Dubai Women Establishment concludes Innovative Leaders Programme

DUBAI, 29th April, 2018 (WAM) — Dubai Women Establishment, DWE, has successfully concluded the second edition of its Innovative Leaders Programme, hosted in collaboration with the distinguished Ashridge-Hult International Business School in the United Kingdom. The programme was launched in 2017 under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of DWE and wife of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

Sixteen female prominent Emirati leaders have completed the programme, which was developed to support the UAE’s vision of fostering a culture of innovation across the country, by helping women to transform their leadership approach through experimental and out-of-the-box thinking.

The eight-day programme followed an interactive learning process – learn, disrupt, apply and integrate, through insight sessions, guest speaker presentations, organisational visits, strategic challenge projects, coaching and networking. The four key themes of the programme included agile disruptive innovation leadership, creating a culture of experimentation, leading disruptive innovation processes and decision-making at pace in uncertainty.


The programme was concluded with a ‘closing circle’ session attended by Mona Al Marri, Chairperson of the Board of DWE, Bjorn Bengtsson, President of Ashridge Executive Education Business School, and Sultana Saif, Corporate Director of Development and Research at DWE.

Sheikha Manal highlighted that the UAE has made truly remarkable strides in strengthening the influence of women and their contribution to society, adding, “Today, Emirati women are highly educated, skilled and empowered partners in the development of our nation and its continued prosperity, and have the opportunities they need to grow and succeed. This is thanks to the continuous support they receive from the UAE’s wise leadership, who are committed to ensuring that Emirati women have the necessary tools to excel across all sectors and take on decision-making positions.”

Sheikha Manal added, “This transformative programme supports the UAE’s innovation objectives, which emphasise innovation as a necessity, rather than an option, for all institutions to unlock the future and achieve new heights of success. Innovation has become such an integral part of the UAE’s vision, and a key element of government work and policies, which paves the way towards positioning the UAE as one of the world’s most innovative countries by 2021, in line with the National Innovation Strategy.”

Commenting on the successful conclusion of the second Innovative Leaders Programme, Mona Al Marri said, “The positive response to the programme from female leaders and UAE institutions reflects the commitment and aspirations of Emirati women to enhance their capabilities and pursue successful careers. Having more female leaders capable of driving the UAE’s innovation culture forward supports the country’s success in all aspects and strengthens its position globally, which is why the Innovative Leaders Programme was established.”

She added, “The programme is a practical example of the priorities set out in DWE’s strategic plan 2017-2021. These include developing and implementing programmes that enhance the participation of Emirati women across all sectors, establishing strategic partnerships across the public and private sectors to realise change for women in the UAE, and strengthening cooperation with international academic institutions to develop women’s leadership capabilities. This in turn enhances the participation of Emirati women in establishing creative work environments, enhancing productivity and encouraging a strong team spirit.”

Bjorn Bengtsson said, “Through programmes like this, Ashridge-Hult International Business School is helping global leaders be the best they can be in an increasingly complex environment. Innovation is at the top of the UAE government’s and senior executives’ agenda, and Ashridge is working closely with Dubai Women Establishment to further enhance the innovation leadership skills of government leaders. Innovation is about exploring the unknown, pushing boundaries and creating new opportunities, so there often is no roadmap, which makes leading innovation hard. People, not processes, make innovation happen, so honing leadership skills, as well as creating the right vision, opportunity and support for employees to innovate, is more important than ever.”

Sultana Saif, Corporate Director of Development and Research at DWE, and Project Manager of the Innovative Leaders Programme, said, “The programme provides an important opportunity for female Emirati leaders to develop effective innovation leadership skills and allows them to learn about the challenges that leading institutions around the world have overcome. The programme also offers participants an opportunity to gain deeper personal insight, unleash their ability to inspire and motivate others, and develop the thinking skills required to manage the challenges they will face and achieve exceptional accomplishments for themselves and their organisations.”

During the programme, participants also met with innovative thinkers of renowned businesses and leading government bodies, attended sessions with expert speakers from academic, as well as public and private sector organisations, and were introduced to the practical skills and hands-on experience needed to lead disruptive innovation in their own organisations and fields.

The programme also featured a unique leadership simulation exercise designed to develop the agile leadership capabilities required to successfully lead disruptive innovation initiatives, through experiencing and handling a range of challenging dilemmas. The 16 participants also created personal development plans during one-to-one coaching sessions after the programme concluded.

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