In collaboration with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and with the participation of teams from 10 private Kuwaiti companies, the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) launched on Wednesday the Innovation Challenge 2018, a unique program designed to develop the human capital within the private sector through science, technology and innovation (STI).Out of the 50 private shareholding companies that applied for the program, 10 were selected after careful evaluation: The National Bank of Kuwait, EQUATE Petrochemicals, Kuwait Finance House, Agility Logistics, Gulf Bank, KAMCO Investment, TabCo Food, Jadeite Group, , Boubyan Bank, and Rasameel Investment. Two of these teams, KAMCO and JADEITE are participating for the first time.
In the inaugural dinner for 2018 Innovation Challenge, KFAS Director General, Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, noted that teams will learn practical knowledge that could be readily applied to their work. The goal is to develop innovative solutions towards challenges within their own companies within the four months.. He reflected on some of the success stories of past Innovation Challenges where participants have been able to translate the outcomes of the training they acquired into the development of new initiatives, demonstrating the power of STI as a tool for business development and growth.
The Innovation Challenge is customized for the private sector in Kuwait. The program utilizes experiential learning methodologies to equip participants with skills and tools to successfully under take innovative approaches to business challenges faced in their work environment, he added.
The Challenge, currently in its fourth year, has developed significantly over past few years, and much of its success can be attributed to the diverse learning modalities, and the use of proven educational approaches in promoting innovative ideas, shifting from traditional business norms, he said.
The Senior Associate Dean, UCLA Anderson School of Management, Alfred E. Osborne, Jr. said “I believe that this kind of partnership – reaching across nations and bringing together the best that academia and business have to offer – is a powerful template for the way in which we can create positive change in our world today. We are grateful for the confidence that KFAS is placing in UCLA – because you are trusting us with the development of your human resources. And however great a nation’s wealth, industrial might, technological prowess or geological resources, its people will always be its most precious asset.”
As a result of previous participation in the program, Boubyan Bank introduced it’s the first interactive teller machine in Kuwait as an innovative service to their clients. They are also one of the 1st banks to establish internal Innovation Center. The program also promoted EQUATE to establish two internal innovation centers which accelerated the promotion of innovation culture within the company.
The program has started in January and will be ending in May of 2018.
The Executive Education Center at the UCLA Anderson Center is a world-renowned institution in the United States, that has traditionally been known for their excellence in capacity building, coaching and training initiatives, including promoting and designing innovation worldwide. The program which is designed and funded by the Foundation, will include workshops and seminars, led by experts from UCLA. Most of the workshops will be held in Kuwait; however, as a part of the program, the teams will attend workshops on UCLA campus and visit high profile companies, in Los Angeles such as Disney and Snapchat. The program aims to advance the knowledge and skills of the participating teams through simulation, comparative studies and distance learning.