Innovation Tournament 2021 MENA Launch


Aspiring innovators, entrepreneurs and trailblazers will have the opportunity to implement their ideas on a global scale with the launch today of the Innovation Tournament 2021.

The Tournament will be hosted by Arabic Knowledge@Wharton, the MENA edition of the online research and business analysis journal published by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) which is the largest higher education institution in the United Arab Emirates.

The tournament, which is open to individuals and teams, from around the world, promises to generate bold, creative ideas and solutions with measurable results in the areas of business, the environment and entrepreneurial innovation. The applicants will receive close mentorship from leading national and international business experts and the winners will also receive project funding.

Inspired by, and based on, the acclaimed book Innovation Tournaments: Creating and Selecting Exceptional Opportunities, by Wharton Professors Christian Terwiesch and Karl Ulrich, the tournament is designed to encourage and nurture MENA-based innovators’ concepts, of an environmentally friendly or sustainability-focused nature, which can be implemented worldwide.

There is no entry fee and contestants can submit their innovative concepts online. From the applicants, a panel of experts will select the semi-finalists from around the globe, who will then be invited to submit a web-based presentation of their innovative concepts. From this group the judges will select finalists, who will be invited to present their ideas before a panel of judges in May 2012 in Dubai.

Professor Ulrich, Vice Dean of Innovation and the CIBC Professor of Entrepreneurship and e-Commerce at the Wharton School said the Wharton-HCT collaborative innovation tournament would combine individual creativity with structured processes to allow organizations to develop concepts within an “innovation pipeline”.

“Everyone uses tournaments in everyday life. They are used in society. They are used in organizations. HCT and Knowledge@Wharton have collaborated to create a tournament from which new ideas will emerge that can help businesses during the recession and beyond. This free competition promises excitement and original ideas,” he said.

Professor Ulrich said the Innovation Tournament was a ‘brain sourcing’ competition which helps to “jumpstart” innovation. “We’re ‘crowd sourcing’ from the very best minds in both the academic and business worlds,” he said.

Dr Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology, said the Tournament would challenge and empower applicants through the innovative use of technologies, and reinforce the UAE’s reputation as a hub for innovation and technology transfer.

“We are very pleased to be associated with the Innovation Tournament 2021 as it is very much in alignment with the UAE Government’s Vision 2021 Plan, which states that ‘knowledgeable and innovative Emiratis will confidently build a competitive and resilient economy’ which has economic diversification at its core,” Dr Kamali said.

“The Vision 2021 Plan envisages the UAE’s economy will be ‘a model where growth is driven by knowledge and innovation’ and this Tournament will be an exciting avenue by which to achieve those goals,” he added.

“Both the Higher Colleges of Technology and its commercial arm, CERT, have a strong emphases on innovation and technology in training and education, ensuring their students have the knowledge, skills, confidence and values to make important contributions to the United Arab Emirates and succeed in a changing world,” Dr Kamali said.

“We look forward to receiving many interesting and challenging entries from our students, from the UAE and the MENA region.”

Dr Kamali said the inspiration for the Tournament title came from the Vision 2021 Plan which is designed to reinforce the UAE as one of the best countries in the world by 2021.

Bulent Gultekin, Professor of Finance, Wharton School and the Academic of the Wharton Center in Abu Dhabi said, “Knowledge@Wharton is delighted to partner with CERT. We hope lots of innovators around the world will participate and contribute solutions that can make a difference to society.”

The Innovation Tournament is designed to identify novel and innovative “tools” that organizations can use to increase their productivity, profitability, longevity and sustainability. Under the Tournament rules a “tool” is defined as a method, approach, template, process or software that meets the relevant industry criteria.

The competition will take place in three phases. Phase I involves the actual submission of the tools, which will then be judged by the panel of experts. Phase II will be the semi-final stage of the Tournament, during which a number of enterprising entrants will be chosen to present information on their tools. A short-list of these Phase II semi-finalists will be selected through a voting system and who will have the unique opportunity to be mentored by Wharton alumni/business owners, faculty and other Wharton and HCT colleagues.

Phase III is the finalists stage and will require each finalist to make a presentation at a live event, where a panel of judges will select the winners. The judges will include faculty & members from the Higher Colleges of Technology and faculty from Wharton. Knowledge@Wharton will record interviews with the winners, which will be featured on the Knowledge@Wharton, tournament and HCT websites.

Entries for the Innovation Tournament 2021 will be accepted via until April 5, 2012.


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