In the UAE, innovation is treated with utmost seriousness by both the private sector and the government. The country recognizes innovation as one factor that is pertinent to any developing nation. The culture of innovation is not a recent one; it has been cultivated for years in the UAE. The country approaches it as a factor that can increase the competitiveness of the UAE in the industrial sector. The inception of the UAE in 1971 was itself an innovation of a country made up of minds that were creative and had a lifelong observation of the country years from its founding. Indeed, one of the pillars of the nation was to build on innovation with a view of making an economic block which had more job opportunities and economic growth. The social, financial status of the country during its founding was not very profound, and the levels of poverty were very high.
The country, however, understood that they had adequate resources to fight poverty and go over the rising levels of poverty. The main vision of the country was to ensure that all resources were effectively utilized starting from oil extraction, farming, and business. Innovation was however not prevalent due to low levels of education poor skills among technocrats and reduced competitiveness in business owing to the unfriendly policies that existed before the founding of the country. The leadership of the UAE was however concerned about improving the business environment. They thus noted a thriving private sector whose influence was not that big as it lacked political support ant a good environment to conduct business (Uaeinnovates.gov.ae, 2018). Therefore, the leadership had to take steps towards finding a way to maneuver in the business and in general, the economic sector. Talks were held between the leadership and the private sector became the birth of innovation in the country.
Education, research, technology, and innovation were seen as the most resilient activities that could improve the landscape of the country in the economic sector. There were however very little mechanisms that could be used to grow the four identified pillars. With the support of the private sector, the government came up with scores of mechanisms that could be used to fight the roaming menace of incompetence and slowed down economic development. The first objective laid down was to attract global innovative talent, to benchmark on their achievements in education, research, , and technology (Al-Khouri, 2012). Global talents were distinctly identified and welcomed to the UAE as a primary destination where they could invest and grow themselves. The government also sponsored educated youths from the country such that they could access the more training and professionalism in developed countries like the USA and the United Kingdom. The scholarships were made on a rotational basis to ensure that the wind of innovation blew across every corner of the UAE. Consequently, professionalism increased and more scholars were witnessed. The move was also characteristic of increased vocational training, the formation of higher education training institutions and the development of more research centers in the country.
The birth of innovation in the country came with a different definition that reflected a national touch and relationship to the term. According to the UAE cabinet, the UAE has carried on the definition since the country decided to concentrate on innovation. The cabinet defines innovation as, "the aspiration of individuals, private institutions, and governments to achieve development by generating creative ideas and introducing new products, services, and operations that improve the overall quality of life" (UAE Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, 2015). The definition was adopted by the country so that it reflected the national interest in strive for excellence in innovation with a view to creating more employment opportunities. The primary concentration is the improvement of life under cooperation by various arms of government and the citizens of the UAE. Innovation in the UAE is, therefore, a conclusion of efforts by various stakeholders and individuals the main pressure coming from the government.
Key Constituents of innovation in the UAE
The UAE recognizes seven main vital components of innovation which are knowledge and technology, infrastructure, a competitive environment, funding and investment, human capital and research, institutions and regulation of the environment and lastly, the molding of innovative products and services. The main key component, however, is knowledge and technology (Al-Ansari, Pervan & Xu, 2013). Knowledge is recognized as the building block of innovation in the UAE. The knowledge considered in the UAE is more of applicable knowledge and skills. The education mechanism in the country is, therefore, less of theoretical and more of technical. Educations institutions are expected to teach knowledge that is skill based such that students from these institutions can execute their skills once they are out of school (Uaeinnovates.gov.ae, 2018). Technology is considered alongside knowledge since it is from the experience that one can cope with technology in their area of expertise. In the UAE thus, education programs are more of skill based. For instance, a graduate from a school of engineering is expected to pursue their course even at the workplace where they can expedite their expertise.
Infrastructure is the other component of innovation considered. Infrastructure in the UAE is viewed as a catalyst for innovation. The country has a heavy network of roads, railways and water and air transport. The network of infrastructure enhances commuting, movement of good and technological materials and thus, it is considered a high pillar of innovation (Al-Khouri, 2012). Infrastructure then leads to a competitive environment since organizations and individuals can commute easily undertake their duties and create a competitive environment where every firm and individuals want to outdo the other, a condition that has over time led to more inventions being made.
