Merge the local with the global

Merge the local with the global
Alberto Miranda Riera, global chairman of EMA Partners; David Gibson-Moore, president and CEO of Gulf Analytica; Arif Mubarak, CEO of Dubai Asset Management; Troels Anderson, CEO and founder of Mondo Ride; Mazen Dalati, general manager of Baxter International; Pavan Bhatia, SVP, HR Officer, Asia, Middle East and North Africa of PepsiCo; and Omar Chihane, corporate veteran-turned-serial entrepreneur; attending a panel discussion in Dubai.

Dubai - One of the best places for companies to look for innovation is the SME sector


Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Sat 30 Mar 2019, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 31 Mar 2019, 6:34 PM

Organisations need to ensure that they create a corporate culture that allows their talent to innovate new ways of thinking when tackling issues, experts said in a panel session at the EMA Partners' Leadership and Market Insights event.
Powered by Khaleej Times, the event brought together top C-suite professionals from across various industries, and shed light on a number of topics such as talent management, mentorship and disruption.
Alberto Miranda Riera, global chairman of EMA Partners, spoke about the importance of companies having talent that is "international". He defined this as officials that have the social skills that allow them to interact and understand professionals from all walks of life. "It is very important to move your people around to different geographies, so that they can develop this skill. It sounds very easy, but it is actually a very difficult skill to have."
Talents, especially those that are being trained to step into leadership roles, must learn to connect emotionally with people and understand the wavelength that is present in different cultures. Some geographies, he said, are more passionate about the way in which they do business, while others value a more straightforward approach when it comes to business.
Endorsing this same sentiment, Pawan Bhatia, SVP Chief HR Officer for Asia, Middle East and North Africa for Pepsico mentioned that to get the best of local and global it is critical for organizations to develop leaders who can leverage diversity. Equally important is building a culture of inclusion where local ideas that meet consumer needs are given a chance to succeed.
David Gibson-Moore, president and CEO of Gulf Analytica, added that corporate culture has to be such that it allows a person the freedom to fail when they try something new. This can be a very difficult concept for many organisations to grasp, since they are trained to view failures as something that is always negative, but it is actually is one of the best ways to encourage people to be innovative and think like an entrepreneur.
One of the best places for companies to look for innovation is the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector. "Develop the SME sector to create the global companies of the future," he stated.
Troels Andersen, CEO and founder of Mondo Ride, also highlighted the importance of businesses understanding the local community and markets to create products that will fit into the ecosystem. He revealed that when Mondo Ride was first starting out, he made sure that there was an option for selecting Boda Bodas - motorcycles that are very popular due to their ability to navigate traffic faster than larger vehicles. He credits this move as one of the reasons for the company's success.
Arif Mubarak, CEO of Dubai Asset Management, looked back at his time travelling the world and encouraging talented students to set up their businesses in Dubai. Today, the city has built upon that idea and is an emirate that boats a wealth of talent, he said. He added that the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai event is a milestone that will have a great spillover effect in attracting the right talent to the UAE.
"The city has invested billions in infrastructure and processes that will continue to bear fruit long after the event is over," he said. "Events such as the Expo 2020 are a platform for more talent to emerge and network. This will lead to the creation of valuable ideas."
He also spoke about how the UAE had produced two very unique glocal brands, and Careem, and the potential for many more to come in the future.
Skip the traditional thoughts
Businesses in today's day and age can't afford to take it easy, unless they want to be disrupted by a younger and more agile competitor, said Joy Ajlouny, founder and CMO of Fetchr.
"You cannot afford to think traditionally," she stressed. "In today's fast paced economy and age of disruption, unless you are comfortable with change, then you are not built to last. Don't sit on your laurels or you will be obsolete before you can even understand what happened."
Businesses, she said, have to constantly think about changing and innovating, if they are to survive. "You must think like an entrepreneur within your own company. What defines young entrepreneurs is that they are terrified of becoming irrelevant, and this mindset helps them to continuously innovate to remain one step ahead in the competition. Successful companies are those that boast a marriage of youth and wisdom."
She also noted that companies are built on people. "Brand yourselves as the company and as an industry leader. This is the mindset that you have to take with you everywhere. Think differently, and invest in a younger generation that has lots of ideas. Create a marriage of these bright ideas with the wisdom that you have accumulated over the years. This is how you build innovation within your company."

Delegates attending the EMA Partners meet in Dubai.
Delegates attending the EMA Partners meet in Dubai.

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