As part of its support to the National Innovation Strategy, which is one the most important visions and key tools to achieve the UAE 2021 vision, Sharjah Tatweer Forum organized its annual ’24 Hours of Provocative Thinking’ event, under the theme ‘Towards an innovation eco-system’.
Held in Ras Al Khaimah, the two-day event attracted a number of decision makers from public and private sectors as well as academic and civil society representatives. The event was supported and sponsored by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).
In a welcome speech at the first session, Mr. Jassem Al Beloushi, Chairman of Sharjah Tatweer Forum, briefed on the role of the forum and the march of innovation in the UAE. He spoke of the support to the national vision through its programs focused on innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, mainly through the Sharjah Leadership Program and the efforts made to integrate programs, goals and vision.
This forum, organised under the directives of the Honorary Chairman of Sharjah Tatweer Forum, H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, sought to encourage industry leaders who are familiar with the concepts of innovation, creativity and development. Al Beloushi highlighted the strategy of Sharjah Tatweer Forum since 2014, which adopted the theme of innovation to raise community awareness on innovation and development of human capital.
On the first day, there was a discussion on the ‘Global Trends in Innovation’, in which Hazem Galal, Partner and the Global Leader for Cities and Local Government Sector, PwC presented the concept of innovation and stressed on its importance in society and the country, and said that the new concept of innovation depends on stimulating creative ideas.
Galal pointed out: that “A comprehensive system of innovation covers all the events in the community, individuals and government as well as public and private sectors. He added that the more innovation prevails, the more positive results will show up.” He said: that “The most important incentive for being innovative is the government adoption of the newest innovation trends. He highlighted a study carried out by (PwC) about innovation in the Middle East, saying that it is in urgent need for encouraging factors and incubator environment in the region.”
HE Badr Al-Olama, Chief Executive Officer of Strata in Abu Dhabi, highlighted his company’s strategy in innovation, being a unique firm region wise. The company is engaged in manufacturing planes spare parts and pointed to the positive results through innovation. At the end of the first day, four working groups were chosen to study and make recommendations in the basic eco-system of innovation areas, namely: education, public and private sectors, research sector, and the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector. The four groups completed their work by the second day. Each group presented the recommendations and initiatives relevant to its sector and identified areas of implementation as well as partnerships between the private and public sectors and civil society.
The list of participants in the Retreat, included prominent leaders from the private and public sector, including Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), American University of Sharjah (AUS), University of Sharjah, Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology, Arab Science & Technology Foundation (ASTF), Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Sharjah Education Council (SEC), Sharjah Media Centre (SMC), Directorate of Town Planning and Survey (DTPS), Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park, Dubai Exports Development Corporation, Abu Dhabi Technology Development Council, Tawazun Holding, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Halcrow, MasterCard, GIBCA Group, innovation 360, Strata, Dana Gas, in addition to Hazem Galal, Leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)’s Global Cities and Local Government Network and Jassem Mohammed Al Beloushi, Chairman of Sharjah Tatweer Forum, Head of Retail Banking Group at Sharjah Islamic Bank, Mohammed Hamdan bin Jarash, Director General of University City of Sharjah and Board Member at Sharjah Tatweer Forum, Suhail Al Kaabi, Director of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) branch in Hamriyah Free Zone and STF Board Member, Saud Alnajjar, Projects Security Manager at Nakheel and STF Board Member.
To achieve a holistic innovation system, all recommendations and ideas of the four groups were taken into consideration for practical implementation. The forum also focused on education as a major component of human innovation across different institutions, including schools and universities, where educational institutions are considered the first major incubator for innovation, bright ideas and creativity.
The groups came up with recommendations and initiatives summarized in 6 in education sectors, 3 in government sectors, 6 in private sector, and 3 in research and studies sector. It is noteworthy that the UAE Federal Government has launched a seven-year, integrated national strategy for innovation. The strategy includes 30 initiatives in its first phase, aiming to bring the UAE to the global front in innovation.
Jassem Al Beloushi explained: that “Sharjah Tatweer Forum over the past few years has a number of important national issues to the country and to the topic of stimulating and promoting innovation. Sharjah Tatweer Forum continues its role by organising events like ’24 Hours of Provocative Thinking’ sponsored by DEWA to discuss innovation and come up with ideas to support it and create the right environment through brainstorming. The results and finding will be published in the final report by PwC that will contain all the recommendations that emerged from the forum, which was held under the auspices of DEWA.”