customer interactions will be powered by AI, within the next five to ten years. It is widely used to predict the users’ interest by monitoring the things they search or subscribe for. The advancement of AI has been tremendous, it not only suggests to users, they can also list comparable products that might entice the users.

Frances also touched on how blockchain is having a significant raise of interest. 77% of current financial service firms will incorporate blockchain as part of their work processes. The vast development of open banking also built on blockchain, as more transactions and decisions are being made on mobile phones, especially for generation Z, where 58% of them make their purchasing decisions from their mobile, via their social media.

Companies websites should now always be prepared for mobile phones first. They should also emphasize more effort into strengthening their social media presence. ‘It is really important that you understand these (social media) channels, not only from how far the reach is, but also from the influence it has on decision making.’

She added, business owners should be focused on their five-year goal and not to be too fixated on post COVID recovery only. The scenario and trend are unique for every region. For some parts of the world, most web browsing is done on mobile phones without touching the keypads. It is however very rare in America. Therefore, business owners should really know their market and what kind of digital enhancement will work best for their kind of products and services. ‘Rather than increasing human capital or physical assets, the most successful companies in 2021 and beyond will leverage information and technology to achieve rapid expansion in pursuit of a massive transformational purpose.’ Frances said.

‘We love hanging on to the past. It makes us feel comfortably secure, probably because that’s where our expertise lies. However, we have to get much more comfortable with the idea of moving as the technology moves. It’s okay not to be right, but it’s not okay to not have a learning and open mind to change because that will take you into the world obsolescence, where you will find yourself one day with no customers and a business that is no longer viable.’ Frances said, ending her presentation.

One of the participants, Abraham Moshi, from Tanzania said, ‘I enjoyed the relevance of the programme with today’s scenario. Sustainable growth of businesses indeed depends highly on digitalization.’

For more information, contact Faizah Jaafar at +6019 399 7746 ( or follow WIEF Foundation on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter for regular updates on future events and happenings. Visit us at



About WIEF Idealab

IdeaLab, an initiative of WIEF Foundation’s Young Leaders Network (WYN), is an established startup conference that cultivates entrepreneurs and assists in the development of startup ecosystems. IdeaLab’s relevance stems from its assorted features, developed and refined through five years, that spur key players in the global startup ecosystem to share experiences and find ways to sustainably scale up. The virtual arm of WYN called WIEF Idealab 2020 Series, serves as survival guide for startups during the pandemic and beyond through online discussions and workshops by industry experts.

About WIEF Foundation’s Young Leaders Network (WYN)

Aimed at promoting cross-border business opportunities and social projects for the common good, WYN is a global youth network for young pioneers and changemakers to connect and collaborate. It organises youth-oriented flagship programmes including IdeaLab, Young Fellows, MOCAfest, MOCAfellows and ThinkTalk.

About World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation

World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation was established in 2005. It is the organising body of the annual World Islamic Economic Forum. The Forum serves as a focal point where country leaders, captains of industry, emerging entrepreneurs, academics and other stakeholders from the Muslim World and beyond, meet to build bridges through business. The Foundation also undertakes various capacity building programmes under WIEF initiatives of the Businesswomen Network (WBN), Young Leaders Network (WYN), Education Trust (WET) and Roundtable Series (WRT).




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Frances Valintine (CNZM)
Founder, Tech Futures Lab, New Zealand

Frances Valintine is a leader in innovation and emerging technologies. After a 20-year career in higher education and creative technology, she launched Tech Futures Lab in 2016, committed to the development of people and capability, as well as a culture of innovation and responsiveness to technological advancements. She has worked with, and advised over, 250 organisations from every sector in New Zealand and has gained a reputation as an expert in leading change initiatives.

Frances was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2018 and was recognised for her lifetime contribution to education as well as technology. She received the New Zealand Flying Kiwi Award in 2017, was inducted into the New Zealand Hi-Tech Hall of Fame and named one of the top three Innovators of the Year at the ‘NZer of the Year’ awards.  In 2016, she was named as one of the top 50 EdTech Educators in the World by EdTech International and awarded a Sir Peter Blake Leader Award. Prior to that, she was awarded the Westpac New Zealand Woman of Influence (Innovation) and the Next New Zealand Woman of the Year (Education).

Frances sits on the boards of Watercare and Dilworth School Trust and is an advisor to Bank of New Zealand. She is also a selection advisor for the Edmund Hillary Foundation, committed to supporting a community of impact entrepreneurs, investors and changemakers to build meaningful solutions to global problems. She holds a Master of Education Management from the University of Melbourne.


Ebrahim Patel
Chairman WIEF Young Leaders Network & Managing Director, SiyaXoxa Technologies, South Africa

Ebrahim Patel is the Managing Director of SiyaXoxa Technologies. He is also the Chairman of the WIEF Young Leaders Network and member of the WIEF International Advisory Panel.  He was the Founder and Past President of the Minara Chamber of Commerce and is an Advisory Board Member of the University of KwaZulu Natal ELC. Ebrahim was recently appointed as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Indonesia and serves on the KwaZulu Natal Economic Council which advises the provincial government on economic strategy. He is passionate about youth and entrepreneurship.