- The 15 students worked on different projects in the fields of sustainability, societies, health, education and partnerships.
Dubai – The Master of Innovation Management program is designed for future leaders. We challenge them in the classroom to think exponentially to help the UAE prepare for the next 50 years.
During the semester, the fall 2021 cohort worked hard to identify a complex problem that was also part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and found a solution to the problem. Since the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG) is part of the Principles of Responsible Management Education Network, the focus on the SDGs is very important. Most of the problems the students chose were wicked policy problems – no easily identifiable solutions, multiple stakeholders, and often difficult to define. All the problems required a public-private partnership to be solved (SDG 17).
These 15 students worked on various projects in the following areas:
- Durabilitywaste categorization, e-waste recycling, solar waste recycling and overfishing (SDG 7 – clean energy; Goal 11 – sustainable cities; SDG 12 – responsible consumption and production; SDG 13 – climate action; SDG 14 – living under the water)
- Companies: social cohesion, harassment, poverty reduction (by eliminating corruption and creating jobs), valuing tacit knowledge, emiratization (SDG 1 – end poverty; SDG 3 – health and well-being); SDG 8 – decent work and economic growth)
- Health: Blockchain global vaccine passports, mental health education (SDG 3 – health and well-being)
- Education: find methods to reach school children in less developing countries, manage the gap between the education levels of schools and universities, improve education using technologies such as augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) (SDG 4)
- Partnerships: crisis management for industry Meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions (MICE) (Objective 9 – industry, innovation and infrastructure)
Four students were recognized for their work based on their ability to contribute to the nation, details of their research, feasibility of the solution, and passion for the subject. The program coordinator, Professor Melodena Stephens, who was also the student lecturer, worked with them during the semester. MBRSG uses project-based learning, which gave students access to various workshops, allowing them to critically analyze their problem and explore international best practices. The students made a presentation to an external speaker, making the pitching process more realistic.
First place went to Ms. Maryam Ahmed AlSharif for her project titled “Social Cohesion: Building One Community at a Time”. Maryam is an accountant and head of the Youth Council at the Ministry of Finance. For her project, she focused on her organization, Ferjan Dubai, of which she is the co-founder. She worked on a strategy to expand the project and maintain an engaged community. His plan is to work on one community at a time, extending it to Dubai to create a unique community spirit for the city.
“While enrolling in the MIM-711 Frontiers of Innovation course, I developed the skills to evaluate different dimensions and theories, applying strategic thinking and achieving innovative results,” Maryam said. “Being trained in this course under the umbrella of Innovation Management has given me, as an Emirati, the opportunity to implement strategies by filling the gaps within my community. My project, “Social Cohesion: Building One Community at a Time”, aims to realize the national agenda, which among other things aims to build a cohesive society by establishing a strategy for the Emirati community in Dubai. This project will be implemented among the more than 200 nationalities of the city and will be extended to all communities in the United Arab Emirates, allowing them to live in synergy, tolerance and cohesion.
The second prize was awarded to Mr. Abdulla Alhammadi for his project on solar energy waste recycling. Abdulla is a mechanical engineer who works at DEWA in the mechanical maintenance department of the production division. The goal of his project was to make renewable energy truly carbon-free and sustainable in terms of production and end-of-life. He chose the subject out of a passion for renewable energy and a deep need to protect the environment from climate change. Abdulla says, “Solar PV panels are producing waste at a higher rate than expected with the increasing demand for PV installations, and this is accelerated due to the impact of dirt and dust on PV panels due to weather conditions. This problem, in turn, creates toxic waste from the panels. He hopes to increase awareness of the waste of panels during their installation, furthermore by implementing policies for the purchase, transport, maintenance, collection and disposal of photovoltaic panels in order to establish a circular economy that will create new markets.
Third place went to Ms. Indra Priya Dharsini Thamizhan. Indra has 20 years of experience in the information technology sector, in various geographies and different fields such as insurance, investment banking, commercial banking and retail. She is Project Director in the Middle East and manages digital transformation projects for Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), the world’s largest IT services provider by market capitalization. This experience in IT projects led her to become interested in electronic waste, the fastest growing waste stream in the world. It is critical from a health perspective (highly toxic), sustainable (no proper disposal method, much electronic waste is exported) and economical (recovery of rare earth metals will prevent resource exploitation minerals). Indra says, “The opportunity to do a Masters in Innovation Management at MBRSG will help me learn the framework and develop skills that will eventually support me in managing/developing/creating innovative strategies for organizations”.
Fourth place went to Ms. Aisha Al Ali, who works as an information technology specialist at the Dubai Future Foundation. Aisha has nearly nine years in various government sectors. His project focused on accelerating the transition to an e-learning system in least developed countries. The pandemic has exacerbated the education deficit, especially since many countries lack online education infrastructure and tools. Its strategy focused on strengthening collaboration between the private and public sectors and the role the UAE could play in finding innovative solutions and co-creating the future of humanity in Africa. Aisha says, “The innovation program offered by the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government introduces business methodologies and fosters a culture of innovation to build the region’s capacity to develop effective public policies. The Frontiers of Innovation course helps us improve our research, writing and analytical skills to become better problem solvers and easily tackle complex projects in alignment with government and public policies. Additionally, the program connects us with many professionals and classmates who come from different backgrounds and we work with professors who are industry leaders, providing real-world knowledge through their valuable networks.
Project-based learning enhances critical thinking and future skills. These are indispensable for solving the unknown challenges of tomorrow. MBRSG is one of the first universities to adopt this type of pedagogy in the UAE in the master’s program, as well as the first Arab institution focused on public policy and good governance in the region.
© Press Release 2021