Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) celebrated the graduation of 14 prominent female Emirati leaders from its inaugural Innovative Leaders Programme in the United Kingdom.
The programme was launched under the patronage of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the UAE Gender Balance Council, President of Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) and wife of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and UAE Minister of Presidential Affairs, and hosted in collaboration with the distinguished Ashridge-Hult International Business School.
In line with the vision of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to promote a culture of innovation across the country, the Innovative Leaders Programme was developed to help participants transform their leadership approach through experimental and out-of-the-box thinking.
The eight-day programme followed an experiential and interactive learning process – learn, disrupt, apply and integrate, through insight sessions, guest speaker presentations, organisational visits, strategic challenge projects, coaching and networking.
The graduation ceremony was attended by Mona Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board of DWE, Sulaiman Al Mazroui, UAE Ambassador to the UK, and Bjorn Bengtsson, President of Ashridge Executive Education Business School.
Sheikha Manal, said: "We are living in an era of unprecedented change, innovation and opportunity – opportunity to tap into our creativity and break down old ways of thinking, see solutions to challenges rather than obstacles, and build on past achievements to create a better tomorrow. In line with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s pioneering vision for the future, this program has equipped talented female Emirati leaders, who are already driving change across various sectors in the UAE, with the skills and capabilities to help take their organisations and teams to the next level by leveraging disruptive innovation to the advantage of our nation as a whole."
"The participants in this programme are a prime example of everything the UAE and Dubai Women Establishment is striving to achieve, through providing Emirati women with the tools they need to chart their own future and turn vision into action. We are very proud of what these remarkable women have achieved over the past week, and look forward to seeing what they do next," Sheikha Manal added.
During a speech delivered at the ceremony, HE Mona Ghanem Al Marri, Chairperson and Managing Director of DWE, said: "Further developing the capabilities of women leaders is a top national priority, and initiatives like the Innovative Leaders Program play a key role in making that happen.
The Innovative Leaders Program has emerged from Dubai Women Establishment’s relentless efforts, under the leadership of Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to advance the leadership capabilities of Emirati women and enhance their contribution to the nation’s socio-economic development."
"We want to equip female leaders with the tools and skills to help Dubai and the UAE make the inconceivable conceivable, and the impossible possible. By nurturing a culture of disruptive innovation, our leaders can create a paradigm shift in the way their organisations operate and respond to challenges, now and in the future. I am so proud to congratulate each of our graduates.
I am sure that the program’s forward-looking approach will help them to achieve extraordinary things," she concluded.
Sulaiman Al Mazroui, said: "Dubai Women Establishment’s collaboration with Ashridge – Hult International Business School on this leading programme, comes as part of the UAE’s ongoing efforts to enhance the role of female leaders and strengthen the capabilities of Emirati women. The programme will empower this generation of female leaders to harness innovation across their organisations and serve UAE society."
Bjorn Bengtsson, added: "Our hope is that this programme has challenged the thinking of our participants, and further prepared them to lead effectively in the complex world we live in; and to achieve the extraordinary for themselves, their teams, their organisations and the UAE."
Throughout the programme, participants were engaged in interactive learning sessions from leading Ashridge faculty members and thought leaders including Emma Mulqueeny OBE, founder of Rewired State and Young Rewired State, a Commissioner for the Speaker’s Commission on Digital Democracy and a Google Fellow. Emma led a session about how she integrates work and life as a mother of two young children, and how the UK is using technology to engage communities and encourage people of all ages to vote.
Jane Marsh, Group People and Culture Director at Innocent Drinks, presented a case study on how Innocent Drinks have leveraged high levels of engagement and fun in the workplace.
During the programme, participants were involved in organisational visits to multinational technology company, Google, and innovation foundation, Nesta. The participants toured the UK Google office and met with the team, gaining insight into how Google operates.
Through an interactive session on innovating the Google way with Head of Behavioural Innovation at The Google Digital Academy, Sam Dickinson, the participants also learnt about how creative thinking and innovative behaviours are incorporated into everything the company does, and explored ideas for harnessing disruptive innovation across their own teams and organisations.
The visit to Nesta featured an interactive presentation from the team about what the company does with people, organisations and governments around the world. Participants also benefited from a session led by Brenton Caffin, Executive Director, Global Innovation Partnerships at Nesta, about how disruptive innovation and exponential thinking is being adopted throughout the company, and can be applied to organisations across the globe.
During the programme, working groups were challenged to develop their ideas on how to increase the number of women voters in Federal National Council elections, by using disruptive innovation to change the perceptions of society around women voters; and how to enhance work-life integration for working women.
Each of the topics covered throughout the program supported these two strategic challenge projects.
The working groups are set to submit their proposals to DWE by May 23rd, which will be evaluated and presented to the relevant UAE leaders.