As a part of the “UAE Innovation Week,” the Ministry of Interior has organized a lecture on the obstacles to innovation in governmental institutions, which was attended by a number of staff members from the Ministry’s various departments and centers. The lecture, which was held at the Police Departments Complex in Abu Dhabi, was presented by Philip Rice, Management Consultant at PA Consulting Group, a consultancy specializing in management consulting, technology and innovation,.

Philip Rice stressed that institutions that champion a culture of innovation are best positioned to achieve development and growth, and are the most successful in materializing their efforts, guided by a strong institutional leadership, which supports and encourages innovation.

He said: “Excellent innovators ensure that creativity is a shared process, not an isolated activity. However, many institutions still consider innovation as the responsibility of R&D department, which in turn, would highly limit their ability to identify and develop strong ideas with sector-transforming potentials.” He also noted that most institutions struggle when it comes to innovation, because they focus primarily on future competitiveness and profitability.

Adding further, Rice said: “Leadership and innovation go hand in hand, and constitute a portal towards growth, development, and prosperity, whenever the proper business environment and the necessary conditions are met. They are some of the most important and promising components of modern economy, and of all world economies. Innovative projects are actively participating in achieving a comprehensive and sustainable economic and social development.”

He stressed the importance of promoting entrepreneurship in a number of fields, including Arab visions and strategies, and hailed the prominent economic growth in the UAE. “The UAE has achieved a leading position among world countries in harnessing innovation for development purposes in the framework of the “UAE Vision 2021”. This vision stipulates the need to diversify the economy; boost knowledge, competitiveness, and efficiency; promote transparency; and commit to excellence and innovation; based on  a state-of-the-art infrastructure, creative private sector, and supportive economic policies, which stimulate the private sector, paired with laws, legislations and mechanisms to protect investments and cater to  the needs of society, towards achieving prosperity and wellbeing,” he said.

Mr. Rice called for promoting and instilling the culture of innovation and leadership by establishing national strategies for innovation and leadership that include the public, private, and academic sectors, as well as the civil society, and will help to achieve a quantum leap in economic and social development. He also stressed the importance of nurturing and fully supporting innovative individuals, by building an innovation ecosystem in various sectors in coordination with the concerned entities.

He also cited the example of global companies, which increasingly depended on “buying” existing innovations and products to maintain competitiveness, saying that this is considered a high-risk fraud. He emphasized that to achieve success in innovation, companies need to champion a culture that can understand and effectively nurture innovation.

The lecturer also shed the light on the obstacles to innovation within institutions, which include fear of investment; lack of a clear innovation strategy; lack of a will to invest; and wrong returns on investment (RoI).

“There is still a significant number of CEOs who refuse to invest in projects that do not guarantee strong returns on investment,” he continued, “However, strict spending limitations are actually limiting  future growth, by preventing potential innovative ideas from reaching the market. Innovation needs bold and brave measures.”

Rice pointed out that a number of institutions use the term ‘Innovation’ to describe different things, and are all talk, no action.  This proves that many of them lack a clear innovation strategy – which may lead to wasted resources and energy. “We need logical ideas that can be actually be executed or implemented. If you wish to achieve sustainability, you should follow a clear strategy, in order to accommodate all approaches.”

Towards the end of the lecture, the floor was opened for Q&A’s about the subject of the lecture, which witnessed a significant turnout of the Ministry’s staff members.
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