The UAE is on track to becoming one of the most innovative countries in the world, says Freek Vermeulen, Term Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School. “In 2014, the UAE defined the very ambitious target to become one of the world’s most innovative cities in the world in just seven years,” says Dr. Vermeulen. This is ambitious, because creating an environment conducive to innovation is a long-term strategy, and something that does not happen overnight.
“What the UAE understood well is that there is no one thing that stimulates innovation: it is not just about government investment, policy, or tax. An innovative business environment requires a range of factors, and that’s what the UAE has been focusing on,” says Dr. Vermeulen.
“We know from research that now more than before, innovation happens within eco-systems,” explained Dr. Vermeulen. “What we also know from research is that, in spite of the -present-day existence of information and communication technology, these processes still mostly happen through face to face contact; that is, people physically meeting, working together, and talking to each other. That’s why it is important that different parties are located close to each other.”
Dr. Vermeulen believes that the UAE’s push towards making its economy knowledge based will play a pivotal role in the actualization of its ambition to become one of the most innovative nations in the world. “Successful innovation does not just consist of science and technological invention – it also requires management and organizational skills. Business schools are known to attract talent in this area and provide a crucial knowledge hub and node in the network.”