DAFZA Innovation Strategy

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum launches DAFZ Innovation Strategy

The Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZ) has announced that it will launch its ambitious Innovation strategy during the upcoming ‘UAE Innovation Week’ taking place from November 22 to 28, 2015 in line with the directive of H.H. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to mark 2015 as the ‘Year of Innovation.’ The week also builds on the National Innovation Strategy, which was launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai as a primary means to achieve UAE Vision 2021’s goals.

H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum praised the high levels of competitiveness and DAFZ’s unprecedented initiative that was brought about in direct alignment with HH President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan guidance and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai ‘s vision, to make the UAE a key global country in innovation, a reality that demands innovative solutions and creative management which embeds innovation in its daily work style. H.H. also reaffirmed his confidence and trust in the management team which proved its firm commitment to produce the best results and to reach the highest scores through innovation, highlighting that the innovation strategy is embedded within DAFZ operations and ambitions to enable it to top all other most innovative free zones in the world.

DAFZ’s Innovation Strategy aligns with the UAE National Innovation Strategy and has the overarching objective of establishing DAFZ as a world-class innovative organization. This compelling innovation strategy has three distinct goals: the delivery of value-added best-in-class innovative solutions, the adoption of working styles that inspire creative behaviors across the organization, and alignment with and active contribution to the UAE’s National Agenda through innovation. It also defines three key roles for DAFZ within the National Innovation Ecosystem: an Innovator lead role that directs and owns the innovation process, a Capital Provider that provides financial and physical resources to relevant local stakeholders to advance the country’s innovation initiatives, and a staunch Promoter of the UAE’s national innovation efforts in line with UAE Vision 2021.

DAFZ will focus on the six key executable Innovation Enablers of Process, Technologies, Governance, Skills, Capabilities and the Culture necessary to stimulate innovation and achieve the goals of its innovation strategy. The Freezone will build on its Services Plan to identify top-priority services that drive and sustain innovation and determine improvement opportunities along request, processing and delivery channels across the entire services life cycle. It will also explore possible additional services based on local, regional and international benchmarks as well as outputs from tenants that will add to the levels of innovation within the organization. 

DAFZ has focused its efforts on creating and adopting “new-to-the-region” and “firsts” amongst free zones.

Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director General of DAFZ, said: “As H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum himself has said, ‘Innovation is not an option but a necessity.’ We share Sheikh Mohammed’s thinking that innovation should be ingrained in an organization as a work style, and that those who do not innovate stand to lose their competitiveness and risk failure. DAFZ’s innovation strategy is a strong, enthusiastic and determined response to H.H.’s call for a sharper focus on innovation as a pillar for the nation’s sustained development and global leadership. Innovation Week is an ideal vehicle for launching the strategy as we will be able to express our solidarity in supporting the most innovative ideas from the government and private sectors as well as from the public.”

As part of DAFZ’s innovation strategy, various processes were put in place backed up by governance and technology that can support in the identification and shaping of new innovative ideas. The setting up and launch of a dedicated DAFZ Innovation Unit (DIU), embedding and stimulating innovation work style and focused innovation planning be it innovation training on creative thinking as well as innovation behavior coaching are all an integral part of DAFZ innovation framework. As part of conveying its innovation agenda and strategy, a DAFZ’s communication plan was devised with clear objectives, messages, channels and an effective reach amongst its various stakeholders audience.

Innovation is part of DAFZ’s core corporate values and has been instrumental to the Freezone’s growth in the Middle East as a leading free zone. As part of its active involvement in UAE Innovation Week 2015, DAFZ has lined up a series of innovative initiatives including ‘International Innovative Platform for Islamic Economy Products 2015’ (IIPIEP 2015) organized in partnership with the International Centre of Islamic Economy. The event is drawing remarkable regional and international interest as a meeting point for developers of innovative products and relevant experts interested in exploring the economic, technical, legal and legislative aspects of Islamic economic products and finding appropriate mechanisms for transforming creative ideas into practical products that can advance the growth of the global Islamic Economy.