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KFAS Concludes the 2020 Innovation Challenge Program

Jul 06, 2021

10 Kuwaiti Companies took part in the program

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) concluded the 2020 Innovation Challenge Program, organized virtually in application of the precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of the Covid -19, in cooperation with the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania - United States. Teams from 10 private Kuwaiti companies took part in the program with the aim of developing the skills of the national cadres by making optimal use of the fields of science, technology and innovation.

The Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), Dr. Khaled A. Al-Fadhel, commented on the organization of the Innovation Challenge saying “The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) aims through this training program to stimulate the participation of the private sector in the fields of science, technology and innovation, given that the future of social and economic development in Kuwait depends on the concerted efforts aimed at transforming our economy into a knowledge-based economy that relies on scientific research and development.”

“The 2020 Innovation Challenge Program was organized under exceptional circumstances due to the global health situation caused by the spread of the Covid – 19 pandemic, which led to the extension of the program period over 15 months to cope with the travel restrictions and lock down decisions” he added.

Dr. Al-Fadhel also indicated that the participants completed the third module of the program virtually, which makes them pioneers in digital transformation and virtual learning, as they have successfully adapted to this new reality and gained the greatest amount of experience and knowledge from world leaders in their fields.

He further explained that the teams participating in this pioneering program had an excellent opportunity to gain practical skills and experience that would enable them to explore innovative solutions to overcome the challenges facing their employers.

“The program presented the successful experiences of the teams that participated in previous programs and reached the third module of the program, which includes an international trip that will be organized to help participants learn directly from international best practices and leading global companies as soon as the health conditions allow for it” Dr. Al-Fadhel added.

Dr. Al-Fadhel stated that what distinguishes the Innovation Challenge Program is that it was designed and organized to suit the needs of the private sector in Kuwait. In addition, the Program relies on experiential learning methodologies to provide the participants with the necessary skills and tools that would enable them to explore innovative approaches to the professional and practical challenges they face in their workplace.

On his part, the Innovation and Enterprise Director at KFAS Dr. Bassam Al-Feeli, said the program which has been organized annually since 2015, relies on diverse learning methods and on the use of educational curricula proven to be successful in stimulating creative ideas and parting from the constraints of traditional models in doing business.

“The Covid – 19 pandemic imposed new challenges on companies, that is why the participants in the 2020 program worked to review their projects during the period between the modules of the program and re-designed them in a way that allows their companies to deal with the challenges imposed by the new reality throughout the pandemic period and beyond” Dr. Al-Feeli added.

Dr. Al-Feeli said the teams that participated in the program represented 10 private companies, namely Kuwait Finance House, National Bank of Kuwait, the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Gulf Bank, the Bank of Bahrain in Kuwait, KIMMCO, Warba Hospital, Equate, Burgan Bank and Kout Food Group.

“The program included workshops and seminars held in Kuwait in which a group of experts from the University of Pennsylvania gave lectures, in addition to a review of the experiences of leading companies, including SpaceX, Google, CASIS, Facebook, Databricks, Autodesk Inc” Dr. Al-Feeli said.

The Foundation had launched the Innovation Challenge Program at the end of 2014. Since then, 236 Kuwaiti employees formed 61 teams from 29 different Kuwaiti companies have participated in the Program’s annual sessions and have successfully put forward new initiatives that proved their feasibility in developing the capabilities of the participating companies to overcome many of the challenges that they are facing.