Management and organisational skills can further advance innovation, says LBS expert
24 November 2016, Dubai, UAE –The UAE has been putting the right policies in place to become one of the most innovative countries in the world says Freek Vermeulen, Term Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School.
“In 2014, the UAE defined the very ambitious target to become one of the world’s most innovative cities in the world in just seven years,” says Dr Vermeulen. This is ambitious, because creating an environment conducive to innovation is a long-term strategy, and something that does not happen overnight.
“What the UAE understood well is that there is no one thing that stimulates innovation: it is not just about government investment, policy, or tax. An innovative business environment requires a range of factors, and that’s what the UAE has been focusing on”, says Dr Vermeulen.
Whereas several decades ago, it was usual for major innovations to be developed in single companies, research shows that today innovations happen within networks of different organisations. These organisations could include firms from different sectors, start-ups and established firms, government agencies and universities. The innovation process often requires greater cooperation between people from different organisations, according to Dr Vermeulen.
“We know from research that now more than before, innovation happens within eco-systems”, say Dr Vermeulen.. “What we also know from research is that, in spite of the -present-day existence of information and communication technology, these processes still mostly happen through face to face contact; that is, people physically meeting, working together, and talking to each other. That’s why it is important that different parties are located close to each other.
“What people sometimes underestimate is the crucial role of business schools in this mix. Successful innovation does not just consist of science and technological invention; it also requires management and organisational skills. Business schools are known to attract talent in this area and provide a crucial knowledge hub and node in the network. UAE has declared to concentrate on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). They would do well to add business schools and education to this mix,” he adds.