AN INNOVATION SPECIALIST AND TECH GENIUS
YOUNGEST-EVER HEAD OF ANY LEADING PAKISTAN INSTITUTION
A great source of learning and inspiration
Usman Mobin received his early education at Aitchison College, Lahore, Pakistan. Later he had completed a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering as well as a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts, United States of America. He was the architect of Pakistan’s Passport System that became the world’s first multi-biometric passport. Major achievements include the invention of fast phonetics-based search technique for searching multilingual identity databases such as Pakistan’s National Data Warehouse and the invention of an algorithmic technique for family tree linkage in National Database.
He works with the Government of Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and became NADRA’s Chief Technology Officer in 2002. In 2015 he was promoted to Chairman NADRA at such young age of thirty-five.
Usman Mobin has designed and implemented numerous international projects including Citizens’ Registration Project in Sri Lanka, Identity Management of Sri Lanka, Civil Registration of Sudan, Machine Readable Passports of Kenya and Drivers License of Bangladesh.
In Pakistan, he has deployed the National Identity Card System, Civil Registration System, Smart Card, and software for Benazir Income Support Programme, Watan Cards, Citizens Damage Compensation Program, Arms License Projects and the world’s first ever ICAO compliant multi-biometric passports.
Mr. Usman Mobin brought 12 years of experience in delivering high-quality citizens registration and citizens’ services projects around the world and while being the CTO of the organization since 2002.Over 200m people (3.5% of the global population) around the world have benefited from his work directly.
He received ID World – Special Award “ID Talent Award” in 2007 for his excellence in the field of Technology. He received a Presidential Medal for “Persistence in Excellence” and “Tamgah-e-Imtiaz” in 2008 for Public Service.
Luminary: How you started your journey?
Mr. Usman Mobin: I did my bachelor’s in electrical engineering. Just after completing my degree of master’s in computer sciences from prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), USA, I came back to Pakistan and joined National Data Base and Registration Authority (NADRA) as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in 2002. In the year 2015 Federal Govt. appointed me the chairman of NADRA.
Luminary: How you deal with innovation in your organization?
Mr. Usman Mobin: Innovation is very important for an organization like us. There are two types of innovations. Firstly technical innovation which is building something or either cutting edge future oriented. It happened in very specialized environments like USA and UK carrying substantial and financial benefits available for research and development. Secondly, in countries like us you take published work and work how you can improve it. Obviously, it’s not cutting edge and less in cost with lesser effectiveness. What we are working nowadays how we can provide a vast number of service to citizens. How we can improve the service. An example of this we have launched an online system to facilitate citizens.
Luminary: How you differentiate your organization in international level?
Mr. Usman Mobin: There are a number of reasons we differentiate ourselves. People can relate easily to what we say. First of all, we have an end to end experience of our work. We develop and learn the technology rapidly. Pakistan is a classical example in such case. Then our business model is very sustainable. We also transfer complete technology and zero reliance on us after deployment. This is very simple because, for example, a driving license would remain a driving license in the end. You can add security features and checkpoint. This is why we have a greater chance of succeeding.
Luminary: What is the policy of NADRA for employees training and development?
Mr. Usman Mobin: In this area, we have given a substantial degree of freedom to employees where they can select training themselves. They can select location, institute and which part of the world they want training. All they have to do is to demonstrate what solutions they can come up with after the training. What work correspond to shorter and longer goals of the organization. We also send many employees for training to France and the United States to enhance their skills. There is a system of awards for good performers and we have linked incentives with performance and results.
Luminary: What are the future plans of NADRA?
Mr. Usman Mobin: We do have a strategic plan to improve organization and expand internationally. We aim to provide more and more online services and knowledge-based activities. We have a large project in Sudan and another in Nigeria. A passport office in Kenya and soon will start another with Sri Lanka. We are planning to offer complete Identity Management solutions to other countries.
Luminary: Would you like to share your achievements?
Mr. Usman Mobin: I received “ID Talent Award” in 2007 from ID World in recognition of excellence in the technology field. Received “Persistence in Excellence” and “Tamgah-e-Imtiaz” from the president of Pakistan in 2008.
Luminary: What other CEOs do you admire? Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
Mr. Usman Mobin: We had a chairman Ali Hakeem here at NADRA and I really admire him for numerous reason. He helps me a lot in shaping solutions for problems. Taught me an important lesson how to keep your pace. Because of him, I am able to implement a system where high performers and low performers get differentiate automatically. Above all his generosity is what I remember the most. On a global level, I am quite inspired by Bill Gates.
Luminary: How you manage stress, pressures and maintain a work-life balance?
Mr. Usman Mobin: You need to set the balance yourself. I am married person with two sons. We play hockey at home and football. I normally follow a strict routine and spare time for other activities.
Luminary: What is the secret behind your success?
Mr. Usman Mobin: There is no real formula for success. Whatever ALLAH S.W.T desires that happens. In my opinion, one really does what best one can do. The effort is in our hand but results are not. One needs to be hardworking, stay away from all negative things and there must be an honesty of purpose.
Luminary: Your message to young professionals, leaders, and entrepreneurs?
Mr. Usman Mobin: Basically it depends on whichever area you want to pursue but diversity is the key. You have to be diverse but nothing particular. One has to find one’s own way and do what you’re best at. Build upon your career and don’t rush.