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“Businesses of the Future” Forum Calls for Instilling Culture of Inclusion & Innovation to Bolster Businesses Sustainability Agenda in Technological Revolution Era

In her opening speech to the “Inclusion, Innovation, & Sustainability: Businesses of The Future” Forum, Her Excellency Dr. Raja Al Gurg, President of Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC), underlined that businesses, in the future, are required to keep abreast of global changes, and to get ready for a qualitative stage of sustainability-based business practice.

Dr. Al Gurg pointed out that the future of businesses is based on key pillars, including innovation, inclusion, sustainability, and utilization of the technological revolution in serving the institutional goals.

“Traditional business models are no longer valid for businesses willing to strengthen their competitiveness. To be more specific, businesses, that are not planning to develop and keep pace with innovation, will lose their position in the future business community,” she noted.

Al Gurg further continued: “The UAE constitutes an optimal global model for adopting future strategies based on innovation and sustainability. The diverse initiatives launched by the UAE Government are playing a key role in stimulating the private sector to adopt practices of sophisticated and modern businesses, thus enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector, which is characterized by its diversity in human resources, cultures, services, international expertise, gender-parity and implementation of the best sustainability practices.”

“Our country has made great strides in the field of innovation, inclusion, and sustainability. And time has come for the private sector to set its priorities, to look confidently into the future and adopt an agenda focusing on inclusion, innovation, and sustainability of its strategies and operational plans,” she underlined.

Under the theme “Balance for Better”, the forum was organized by the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC) jointly with the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) and the United Nations (UN).

The forum also witnessed the launch of the book “Balance for Better”, which showcases and celebrates the various narratives from the interviews held with women leaders, and panel discussions that took place as part of the UOWD-DBWC-UN Women and Leadership Research since 2015.

All the interviews focused on exploring how to build a gender-balanced world, with specific reference to the UAE while building on universal best practices.

23 men and women participated in the book from the previous women and leadership series sessions as well as the Best Practices forums hosted in 2016 and 2017. They represent different industries, such as Government, education, medical technology, banking and finance, legal, agriculture, high technology industries, and industrial sectors.

For her part, Professor Payyazhi Jayashree, Associate Dean (Education) – the University of Wollongong in Dubai, said: “The primary motivation behind the launch of a series of women and leadership research, and Best Practices forums was to transform researches into practice, so as to enhance the interaction of students, strategic planners, and decision-makers. This will lead to building and developing leadership capabilities, and strengthening the ability to address challenges as well.”

“I hope that these stories, associated with institutional frameworks, will enable everyone to build-his/her-own concepts and become change agents to resume the growth path towards more integrated and sustainable societies,” she added.

In his speech on behalf of UOWD President Prof. Mohamed Salem, Mr. Geoff Drummond, Chief Operating Officer at University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), said: “For societies that are forward-facing and committed to sustainability, human development in its fullest sense can only be achieved when values of inclusivity underpin its institutions and pervade its leadership. The instances of exemplary and inspirational leadership offered by this book should go a long way to transforming our awareness of the critical impact of “inclusivity” for a sustainable future.”

More than 200 men and women attended the forum, which is a continuation of a series of “Women in Leadership” seminars initiated in 2015 collaboratively with UOWD, the UN, and with an endorsement from Her Excellency Dr. Raja Al Gurg, President of the Dubai Business Women Council (DBWC). The UOWD- DBWC – UN forum was initiated as part of an NRF funded research, led by Professor Payyazhi Jayashree.

Discussions were held on the ability of businesses to adapt to technological changes and to remain fully committed towards all stakeholders, with an emphasis on adopting an integrated and holistic approach for innovation to face challenges. This approach is based on containment, cooperation, openness and exchange of experiences and partnerships.

The panel discussion comprised of Susan Jain, CMO at IBM Middle East & Africa, Asif Raza, Head of CEEMEA Corporate Banking - J.P. Morgan, Dr. Zeina Khouri Stevens, Chief Clinical Executive -  Clemenceau Medical Center – Dubai. The session was moderated by Professor Payyazhi Jayashree, Associate Dean (Education), the University of Wollongong in Dubai.

The panelists highlighted the importance of integrating all employees in the institutional development process, irrespective of their thoughts, ages, and experiences.

They also underlined that innovation is the optimal investment in the future to improve services and operations, reduce costs, increase profits, enhance productivity and reinforce businesses reputation before their clients.

Additionally, the discussions shed more light on the significance of integrating the human element with technological advancement to come up with sustainable innovation.

This innovation would help achieve developmental goals and boost the role of women in the business environment since women are an essential leadership component in the businesses cycle integrated system.

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