Khaleej Times, the UAE’s first English newspaper, recently organised a one-day conference, where diplomats, thought leaders, decision-makers and CEOs from the biggest conglomerates in the UAE came together.
The Innovate, Inspire, Influence (i3) event hosted panel discussions, interactive sessions and networking opportunities.
Indian politician, diplomat and bureaucrat Shashi Tharoor delivered the keynote address, highlighting the leading role the UAE and India have been playing in promoting innovation and creating an ecosystem that supports creativity and the startup industry.
He said the UAE has emerged as a global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, crediting the widely available capital in the country for fostering a culture of entrepreneurship.
A number of discussions highlighted the role of family-owned businesses and the challenges they face; and how startup CEOs find their way to success, among others.
Nirj Deva DL, senior advisor to the President of Sri Lanka, also gave a glimpse into the future of the port city of Colombo to the audience.
At the close of the event, Shashi Tharoor and Ravi Dhariwal, Advisor to Boards, had an interesting and insightful conversation on innovation.
Tharoor said creativity is not necessarily creating something very new but could be enhancing the quality of an existing product or improving an experience that meet the needs of the customers or society.
Citing an example, he said people in Indian villages could not afford Rs75 shampoo bottles. Retailers then introduced shampoo sachets for Rs5 to reach a wider consumer base. “It was sensed as a market opportunity and that is a very legitimate way to put something forward.”
He also highlighted that with the advancement of technologies, it is becoming easier to use new apps and gadgets, even for the elderly and those who are not tech-savvy.
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