Institutions are another factor that is considered as pertinent to innovation in the UAE. The government upholds social and economic institutions by providing mechanisms of solving disputes, channeling challenges and addressing them and also follows up to ensure that they execute their mandate as stipulated (Gackstatter, Kotzemir & Meissner, 2014). Lastly, the government appreciates innovative products and services and often offers rewards to citizens and individuals who create innovative goods and services. In conclusion, the components of innovation described by the UAE are all inclusive which means that the society is committed to ensuring that innovation is even throughout the county.
On its side, the government and the private sector are expected to sponsor funding and create a good environment for investment. The government supports the private sector and individuals in many financial related deals which has increased the availability of loans and funding for innovators and inventors in myriad ways. Beyond this, human capital and research are considered as components of innovation as they are the core drivers. The welfare of the human capital is assured by the providence of quality medical care and providence of basic amenities to those who cannot afford (Al-Khouri, 2012). The human factor in the UAE is therefore treated with ultimate seriousness. There are very few disease outbreaks and human threatening occurrences that are witnessed in the UAE which explains the reason as to why innovation is very high in the country.
Sustainability of Innovation in UAE
The main purpose of innovation in the UAE is to create a sustainable environment for prosperity. Sustainability is a key factor that is inscribed in the soul of every individual in the country and also checked by the government. As at now, the state has achieved concerning industrialization in such an effective manner. The sustainability of innovation in the industrial sector is heavily checked by the government where control mechanisms against overexploitation of minerals are enhanced. Before the government approves an industrial innovation, there are compliance issues that need to be fulfilled by any new technology. First, the technology must satisfy government agencies that it does not place the lives of people at risk (Uaeinnovates.gov.ae, 2018). Many innovations regarding mining of petroleum go down in record as having been ruled out by the government after being evaluated and found to have some lifelong negative impacts on the people. Secondly, use of renewable energy is highly encouraged. The method of renewable energy for any innovative technology is encouraged since the government believes in leaving a healthy environment for the future.
Abu Dhabi is the renowned cities in the world that has an upbeat waste management technology. The technology is used in the collection of wastes throughout the country in a bid to ensure that citizens have access to a healthy environment. Constructions and developments are also heavily controlled in a bid to develop cities that are neat and where people can receive in a cosmopolitan free of overpopulation (Gackstatter, Kotzemir & Meissner, 2014). The Green technology has also been effectively rolled out in the country with a view of sustainable food production. The Green technology is controlled by legislation such that the country has enough for intake and supplies. Until now the UAE is rated as one among the top suppliers of green products owing to their well rolled out sustainable food production mechanism.
Other sustainability activities being rolled out by the country is the launch of an oil reservoir unit, development of a sustainable telecommunication network, development of a modern research center to counter changes in the environment among others (Al-Ansari, Pervan & Xu, 2013). The sustainability of the country is therefore top notch and provides a prototype on which other nations should learn from.
Ranking Index of UAE
As per the 2016 global innovation raking scale, the UAE appears as the 41st most innovative country in the globe. The country which was nowhere to be ranked a decade ago records a good track record of improvement in innovation. Throughout the years, UAE has shown a progressive rise in its global rankings. The recent rise in the global innovation index only shows a country that is on the verge of improving its innovation ability in such a drastic manner (Gackstatter, Kotzemir & Meissner, 2014). The country's ranking has shown a steady rise, from once a non-innovative nation to a high performing innovative power that has the ability to overcome the renowned world superpowers like the United States. The improvements in the index results are attributed to the country's concentration on sustainability for every innovation that is initiated.
Responding to the rise in the global rankings, the country's minister for economy quoted that the country is yet to reach its desired innovation levels. The central role of the country even when it climbs the ladder of innovation is not to look an innovative country. Rather, the country has a lifelong goal of improving all sectors of the economy (Uaeinnovates.gov.ae, 2018). Except for energy production, other factors that place the country in the top echelon is the investment in food security in an innovative way and also enhancing innovative technology. The rankings are done in 2016 compared all sectors of the economy and not in a single sector fie the UAE record a drop in innovation (Saleh, 2018). Major changes have been experienced in the manner in which innovations that have an impact on the country are managed, the rate of diffusion of knowledge concerning a...
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