Hasan AlMatrouk, Youssef AlHaroon, Salma Al Qatami, Amal Al Duwaisan, Basma Al Hasan, Mishari Al Essa, Mohammed Al Deehani, Husain AlShaiji, Ali AlMatrouk

The 2018 Innovation Challenge was a partnership between KFAS (Kuwait Foundation for Applied Sciences) and UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) Anderson School of Management to provide a curriculum to further the vision and mission for 10 Kuwaiti companies who hope to change the landscape of their individual industries. Out of dozens of Kuwaiti companies who applied and interviewed for the opportunity to be taught and mentored by the top minds of the academic and business world, only 10 were selected. These 10 Kuwaiti organizations, and the individuals representing them, sought to apply and implement innovation in order to create value and change in their respected industries; and ultimately Kuwait. The teams comprised of a diverse group of individuals who were chosen to represent their organizations and Kuwait. A four-month long journey began in Kuwait and ended in Los Angeles, California at UCLA. It was through mentorship and coaching that better prepared these organizations for a final presentation for their benefactors to share what they have learned and how they will use it in the future of these organizations.

Great leadership was shown by the KFAS and UCLA teams, though teamwork is what ultimately made the experience what it truly was and is. The teamwork shown within the teams were second to none, but the most valuable was the teamwork shown by the teams among the other teams. At first glance, the program may have seemed as if it were a competition of sorts, starting with an application and interview process, being selected, working on team projects, and being among industry competitors. Yet, it was not a competition but a challenge. A challenge for the teams and the organizations they represent to not only innovate but collaborate. The collaboration between teams could not go unnoticed, especially between Jadeite Group and NBK (National Bank of Kuwait). From the very beginning of the program, synergy was fostered between the two teams, and continued even after the program has ended. Ultimately, the individual teams could not have met or even exceeded results if it were not for the feedback and constructive criticism provided, or the brainstorming of ideas from those outside of a particular industry, or a potential customer’s point of view. NBK and Jadeite Group fed of each other’s ideas, built off each other’s feedback, and synergized in a collective effort to not just implement innovation for the betterment of their industries, but for Kuwait as a whole. This unified effort helped create their 2018 Innovation Challenge projects, and through collaboration in the future it will help bring these projects into fruition.

Innovation is not just about changing a particular product or service for a customer, company, or industry. It is about changing it for the betterment for all, and this cannot be done without synergy on all levels. KFAS and UCLA Anderson School of Management collaborated to provide an opportunity for these organizations in Kuwait. Through their example and lead, 10 Kuwaiti organizations and the individuals representing them have a new appreciation for innovation, and collaboration.