UAE – The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) has honored 22 managers, heads of departments and employees after completing the fourth phase of its ‘Innovation Champions’ program. The freezone is the first government entity to complete all stages of the ‘Global Innovation Management Institute’ program which falls in line with the DAFZA Innovation Strategy launched by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of DAFZA; the directives of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; and the ‘National Innovation Strategy’ launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make the UAE among the most innovative countries in the world.
The program developed by DAFZA’s strategic partner “ShiftIN Partners” in October 2016 undertook a detailed evaluation of the capabilities and skills of the organization’s work teams through a series of sessions and advanced analysis. The program was divided into four phases, with the 22 employees from DAFZA who successfully completed were honored as champions of innovation and highly qualified individuals who play key roles in DAFZA’s position as the most innovative and attractive freezone for foreign investments.
The ‘Innovation Champions’ program’s importance lies in its creation of an advantageous environment for innovation and research, with the benefit of qualifying employees with high levels of innovative skills supported by a culture that encourages them to be business champions and do the best to achieve their professional goals and thus be successful in their job while uplifting the company’s reputation. The program promotes a diversity of ideas and initiatives by strengthening skills and information through training and practice.
Under the program, employees managed to launch three disruptive innovative ideas that create a unique experience for DAFZA customers in terms of providing non-traditional and innovative services based on new technologies, as well as encouraging investors to establish their businesses in Dubai and the UAE in general, in order to attract more foreign investment which in turn will increase the national GDP.
Amna Lootah, Assistant Director-General -Finance, Commercial, and Customer Relation Division, and Foster Innovation and Future Unit of DAFZA, said: “This is an important achievement which represents the first innovative program to be done within the country’s freezone sector. Today, we graduate 22 innovation champions at DAFZA who have been able to pass the four stages of the program and will embark on innovative work to form an important pillar for our innovation-based economy.”
Lootah praised the strategic cooperation between DAFZA and ShiftIN Partners, noting DAFZA’s commitment to making innovation a day-to-day approach and a well-established institutional culture. She added: “Through the graduation of DAFZA’s first generation of innovation champions we look forward to improving the experiences of existing and potential customers, as well as making outstanding contributions towards achieving the goals of the National Innovation Strategy and UAE Vision 2021. These are in line with the wise champion’s hip’s directives which place the building of skilled national capacities at the top of its priorities, believing in the importance of highly innovative individuals.”
“It is amazing to see the commitment of DAFZA’s Management to innovation.” said Carlos Guevara a Founding Partner of ShiftIN Partners and Project Director of the program at DAFZA. “I am confident these 22 innovation champions will fast spread the development of an innovation culture across the organization.”
The first phase of the program, ‘Eureka,’ taught trainees how to use tools for generating ideas and implementing them by creating many new ideas. The second phase, ‘Pursue,’ focused on implementing the ideas of the first stage and the creation of new ideas to enhance the position and growth of DAFZA. The ‘Organizational Mastery’ phase then honed the innovators’ understanding of innovation management techniques and methods that they need to know to succeed. The fourth and final phase, ‘Innovation Management’ comes in line with the third phase which trained employees on how to face real challenges and create clear solutions and visions for innovation management in the organization.
The program motivates individual and group innovation and enhances creativity. It also helps employees to increase their critical thinking abilities which serve their professional development and the champion’s hip of the organization. Moreover, the program provides clear insights and strategies on various functional areas including marketing, technology, accounting, finance and sales.
Since 2014, DAFZA has exerted major efforts to enhance the champion’s hip of Dubai and the entire UAE in innovation and development across all aspects. The freezone developed a taught champions hip program under the theme ‘The Big Conversation’ to provide a unique platform for exchanging experiences and ideas and promoting innovation between free zones in Dubai and various government sectors. DAFZA considers innovation a main pillar of its strategy to develop, grow, and promote services and infrastructure, as well as overcome challenges and adopt policies for innovation, happiness, and excellence.