Sharjah Innovation Park conducts workshop to generate future foresight

SRTI technology focalTogether with other stakeholders, Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation (SRTI) Park have conducted a two-day scenario planning workshop in partnership with Mendacia Ltd, a UK-based advisory service that focuses on strategic planning, scenario development and role-playing simulation exercises

The initiative aims to generate future foresight and use scenarios to challenge the participants to question their assumptions about their operating environment; encourage the participants to reflect on their respective roles and obligations as well as the industry dynamics, changing power-structures, relationships and inter-dependencies across the innovation sector; introduce the participants to benefits of scenario planning, its use as an integral method in strategy planning and to teach the participants how to apply the scenario development technique in their strategic planning activities.

In the case of the SRTIP and this workshop, the objective was to apply scenarios to identify and better appreciate which major factors could have an impact on the UAE, Sharjah and the SRTIP’s objectives and strategy in leading the innovation-based knowledge economy and the fourth industrial revolution in the UAE over the next five to seven years.

Improving the organisation’s operating environment

Scenarios are developed through the art of conducting strategic conversations about factors that have potential to bring about significant change in an organisation’s operating environment and where the organisation has little to no control over these factors. However, the organisations can mitigate them by being aware and also making their strategies as resilient as possible. Resilience helps to mitigate the negative impact(s) and to leverage any potential upside or opportunities that may arise as a result. We refer to this as the ‘contextual’ environment.

Technology needs to be seamlessly integrated with society

An assessment of the alignment of the SRTIP’s six pillars of activity within the broader context of the Triple Helix approach of Sharjah Science Park was also conducted.

Dr Shaun McCarthy, founder and CEO of Mendacia Ltd, applied ‘Roderick’s trilemma’ to illustrate potential synergies and tensions between the major stakeholders of government, academia, the business community and the broader public. He presented some of the historical milestones in the history of innovation, explaining how information technology has paved the way for social media. He explained how the internet, mobile technology and social media has overcome the old-world order of borders and monopolies and why leaders of today in the public and private sectors need to be more attuned to governance by social media. Technology has served to enhance the lifestyle of society, but he reminded the participants that whereas science, technology and innovation efforts can focus predominantly on technology, it is still the people, not the technology that is of paramount importance.

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