For UAE, Building Innovation Means Fostering Collaboration

For UAE, Building Innovation Means Fostering Collaboration

November 21, 2016 at 01:11pm

Eighty-five percent of UAE business executives said they are making more money from collaborative innovation activities than they did a year earlier, according to the 2016 GE Innovation Barometer. That compares with a global average of 77% and helps explain the buzz surrounding this year’s UAE Innovation Week 2016.

The key word from the above statistic is “collaborative”, as it puts a spotlight on the role of cooperation and partnership in the innovation process.

As has been well documented, innovation is not usually the result of a lone entrepreneur in her lab. Much more often, it’s groups working together, debating priorities and discussing ideas that is at the heart of the creative process that produces innovation.

GE understands this, which is why it is an ongoing supporter of several UAE innovation activities and is a sponsor of the Innovation Live! conference – an official anchor event of UAE Innovation Week. The conference and its engagement platforms bring government and business together to accelerate innovation, encourage partnership and position the UAE as a global center of innovation.

As the UAE’s Innovation Week program reflects, the country has a deep understanding that collaboration, partnership and building networks is part of the innovation process, and that the Innovation Live! conference in Dubai is creating a platform for just these kinds of interactions.

In addition to being an Innovation Live! sponsor, GE is hosting a booth, and Rania Rostom, GE’s Chief Innovation Officer for the Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, is giving a keynote presentation. She is discussing how the “industrial” sector is becoming the “digital industrial” sector with connected, software-defined machines that are responsive and managed using predictive insights.

But equally central to her presentation is the message that this digital industrial ecosystem requires multiple players working together to drive transformation. Large enterprises, SMEs, startups, and academia all play a role because in the interaction among them, they can fuel innovation across countless sectors.

As noted, more than four out of five UAE business executives already understand that collaboration on innovation delivers bottom-line benefits, and events such as Innovation Live!, and other Innovation Week activities, are likely to further build on that sentiment.

The GE stand will feature seven areas that reflect the seven “watercooler challenges” that help focus discussion before, during and after the conference: sustainable energy, cities, transportation, education, healthcare, industrial diversification and startups.

For “Sustainable Energy,” GE is emphasizing its Ecomagination initiative, launched in 2005, which reflects more than US$12 billion in clean technology R&D that is creating some of the most efficient renewable, power generation, and oil & gas technologies in the world.

The “Smart Cities” section focuses on Current by GE, a startup within GE that combines the company’s capabilities in LED lighting, solar energy, energy storage, onsite generation, and electric vehicle infrastructure to deliver a sustainable energy ecosystem.

The booth’s “Transportation for the Future” section includes next-generation GEnx aircraft engines and Evolution locomotives, the most technologically advanced, heavy-haul, diesel-electric train in the world.

For the education theme, the booth’s “Building Skills” section talks about GE’s US$1 billion annual investment in training talent, as well as it’s world’s first Crotonville corporate university, launched in 1956. It also explains how GE is bringing Crotonville courses to the UAE.

For Healthcare, the booth looks at technologies that address cost, quality and access, and uses the world’s first 4D ultrasound system as an example of how technology serves patients.

The “Digital Industrial Diversification” section of the booth focuses on GE’s leadership in this field as a digital industrial company. Examples include GE’s development of Predix, the first cloud-based, open-source, built-for-industry operating system.

For the “Enterprise Ecosystems” theme, the booth reflects GE’s support for startups and SMEs, including its partnership with startup ecosystem accelerator Wamda that has resulted in an engaged conversation with more than 250 MENA-based digital industrial startups.

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