Advisory Board

Prof. Marco Taisch

Professor of Advanced & Sustainable Manufacturing and Operations Management Politecnico di Milano Italy - Scientific Chairman, World Manufacturing Forum

Marco Taisch is Full Professor at Politecnico di Milano, where he teaches Sustainable and Digital Manufacturing, and Operations Management. He is one of the coordinators of the Manufacturing Group of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano. During his academic career, he has been the Rector's delegate for Placement and Alumni, Director of the MBA and Executive MBA of MIP, the Business School of Politecnico di Milano. Since 2002, he has been particularly dedicated to the study of technological trends,
carrying out some technological roadmaps and Technology Foresight studies on manufacturing as a consultant for the European Commission. He is a member of the Board of EFFRA (European Factories of the Future Research Association), of the Board of Cluster Italiano Fabbrica Intelligente and of Cluster Lombardo Fabbrica Intelligente.

He took part to the Advisory Board of the Italian Industry 4.0 Plan, coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Development (Former Minister Carlo Calenda) and he supported the Lombardy Region in defining the industrial and reshoring policies under the commission of the then Lombardy Region’s President Roberto Maroni.

He is co-founder and Scientific Chairman of the World Manufacturing Foundation, which yearly organizes the World Manufacturing Forum, the global event defining the Manufacturing agenda endorsed by the European Commission.

He is currently a member of the Unicredit Territorial Advisory Board for the Lombardy Region.

He is President of MADE – Competence Center Industria 4.0, the biggest among the 8 Italian Competence Centers created by the Industry 4.0 National Plan.

He was founding partner of Holonix, a spin-off of Politecnico di Milano, which he exited in 2017 to create, in March 2018, Miraitek4.0, another spin-off of Politecnico di Milano, whose activity concentrates on Industry 4.0. Miraitek4.0.

He currently works as a consultant for different companies such as Leonardo or Thales Alenia Space; for these companies, he has developed, together with a team, projects aimed to improve digitalization and production processes.

Prof. Derek Woodgate

President and Chief Futurist - The Futures Lab USA

Derek Woodgate is a consulting futurist, educator, author, speaker and curator. He is the President and Chief Futurist of The Futures Lab, Inc., a foresight consultancy, he founded in 1996, which specializes in creating future potential for major corporations and institutions (

In addition, Derek is an Associate Professor in the ICT Department of the Engineering and Science Faculty at the University of Adger in Norway and a Visiting Professor at the University of Houston College of Technology Foresight Program. In all cases, he teaches Grad and PhD students in Applied Foresight. Recently, he was appointed to the Executive Board of the Center for Futures Studies at the University of Dubai. Derek is also a member of the World Futures Studies Federation UNESCO Committee. Derek is a resident of USA and UAE and has extensive experience of UAE government operations. Derek has BA in Eastern European Studies and a MA in Political Economics and studied for his PhD in the ICT Department at the Faculty of Engineering and Science University of Adger.

His book, Future Frequencies (2004) was considered paradigm shifting in the foresight field, and his various pieces already published from his book Future Flow give a fresh look at how experiential manifestations can be designed to facilitate new approaches to exploration, innovation, and learning. Presently, his academic papers are concerned primarily with emerging technologies, immersive spatial narratives and increasing human creativity. He is particularly active in the field of smart cities, security and the techno-cultural integration into urban development and its impact on societal transformation.

Derek has worked on numerous integrated city development projects at the government, regional and local level, as well as with the world’s leading architects, construction, and materials manufactures. He was previously advisor to the US Government on the future of transportation and infastructure 2050, the UAE Ministry of the Interior on Security, policing traffic and civil defense, UN/UNESCO on the advancement of futures literacy for societal improvement, Ministries of Education Norway and Germany introducing transdisciplinarity for societal transformation, for the Texas State Government on the 30-year development of the future of Austin, TX, the Central Texas Technology Corridor and the cultural development of Austin, TX as well as the future of energy tech for city development, Malaysian Government on the integration of creative into the 30 year Kuala Lumpur development plan, The City of London for the repurposing of Covent Garden and the future vision for Silicon Roundabout, etc.

