Dubai Future Foundation partners up with US multinational software corporation Autodesk to provide financing for entrepreneurs and start-ups in the 3D printing sector in the region. Image Credit: DFF

DUBAI: Dubai has become more innovative over the past year, according to analysis by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Chamber chairman Majid Saif Al Ghurair told delegates at the Innovation Live summit that the emirate had moved up to 15th position in its Innovation Index, which measures key indicators in 22 innovative cities around the world.

“This can partly be attributed to the significant increase in funding and investment in innovation-focused initiatives, and in closer collaboration between the public and the private sector,” he said during his opening address to the summit at Jumeirah Beach Hotel on Monday.

“We see that the local business community has realised the importance of innovation and is now actively working to improve research and development capacities and adopt new technology.

“However our study also found that there is still a need for businesses to adopt long-term innovation strategies as opposed to just seeing such effort as a short-term plan to boost profitability.”

He added that it was critical for firms to focus on innovation that would boost their core competitive advantages and optimise value creation.

“With a stronger appetite for innovation, businesses must now invest more into skills and resources and create a corporate culture that encourages innovation thinking,” he said.

He said innovation was crucial to the UAE’s economy, adding, “Looking at the rapid rate at which technology is evolving, it’s clear that any government or business that is slow to adopt an innovative strategy and solution eventually will find it difficult to meet the demands of society and the future.”

His views were echoed by Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, who said innovation was necessary to help the global economy.

“Globally, and in the last few decades, many economies have been resting on unstable foundations, with explosive growth in digital technology, housing and finance masking some really long-term weaknesses,” she said.

“The resulting decline in the real incomes of ordinary workers, the squeeze of the middle class and downward pressures on education, health care, research and infrastructure affected everything needed for the progress of the global economy.”

Government had a key role to play in fostering an entrepreneurial culture, ensuring fairness and protecting key sectors, she said.

“The true choice in innovation is not between government and no government involvement,” she added, “but about the right type of government contribution, supporting individuals and businesses prepared to take risks and innovate.”

She highlighted the UAE’s Innovation Strategy launched two years ago by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Describing innovation as a “moral obligation”, she said, “The UAE by its very nature is an innovative country. This principle of doing things better with less, doing things better by doing it differently, is very much part of our core DNA.

“2021 will mark the golden jubilee of our federation, and few countries — very few indeed — could have taken arid ground and transformed it in less than half a human lifespan.

“We have shown that we have the vitality and the drive to take a dream and make it simultaneously solid, dynamic and impressive.”


10 steps to successful innovation

Silicon Valley venture capitalist, author and former Apple chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki revealed his top 10 tips for achieving innovative goals in his lively keynote address to Innovation Live.

It speaks to his sense of humour that the list is 11 items long.

1. Make meaning — change the world

2. Make mantra — sum up your goals in two or three words.

3. Jump to the next curve — find new techniques, new products, new markets.

4. Roll the DICEE — make sure your product is Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Empowering and Entertaining.

5. Don’t worry, be crappy — don’t aim for perfection at launch, get the product out.

6. Let 100 flowers blossom — if people you didn’t target buy your product for a purpose you didn’t intend, don’t argue, just take the money.

7. Polarise people — some will love your idea, some will hate it, and both are better than being indifferent to it.

8. Churn, baby, churn — constantly improve your products.

9. Niche thyself — and the niche should be producing something unique and of value.

10. Follow the Rule — learn to pitch with 10 slides, in 20 minutes, using 30-point fonts.

11. Don’t let the clowns grind you down.