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New Ivey faculty: Isam Faik

  • Cam Buchan
  • |
  • Sep 17, 2020
New Ivey faculty: Isam Faik

Ivey welcomes six new faculty members to campus! To help you get to know our new colleagues, we asked each of them a list of questions about their academic – and personal – interests.

Get to know: Isam Faik

Isam Faik joins Ivey as an assistant professor in Information Systems. He earned his PhD in Management Studies at the University of Cambridge, after completing both his Masters and Bachelors degrees in Engineering at McGill University.

After his studies, Faik began his academic career, which took him on a journey with his family across four different continents. His work helps researchers and practitioners understand the challenges of organizing in the new digital realities.

What is the most important thing business executives can learn from your research/area of expertise?

My research investigates the digital transformation of organizations and society. A key message in much of my work is that digital transformation needs to be understood in a way that transcends traditional organizational boundaries. It is no longer enough for business leaders to figure out how to best use digital technologies within their organizations. They increasingly need to make sense of how new technologies are transforming the broader social environment around their organizations, and how their own use of the new technologies will affect their social and physical environments. My work aims to offer insights into alternative perspectives that both researchers and practitioners might find useful as they grapple with the challenges of the new digital realities.     

Where did you grow up and what was it like there?

I was born in Marrakech, Morocco, but lived in different cities across the country before I moved to Montréal for my undergraduate studies at McGill. Morocco is rich with natural beauty and centuries-old traditions that are still vibrant and visible in marketplaces, architectural designs, and inside people’s homes. Growing up in Morocco also meant that I got to enjoy the diverse flavors of Moroccan cuisine and drink a lot of mint tea! 

What led you to your career?

I had done both my Bachelors and Masters degrees in Engineering. But after a few years of work in industry, I found myself longing for something that was more intellectually stimulating; something that more directly involved continuous learning. That lead me to academia. I am now happy to realize that becoming a university professor is the best way to remain a perpetual student.  

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I like to spend quality time with my family, play soccer, read beyond my field, and have a good cup of coffee while pondering life’s big mysteries.

What might someone be surprised to know about you? 

My second and third sons were born while I was doing my PhD, making it an extremely productive time in my life. Despite hailing from a tea-loving nation, I am a coffee aficionado. We even roast our own beans at home.

What podcast do you enjoy?

Before I left Canada 13 years ago, I enjoyed listening to Ideas on CBC Radio. When I returned, I was happily surprised to notice the podcast has kept its vigour.

What book would you recommend to others? On the personal side? On the business side?

I would recommend Shoshana Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. Zuboff is a talented writer and an astute observer of the deep transformations that our societies are undergoing as we continue to incorporate “smart machines” in every aspect of our daily lives. Without necessarily being a Luddite, she offers a critical gaze into the digital futures we are creating through the technological choices we are making today.