Derek is a world-renowned conference speaker on a myriad of future-related subjects, particularly those related to the impact of future technologies on transformative societies, human-machine integration and co-development, and intelligent environments. He has worked for a number of years in UAE

Prior to The Futures Lab Inc., Derek had previous experience as an executive on the board of two major international corporations with over 20 years SVP-level management in global strategy. He started his career as a diplomat with the British Government (FCO).

He has lived and worked in eleven countries and is at home in seven languages (English, Croatian, French, Italian, Bulgarian, Russian and Dutch).

Derek is a founding and board member of the Association of Professional Futurists and ex-President of the World Futures Society Texas Chapter and a long-term member of the World Futures Studies Federation. He is also on the Executive Board of TAFFDs (Transdisciplinary Agora for Future Discussion).

Prof. David Romero

Professor and Senior Research Scientist - Advanced Manufacturing, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico - International Ambassador, World Manufacturing Forum

Professor Dr. David Romero is a Senior Research Scientist and Scientific Project Manager at the Center for Innovation in Design and Technology of the Tecnológico de Monterrey University in Mexico, as well as National Academia Representative and Coach for the Regional Secretariat of Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) – Mexico. His research interests include: Circular Manufacturing, Service Engineering and Product-Service Systems, Cyber-Physical Systems & Human Systems, Advanced Production Management Systems, Green Virtual Enterprises, and Technology and Engineering Management. He is a member of the Society of Collaborative Networks, the IFAC TC5.3 on Enterprise Integration and Networking, the IFIP WG5.7 on Advances in Production Management Systems, the IFIP WG5.12 on Architectures for Enterprise Integration, the IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society, and the IEEE Internet of Things Community. Furthermore, he is an Agenda Contributor at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Council on “Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains”, and a World Manufacturing Forum (WMF) Ambassador. He has published more than 100 journal and international conference articles and serves at different editorial and scientific committees and advisory boards in academia, industry, and government in the disciplines of business and industrial engineering. Nowadays is focused on promoting the concepts of the "Operator 4.0" and "Digital Lean Manufacturing"; father of both terms.

Fady Sleiman

Group Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Officer - Mantrac Group/Mansour Group/ Mancapital

Recognized as a top ten CIO by leading publications in MENA, Fady is an executive leader with 18 year’s of experience who has been instrumental in business transformation for General Electric MENA operations. Fady is a regular keynote speaker at conferences that cover topics related to Innovation, Business Transformation, Fintech and Blockchain. Fady has a proven history of successfully executing leadership & management roles within IT, Operations, Business Strategy, M&A, JV’s & ‘green field’ business builds & business turnarounds.

Specialties: Government Relations in the Middle East Region, Strategic Planning, Quality - Six Sigma (Green & Black belt Certified), Customer-centricity, Change Management, Business Transformation, Mergers and Acquisitions, Banking IT and Operations Platforms, Vendor Negotiations.

Sectors: Financial Institutions, Aviation, Healthcare, Oil & Gas, Energy

Reda Nidhakou

Vice President - Strategic Programs & Corporate Development - EDGE

Reda Nidhakou is Vice President, Strategic Programs & Corporate Development at EDGE. In this role, he is responsible for key programs and corporate activities at the group level. He has played an instrumental role in establishing EDGE through contributing to setting-up the initial governance and operating model of the Group and leading the group acquisitions and ongoing transformation.

He currently leads the group activities on corporate development, performance management and innovation, and he oversees a number of Group initiatives related to Digital transformation / Industry 4.0, Operational excellence and Talent development.

He brings to the role 10 years of experience in strategy consulting and program management.

Prior to joining EDGE, Nidhakou was Director, Program Management at DarkMatter, where he was in charge of delivering complex technology and cyber security programs for government clients, alongside leading initiatives to drive the adoption of disruptive technologies within the Company. He also helped establish the company’s governance, and contributed to several strategic initiatives, such as research roadmap, partnership management, Go-to-Market strategy, talent development and performance management,.

