Proximate cause refers to the immediate causes of an event while the ultimate causes are the primary reasons why a given event occurred. The proximate causes are the immediate trigger to a given occurrence while ultimate causes are the underlying reasons that have been provoking a given event to occur. Professor Jared Diamond believed that the ultimate cause of Western civilization’s dominance over others militarily, economically, politically, and culturally was geography. The geographic conditions in Europe demanded that they become innovative as a way of addressing geographic-related problems. It is through their innovative ways that they gained superiority in the military, politics, culture, and economics.
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Innovation played a very critical role in enabling Western culture to be dominant over other cultures around the world. In the West, extreme weather conditions and other geographic factors made it necessary for the people in these regions to be innovative to survive (Carayannis, Kaloudis, & Mariussen, 2008). They had to use technology in agriculture, military, communications, and almost every other sphere in life.
This innovativeness gave them an edge over other cultures around the world. I believe that the conclusions made by Professor Jared were valid and scientifically reasonable. As Lane (2009) says, it is only when the society is faced with a serious threat to their existence that they tend to look for innovative ways of addressing their problems. The Westerners were faced with geographic problems such as extremely low temperatures during winters. This was a threat to their existence.
They had to be innovative to address this problem. A comparative analysis of the geographic conditions in Europe and sub-Sahara Africa shows marked differences. In Africa, geographic factors are very favorable and one can survive without a lot of struggle because of the warm temperatures that rarely go below 10 degrees centigrade (Elias, 2012). That is the complete opposite of what happens in some parts of Europe where the temperature would fall to below -4 degrees centigrade (Diamond, 2005). The industrial development in the West can be considered an ultimate cause of this dominance of Western civilization. The scramble for and partition of various colonies in Africa, the Americas, and Asia may be considered the proximate causes of this civilization.
Innovation and Regional Development
Entrepreneurship and innovation
Lee Kuan Yew argued that his country, Singapore, is not as entrepreneurial as Hong Kong. This thought must have been influenced by the fact that Hong Kong had transformed itself into a global business hub due to the growing number of technology-based companies. He believed that the locals lacked the entrepreneurial spirit that was exhibited in Hong Kong (Suriñach, Moreno, & Vayá, 2007).
A critical analysis of the innovativeness in Singapore and UAE reveals that both countries have been focusing on the development of infrastructure as a way of spurring economic growth. However, it is evident that innovation in the United Arab Emirates is government-driven while in Singapore is driven by individual investors and entrepreneurs. The main impediment to UAE’s innovativeness is the excessive involvement of the government in the economy as an investor (Chew & Gottschalk, 2013).
The government should consider shifting its focus from being more of an investor to be more of a regulator. In Singapore, there is a belief that people often try to avoid risks and this kills innovativeness. They need to learn how to take calculated risks. Malaysia would be a better economy to compare UAE with because of the massive economic growth it has experienced over the recent past.
Global competitive index
In the section above, Singapore and Malaysia have been picked as the appropriate countries that can be compared with the United Arab Emirates. When compared using the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), it is clear that the three countries have registered impressive performance in establishing the basic requirements which include institutions, infrastructure, the macroeconomic environment, health, and primary education. These are basic ingredients that define how innovative a firm can be as it seeks solutions to its local problems in a globalized society (Dolicanin, Randjelovic, & Stojanovic, 2015). When all the indices are put together, then Singapore registers the best score compared to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE comes second while Malaysia follows very closely.
Global competitive index: Innovation
When these two countries are compared specifically in regard to innovation, it is clear that Singapore, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates countries have almost the same score in the index of ‘Ability of scientists and engineers’ (Cooke, Asheim, & Boschma, 2011). This is a sign these three countries have been making investments into these fields as a way of improving their innovativeness. However, it is evident that these countries also differ in various other indices. In terms of capacity for innovation, Malaysia outperforms the three countries at 5.5, Singapore comes second at 5.1, while the United Arab Emirates has the least score of 4.7 (Hogeforster, 2012). In terms of university-industry collaboration in research and development, Singapore registers the best score followed by Malaysia, while the United Arab Emirates comes last.
Hofstede cultural dimensions
It is also possible to classify these three countries, Singapore, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates using the Hofstede cultural dimension model. The first index in this model is power distance where the United Arab Emirates registers the best score followed by Malaysia, while Singapore comes last (Fulford, 2011). In terms of Individualism, Malaysia registers the highest score followed by the United Arab Emirates, while Singapore has the least score. In the measure of masculinity, the United Arab Emirates outperforms the three countries, followed by Singapore while Malaysia comes last. In terms of uncertainty avoidance, Malaysia outscores the three countries followed by the United Arab Emirates while Singapore has the least score (Snyder & Duarte, 2003). Finally, in indulgence, Singapore has the highest score followed by Malaysia. The United Arab Emirates comes last in this score.
