Wednesday 27 October 2021
 
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Dr Raymond Khoury

UAE home to prominent innovation districts: report

DUBAI, September 13, 2021

The UAE has developed many innovation centres that provide the required services for entrepreneurs and businesses to innovate, grow, and become successful, a report said.

With businesses and organizations co-located in physical space for complex supply chains, innovation districts can provide flexibility, enable serendipity, and foster innovation for decades to come, according to the report titled “The Future of Innovation Districts” by Arthur D Little (ADL), a leading management consultancy firm.

The publication explains what property owners, municipalities, policymakers, and potential corporate tenants should look for when creating and choosing a world-class Innovation District, elaborating on essential fundamentals and presenting executives with valuable sustainability insights.
 
“How organizations innovate and their location when pursuing new projects have both changed significantly in recent decades due to convergence and disruption,” explained Dr Raymond Khoury, Partner and Technology and Innovation Management Practice Lead at Arthur D. Little Middle East.

“Rather than closed innovation models, more and more companies have begun opting for open approaches involving cross-industry partnerships and engaging ecosystems. This trend has instigated an underlying need for suitable physical locations where innovation can transpire, ultimately leading to the birth of the Innovation District concept.”

Typically located in urban areas, Innovation Districts are focused on driving inter-firm linkages, collaborations, and networks that are enabled and sustained by a wider ecosystem for innovation. They include a wide range of businesses, from startups to large corporates, and are more physically compact than potentially sprawling innovation clusters. Crucially, the Middle East is home to several Innovation Districts that have delivered successful business outcomes.

Prominent examples include Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (DTEC), which has attracted 800 startup companies from more than 70 countries since its establishment in 2015. Managed by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), DTEC runs no fewer than five different programs and events to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, working with many local, regional, and global partners to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

“Innovation is high on the agenda for leaders in both the public and private sectors and hence, for economies across the Middle East. Therefore, the number of existing centres and projects planned for the coming period is welcoming and understandable,” said Ben Thuriaux-Alemán, a Partner in the Technology and Innovation Management Practice of Arthur D. Little United Kingdom who has worked on a number of these initiatives in the Middle East.

“Those that have already demonstrated success boast robust transport connectivity, proximity and density, flexible accommodation, access to talent and innovation services, and a focus on national priorities. The importance of these common characteristics should always be appreciated before establishing new Innovation Districts, as should numerous successful factors before green-lighting development.”

The Future of Innovation Districts examines why unique selling points (USPs), high-quality talent pipelines, occupancy curation, supply chain representation, and a long-term vision for value and wealth creation are all imperative to Innovation Districts’ sustainability, practicality, and success.

The creation of effective technology transfer operations and mixed-use, flexible, and reconfigurable buildings is also discussed, before the viewpoint concludes with a call to action section for particular Innovation District ecosystem players.

“With more executives, university leaders, and local government officials becoming involved in the creation and operational processes, it would be prudent to adopt an articulated focus, promote a world-class proposition, and drive innovation through opportunities creation,” added Dr Khoury.

“Every Innovation District must go above and beyond to surpass traditional business parks and differentiate themselves by accommodating every factor key to success.” – TradeArabia News Service




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