Among other roles, he completed a tenure at EY in the Paris office as Senior Consultant – Strategy, Marketing and Innovation, where he led and contributed to strategic assignments for Telco and Media organizations such as strategic planning, M&A, Digital transformation and product management. He started his career in the digital domain – designing mobile apps and leveraging contactless technologies for payments and other applications.

Reda Nidhakou holds a master’s in Digital & Technology Management from HEC Paris, France, and a Master of Engineering in Information Communication and Technology from Telecom Paris, also based in Paris. In addition, he earned a Project Management Professional certificate from PMI.

Ahmed Elazhary

Business Innovation & Digital Transformation Director - Gulf Region - Merck

Ahmed El Azhary has an extensive experience in the healthcare industry. Throughout his 17 Year professional journey he has taken several leadership positions in Marketing, Sales, Innovation & Digital Transformation in multinational pharma companies. Currently, he is leading the Business Innovation and Digital transformation department at Merck in the Gulf countries aiming to transform the business and Introduce Innovative solutions that positively impact the business, healthcare professionals and ultimately patients. His key areas of interest are Strategy, Leadership, and Innovative Marketing.

Dr. Hakim Laghmouchi

- Advanced Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 Expert

Dr. Hakim Laghmouchi is a senior expert in Digital Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 with over 15 years of experience in applied research, technology, and management consulting. His domain expertise lies mainly in disruptive technologies and smart factory. He worked for Capgemini APAC, Accenture ASGR, The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Stems and Design Technology (IPK), a leading Industry 4.0 applied research institute in Berlin, Germany. Currently, he is leading the solution design and enterprise architecture at NEOM Industrial City (OXAGON). Hakim holds a Diploma (BSc & MSc) and Ph.D. in Computational Engineering Science from the Technical University of Berlin and a MA in Sustainability and Quality Management from Berlin School of Economics and Law.  

Dr. Alexander Arkhipov

Manager – Modelling, Technology Development & Transfer - Emirates Global Aluminium

Graduated with honors from Metallurgy faculty of Krasnoyarsk state academy of non-ferrous metals and gold (now part of Siberian Federal University, Russia) with engineer degree in Automation of technology processes in 2002.

2002-2010 worked for Mathematical modelling group at Engineering and technological center (ETC) of RUSAL and was involved to new cell technology development and testing.

2010-2013 worked for Performance Improvement Department of DUBAL on enhancements of existing DUBAL technologies as modelling and design engineer.

End of 2013 got a PhD degree from Ural Federal University

Since February 2014 works for Technology Development and Transfer department of EGA as Head of modelling team.

Nouman Qaiser

Digital Lead, Arabia - Unilever


Mr Nouman Qaiser is the Supply Chain Digital Transformation Manager for North Africa & Arabia at Unilever.  Before joining Unilever, Nouman has worked at Microsoft & P&G.  Nouman’s core area of expertise is solution design, pertaining to Manufacturing or planning. He has designed multiple solutions leveraging on Cloud Computing and IR4.0 tech to transform Manufacturing & Planning Processes. In an earlier role Nouman lead Digital transformation Program for Unilever’s Dubai Personal Care site which was eventually recognized as a Lighthouse of 4th Industrial Revolution by the World Economic Forum.

Nouman has profound interests in Computing technology & Software Design. Off the job, he enjoys spending time with his kids and Swimming.

Youssouf Kamal

Senior Manager - Transition Unit - District 2020

Youssouf Kamal started his career as a strategy consultant in one of the largest consulting firms in Morocco, where he worked with various governments on drafting sectorial strategies throughout the MENA and West Africa regions. It is during his consulting years that his interest in innovation ecosystems grew, as a means to efficiently achieve socioeconomic impact. With over a decade of experience in innovation, Youssouf has been a startup founder, before joining the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) as a Senior Strategy Associate. After a successful experience in Sheraa, Youssouf joined the world largest accelerator, Plug and Play, as a Program and Partnerships Manager. In Plug and Play, Youssouf founded the Industry 4.0 vertical, with the objective of creating an interdependent ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, focused on 4IR open innovation. He recently joined the District 2020 team, as a Senior Manager of Innovation Ecosystems.