Q&A with Dana Farrugia, CEO of Tech.mt
Q1: What do we need for a post-coronavirus recovery?
With prolonged economic recession topping the list of predicted effects of the pandemic, these are uncertain times for governments, businesses and societies. But with uncertainty comes opportunity. In fact, I believe that amongst all this insecurity lies a unique but prominent window of opportunity to shape a more resilient economy. Whilst Malta’s economic growth during the first quarter of 2020 has remained in positive territory, we should not misinterpret this positive stat as justification to not take the necessary measures to innovate and transform ourselves. In this regard, we need to ask ourselves what can we be doing differently?
Tech.mt has a huge responsibility in pushing the reset button and looking at how to create an economy which is based on digital resilience and digital innovation. How I see it, the pandemic has really been a wake-up call that we need to transition to a more digital economy. If we truly want to have a resilient and effective recovery, we need to bring all stakeholders from all levels at the table with government to design the kind of future we want for our country, our economy and our people. And without any doubt, the future Tech.mt envisages is digital.
Q2: How can leaders best adapt to this new technological era and why is it important to do so?
The future of leadership will be challenging but critical to navigating this new digital world. Leaders should be asking themselves what it entails to lead in a digital ecosystem and stay ahead of the curve. Thinking about the skills leaders will require, I believe adaptability, creativity and innovation are key to redefining their role during these unprecedented times. I believe there is a very simple choice to be made here, either stay ingrained in outdated and irrational mindsets or tear down the barrier to change processes and tools which will allow our organizations to thrive. Automation is, in fact, one of such tools. The problem with automation is that it is often correlated with job displacement, but it shouldn’t be the case. From a technological perspective, I look at automation as a forward-thinking investment and a motivating factor for our workforce to immerse themselves in technology.
Q3: What role has Tech.mt been playing in the response to the COVID-19 crisis?
With the sole responsibility of representing and promoting the technology and innovation sector in Malta, Tech.mt has been pivotal in making sure technology and digital platforms are used in the best way possible. In light of its wide array of responsibilities and the multiple projects it coordinates, Tech.mt has truly covered all facets of society. From stimulating businesses to go digital and pushing for more women in digital job-related employment to bridging the digital divide and ensuring children are safe online, Tech.mt has managed to stay fully abreast of the pandemic. We have also proactively engaged in generating a new era of enhanced collaboration and shared agendas on both a local and international platform.
Q4: What are the key lessons learnt from the pandemic and what role does technology have?
The uncertainties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic have taught us the true value of connectivity. Having access to an advanced digital infrastructure and a favourable ecosystem for the development of technology-focused content and tools are often taken for granted. We have learnt to adapt to this new norm by acquiring the necessary digital skills and competences to truly enable a digital transformation of our economy. As Malta cautiously emerges from the immediate crisis, technology will be central to how governmental entities, businesses and educational institutions adapt to this new norm. It is only inevitable that the integration of technology in our economy will eventually become an essential component of ensuring a healthy recovery from the pandemic. It is up to us to explore technology’s full potential.
I believe there is a very simple choice to be made here, either stay ingrained in outdated and irrational mindsets or tear down the barrier to change processes and tools which will allow our organizations to thrive.
— Dana Farrugia
CEO - Tech.mt