How is innovation built in the governance process within the Khalifa Fund?
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Innovation is dependent on the senior management. The top managers set examples to be followed to ensure success. Khalifa Fund’s leadership gives the participants an environment built on trust to ensure that employees have an opportunity to express themselves without the fear of being ridiculed.
Khalifa Fund’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer is in fact a learned person. The DCEO is a certified business manager, fraud examiner, and public accountant. Besides, the DCEO has a wide range of experience with various industries. With these qualities, he has the ability to know a creative mind and help individuals develop their innovating minds. Previously, the fund fully adopted the innovative ideas where personnel had to do a research on how government and innovations are related.
The members did research on the ‘Singapore Model, which was a good example of how funding from the government can aid in innovations. The research and expertise of the person in charge led to the development a first class model for Khalifa fund that promoted innovation as it was deemed fit in the current culture. Innovation was built from the first time when the fund started operating. It is organized in such a way that the leaders set an example in serving both the society and community. Thus, there are programs that are suitable for each category of people.
What is the focus of innovation: Current operations? New area? Existing or new? Why?
The focus of innovation is on the current operations that people do daily to earn livelihood and the newly generated ideas. The two startup-programs focus on what people are currently doing. The Khutwa gives aids to ladies of UAE nationality who want to start their businesses at home. From the case, such people probably did not go to school to learn their work, but learnt it from their parents and grandparents at home.
Such businesses mainly incorporate garments, handicrafts, and cottage industries. Bedaya, which is the second program, helps those who want to be business entrepreneurs. Such people have ideas in mind with laid out plans but have no capital to start their projects. The other program named Zedaya gives assistance to those that have existing business, but want to expand and grow.
All these are businesses that already exist and operational only that the people need help. The ideas also help in solving the current issue of unemployment and its impact on society and economy. However, it does not focus on ideas that one has no laid out plan on how to go about or start. The new ideas are developed through trainings organized by Khalifa fund. The trainings are meant to help individuals on how to think from a wider perspective while leaving out the obvious things. The new ideas are developed founded on the fact that they will help meet the social needs of the region.
What would you recommend into the future to ensure Khalifa Fund get innovation and continuous improvements where it is needed?
The managers of the program need to set priorities on what they need to achieve. Besides, the managers need to encourage more people to apply for the fund. In fact, when people come for the interviews, the environment will help them think outside the box. The fund organizers should focus more on the youth since these are individuals with the most creative minds, which might help develop new talents and skills.
Focus should also be placed on all sectors and not simply good businesses. All sectors in the economy have something to offer to the organization and society. Thus, through focusing on all the existing sectors, the organization will be able to get more innovative ideas that could help individuals to re-define their ideas.
The fund should make use of the advances in technology. Using social networks could help the organizers get more innovators who can be screened during the interview process to find serious individuals. It also enables them to get feedbacks, ideas, and opinions from many people.