UAE’s innovativeness and its implications
The analysis done in the above section shows that although the United Arab Emirates has made significant advances in promoting innovation, it still has a lot more to do given that other countries are performing better. The implication of this analysis is that the government of the United Arab Emirates will need to increase its investment in promoting innovation in the country (Snyder, Nancy, and Deborah Duarte 54).
To achieve the desired innovativeness, the country will need to invest more in higher education. The institutions of higher learning in this country will need to coordinate very closely with the industrial sector as a way of finding local solutions to local problems (Pitsis, 2012). The country should avoid relying on international solutions when handling local problems because some of these problems are unique to this country hence they require local solutions.
To make Dubai Airports Company more innovative, it is important for the management to invest more in employee training. According to Weiss (2011), a firm can only be as innovative as its individual employees. As such, the management may develop a new strategy where its employees are taken through regular training to make them more creative. The management of Dubai Airports Company may also consider developing strategies for attracting and retaining talented employees.
This can be done through improved remuneration and a favorable working environment, especially a communication system. The top management of this company will take a leading responsibility in ensuring that these changes are implemented as desired (Weiss & Legrand, 2011). These managers will need to be assisted by all the employees and other important stakeholders, especially the owners of this firm. The owners will be needed to make approvals for the expenditure. The main resources will be money to pay the trainers and human resources responsible for the training process.
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The board of directors of Dubai Airports Company will need to approve the higher pay for the top talents to ensure that they are retained within the firm. The management of this firm can also consider using seminars that can be organized twice a year where employees will be encouraged to showcase their talents. The seminars may also accommodate employees from other firms. This company can use such forums to identify talents and attract them to this firm. The Gantt chart 1 in the appendix shows these activities and the time within which they should be done.
Individual-level innovation strategies
The universities play a critical role in teaching students to be more innovative. I think this is the case because these institutions make learners more knowledgeable and able to critically analyze environmental problems from a critical perspective. It makes the learners understand various concepts of addressing problems in an innovative manner (Yalcinkaya, 2007). Currently, I believe I have become an innovative individual who knows that solutions to our local problems cannot be imported.
I have a better capacity to find solutions to local problems using locally available resources. Before joining the graduate program, I lacked many social skills because I was unable to transfer some of my academic skills into real-life scenarios. However, I have become more innovative since I joined the graduate program because I can now use my academic knowledge to solve real-life problems. I believe that after completing my course, I will be a better innovator than I am now. The metrics that I will use to measure my level of innovation will be the ability to find local solutions to local problems using locally available resources. The Gantt chart 2 in the appendix shows my action plan and timeline of specific activities I will implement to become more innovative in the future.
Carayannis, E., Kaloudis, A., & Mariussen, A. (2008). Diversity in the Knowledge Economy and Society: Heterogeneity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar.
Chew, E., & Gottschalk, P. (2013). Knowledge Driven Service Innovation and Management: It Strategies for Business Alignment and Value Creation. Hershey, PA: Business Science Reference.
Cooke, P., Asheim, B., & Boschma, R. (2011). Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar Pub.
Diamond, J. (2005). Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York, NY: Norton.
Dolicanin, C., Randjelovic, D., & Stojanovic, B. (2015). Handbook of Research on Democratic Strategies and Citizen-Centered E-Government Services. New York, NY: Springer.
Elias, S. (2012). Origins of Human Innovation and Creativity. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.
Fulford, H. (2011). Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Scotland, Uk 15-16 September 2011. Berlin, Germany: Academic Pub.
Hogeforster, M. (2012). Strategies and Promotion of Innovation in Regional Policies around the Mare Balticum. Norderstedt, Germany: Books on Demand.
Lane, D. (2009, D. (2009). Complexity Perspectives in Innovation and Social Change. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
Pitsis, T. (2012). Handbook of Organizational and Managerial Innovation. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar.
Snyder, N., & Duarte, D. (2003). Strategic Innovation. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons Publishers.
Suriñach, J., Moreno, R., & Vayá, E. (2007). Knowledge Externalities, Innovation Clusters and Regional Development. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar.
Weiss, D., & Legrand, C. (2011). Innovative Intelligence: The Art and Practice of Leading Sustainable Innovation in Your Organization. Mississauga, Ont: John Wiley & Sons.
Weiss, G. (2011). Innovation in Forestry: Territorial and Value Chain Relationships. Walingford, England: CABI/COST.
Yalcinkaya, G. (2007). Understanding the Emergence of Aggregate Level Innovation Diffusion Through Individual Level Adoption Analysis. New York, NY: Cengage.
Gantt chart 1
Gantt chart 2