UAE’s readiness for knowledge creation and innovation

By Priya Chetty on November 11, 2019

In modern days, innovation and knowledge creation have become crucial for organizations that intend to float successfully in the competitive world. Innovations involve coming up with different thoughts and creativity that brings changes and development in its application. Through innovation, products, services, processes, organizations, and institutions can be defined (Schilirò, 2015).

Economists such as Schumpeter have analysed that despite innovations possessing various meanings, dimensions, and implications. It has been mainly known to become effective when it is implemented to usher in new products, services, and processes that have commercial value. Making ‘innovation’ should be more economic in nature than just implying innovation through technology (Schumpeter, 1939).

Since the UAE intends to transform its economy through ‘innovations’ after the oil reserves get exhausted, Schumpeter’s estimation strongly applies.

The UAE’s capacity to access knowledge

The country boasts of possessing a strong capacity to access resources that are required for innovation. Such capacity to access knowledge can be seen in the country’s pursuance of advanced information and communication (ICT) infrastructure. The Emirates’ reach allows them to link with international players (INSEAD, 2012). Recent research on the UAE’s innovation capacity shows the country being ranked 36th internationally (GulfNews, 2019). Such resource capacity to access knowledge for the UAE like other countries comes in various forms like:

  • the capacity to identify,
  • recognise, and
  • tap various sources of knowledge, with the financial and investment capacity.

The UAE’s capacity to anchor value creation

The UAE has also demonstrated strong anchoring capacities, despite its fairly young economy, and as the country is ranked 62nd in its anchoring capacities internationally, it is ranked 4th among the Gulf countries (INSEAD, 2012).

Anchoring shows the capacity of the country to engage in knowledge, learning, and investment. The UAE boasts of many government agencies that allow private and public sector to develop. With the anchoring capacity, the UAE has been attracting international talent and has become one of the most desirable countries in the world for setting up a business.

The UAE’s capabilities in diffusing knowledge

There are many preconditions in diffusing knowledge, which is again conditioned by ‘accessing’ and ‘anchoring’ activities. The UAE has many developments in diffusing knowledge, where the spread of value-creation activities using innovation is being encouraged. Knowledge diffusion has also become very common in the UAE in bridging gender gaps in the urban as well as rural areas (INSEAD, 2012). Educational opportunities offered Emirati women to increase their literacy ratio alongside men.

In knowledge diffusion, the UAE has also received success in technological adoption as compared to other Gulf countries. The reason for such development is that the UAE government is highly committed to developing a world-class ICT infrastructure.

The UAE’s capabilities in new knowledge creation

UAE is one of the biggest patent generators in the world. Such development is because the country has been spending and investing in R&D innovative work. The ‘Vision 2021’ has also instigated the country to become more developed in nature, making the country to become a successful patent generator (IBP Inc., 2016). Given such development, the UAE’s capacity to produce scientific and technological output has also increased dramatically in recent years, inviting more scientists and researchers and creating more knowledge.

In 2012, it was reported that the UAE ranked 15 internationally, in terms of the availability of scientists and engineers. This is because the country has been making many efforts in bringing funds and awards towards scientific and scientific development. The country invites innovators from across the world through awards such as the ‘Young Emirati Innovators Prize’, the ‘Patent Filing Award’, and the ‘Zayed Future Energy Prize’ (INSEAD, 2012).

The UAE’s capacity to generate new economic value

The UAE’s capacity to generate new economic value can be considered as being above average, considering its ability to exploit resources in creating new value. The UAE excels in garnering effective skills and talent from across the world, and governmental financial support for scientific and technological development is considerable (INSEAD, 2012). Other reasons like possessing natural resources also make people generate economic value.

Supporting entrepreneurs in the UAE

Supporting entrepreneurs in the UAE by the government, especially in Abu Dhabi and Dubai has grown immensely in recent years in various forms. This is especially done in order to improve the climate for small and medium enterprises, and the UAE has no doubt seen such SMEs sprouting.

For instance, the government has launched initiatives to support entrepreneurs through various funding and investments like the ‘Khalifa Fund for Rashid Enterprise Development’ in Abu Dhabi, and the ‘Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders’ in Dubai (INSEAD, 2012).

These funding and investments are garnered towards the creation of office space, administration, incubation facilities, research, and training. It is also instigated by the UAE government to channel 5% of their annual procurements, towards supporting and encouraging entrepreneurs (INSEAD, 2012). Such funding is expected to bring social development.


  • GulfNews. (2019, July 24). UAE jumps two places to 36th rank in Global Innovation Index 2019. GulfNews.
  • IBP Inc. (2016). United Arab Emirates Internet and E-Commerce Investment and Business Guide – Strategic and Practical Information: Regulations and Opportunities. Washington D.C.:
  • INSEAD. (2012). The Innovation Capabilities of Nations: Five Key Performance Measures. Abu Dhabi.
  • Schilirò, D. (2015). Innovation in Small and Medium Enterprises in the United Arab Emirates. International Journal of Social Science Studies, 3(5).
  • Schumpeter, J. (1939). Business cycles: A Theoretical, Historical and Statistical Analysis of the Capitalist Process.

Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).