Welcome to Kernel Innovation
While innovation is generally understood as the introduction of a new product, innovation is defined as: “the embodiment, combination or synthesis of knowledge into valued new products, systems or services that can fulfill an actual need”. In other words, innovation is a product of creative thinking that is transformable into applications or solutions, and can respond to new challenges or unmet needs. Innovation promotes the need for constant change and renewal, and since change is often resisted, appropriate preparations to adopt the needed innovation together with more investments and a supportive leadership is a must. Moreover, this must be addressed as part of the overall management dynamics, so as to ensure an innovative mindset could be installed. Hence, “Innovation management”; the process of managing innovatively, is called for today as an essential cornerstone for nourishing both personal and organizational innovation, and ultimately survival across all sectors. Thus, adopting a balanced innovation between the process and product innovation into an organisation’s policies and models of operations is an acknowledgement to a continuous, responsive and successful institution. It improves employees’ engagement and initiative, allows the organization to respond to challenges more effectively and use its institutional collective creativity to introduce new systems, products or services; ultimately leading to increased customer satisfaction and sustained growth.
A developed innovative mindset together with knowledge and enhanced skills, contribute to the Economic success. Nowadays the growing value of knowledge and innovation is being recognized and the world is embracing the concept of “Knowledge Economy”. This concept identifies knowledge as a major form of capital and one of most valuable resources globally. Emphasis has been made regarding the link between knowledge and innovation, both in products and services. In fact, the World Bank has developed the most widely used quantification of Knowledge Economy; the Knowledge Economy Index (KEI). The KEI is an aggregate expressing countries’ readiness to compete in the Knowledge Economy; it represents quantifications of four pillars:
- Economic Incentive and Institutional Regime.
- Innovation and Technological Adoption
- Education and Training
- Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Infrastructure
A deeper look into our region reveals that the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) countries are adopting the concept, and promoting a regional shift from the currently dominant “oil economy” into the notion of “knowledge economy”. In 2012, GCC countries were ranked between 42 and 64 on the KEI ranking, reaching above the world average and significantly above the score of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Yet, in the KEI ranking for the Innovation pillar alone, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia ranked the lowest at 4.61 and 4.14 respectively in comparison with the World average at 7.72, while the MENA average at 6.14, and the UAE and Qatar scoring slightly above the MENA average. Studies have revealed that the reason behind this lies in the fact that the current educational systems do not prepare the nationals adequately to engage actively in a Knowledge Economy and the synthesis of innovation-which requires skills set related to creative thinking, analysis, and of course an innovative drive.