There are people who know exactly what they are meant to do; be where they are meant to be; who genuinely follow their passions—passions so powerful that you can feel their excitement. Ahmed Doha is one such person. As Associate Professor, Supply Chain Management, Ahmed is highly passionate and committed to his mission: To lead business into the the future to solve societal problems while creating value with the power of business model innovation and artificial intelligence (AI).

Dr. Ahmed Doha

Ahmed Doha, Associate Professor, Supply Chain Management, Sprott School of Business

Ahmed has a fantastic arsenal of expertise in computer engineering, technology and business, and has created a robust research program rich in projects that continually evolve, keeping pace with the rapidity of technological advancement. Early on in his academic career, Ahmed examined how imitation, along with innovation, was a significant research and development (R&D) strategy in the top three R&D-intensive industries in the United States—pharmaceuticals, semi-conductors, and computer technology. He demonstrated that imitation is a large part of how companies and economies grow and ultimately innovate. This work led him to an important finding and one that has shaped his current research.

“In the path of value creation and competition, I discovered that, equally, if not more important than innovating on technology, is that business must innovate on the business model. The success of today’s most valuable firms owes more to business model innovation than to technology, process, or product innovation.”

This recognition now fuels Ahmed’s research to create business models to solve problems and create value out of new technologies. AI and the Internet of Things, two nascent and booming technologies, are the playground for this research.

What’s more, he is tapping into some exciting research to turn AI’s powerful capabilities into valuable solutions to save lives. Not yet published, a glimpse into this amazing work reveals innovative AI models that enable researchers to accomplish literature discovery tasks at a fraction of the time and cost currently needed. This technology can expand beyond researchers to include many critical care and mission-driven professions where instant access to vital information is invaluable.

Ahmed’s passion to innovate to solve problems started early in life and led him to work in the telecom industry in Egypt, where he was born and raised. A country that is pursuant on the industry ideology of consumption versus industriousness, he was disillusioned by the lack of industrial creativity and innovation in Egypt. He looked to Canada to pursue higher learning in computer engineering; a decision that changed his life’s journey, but one that came with great sacrifice.

Born into a male-dominated culture, Ahmed was the only boy among four sisters, a fate that would have him stay in Egypt and be the patriarch of the family. This was further cemented when his father died, leaving him the only man of the house. But, as fate would have it, his mother and sisters were born with courage and strength and who proved to be the foundation of Ahmed’s success.

“If it weren’t for my mother and sisters’ support, I wouldn’t have been able to move to Canada and pursue my passion. Today, my lovely wife carries the mantle. These women have pushed me; they have supported me in ways that I will be forever grateful.”

Ahmed’s passion was further proven when he made a pivotal decision that, once again, transformed his world. After his MSc in computer science, he was presented with a highly coveted offer from a top university, with a top Canadian scholarship, to attend the PhD program—a clear path to a successful and prestigious computer engineering career. Yet, Ahmed’s passion to work toward his vision of shifting society’s gears toward innovation—and to live up to his family’s sacrifice—was far more powerful.

“My vision of creating change wasn’t being realized in the computer engineering realm. I knew I needed to ask business and management related questions that would get me closer to identifying and addressing societal problems using innovation and technology.”

He knew then what he was meant to do. He accepted an offer from York University’s PhD program in Management.

Ahmed never forgets his roots and the women who had the courage to empower him. As a result, one of his research projects is close to his heart: Investigating AI-enabled innovative business models to identify and fight corruption at individual and organizational levels. With this, he hopes to help empower women and other vulnerable groups to speak up against the misconduct of those with authority.

“I am inspired to be an agent of change for those who experience hardship and subjugation; for those who have no way or voice for retribution. To give them an equalizer—I owe this to the women in my life.”

Now, that is passion.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 in ,
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