International Organisation for Knowledge Economy and Enterprise Development
IKED - International Organisation for Knowledge Economy and Enterprise Development


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..:: Innovation Systems for Natural Resource Rich Economies
Saudi ArabiaSince several years, IKED has been engaged in addressing issues of natural resource-based economies and their transition to knowledge-based economies. In this field, projects have been undertaken notably on Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the United Arab Emirates. Related work has been carried out in Malaysia and Pakistan, and also in Central America and the Caribbean.

Within recent activities, IKED focuses on advancing opportunities for new business development and jobs by building on a combination of digital information tools, notably the Internet of Things (IoT), and the revitalisation of traditional industries, including food, water, energy, housing, land use planning and associated service development, related to experience-industry and tourism. Working with a network of partner institutions in Europe and the Middle East, as well as multilateral institutions such at the International Telecom Union (ITU) and UN-agencies, IKED aims to identify and realize opportunities for value-enhancing cross-border (and also bi-regional) collaboration in these domains.

Previously, IKEDís representative served as the main expert of the Science. Technology and Innovation (STIP) review of the Islamic Republic of Iran which was undertaken by the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on the invitation of the Iranian government. The project, which started late in 2015, was completed in December 2016 see report. Among subsequent follow-up activities, IKED was engaged by the Robert Bosch foundation in Germany to explore opportunities for research collaboration, which was explored in a mission to Tehran early March 2017. Separately, IKEDís representative, was the only leading panelist from OECD countries in the Technology Transfer and Exchange Network conference for the D-8 countries, a grouping of 8 major Muslim countries, holding between them a combined population of more than 1 billion (Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey), which took place in Tehran on December 2-5, 2017. This event, devoted to the role of venture capital and co-investment for economic development, demonstrated both the great diversity of D-8 countries in this field and their growing commitment to serious reform and institutional development. See linkÖ.

"Further, in the fall 2018, IKED experts advised organisations in the Middle East as well as in Europe on the first Middle East - Europe Forum, "Collaboration in Translational Research for a Sustainable Future", which too place on Kish Island on October 19-21, 2018. The Action document agreed in the aftermath of the event can se seen here >>

Earlier, IKED provided the keynote presentation in Islamabad, at the International Conference on "Innovation and Sustainable Development", December 19, 2016 in Islamabad, organised by ESCAP and the APCTT for Asian countries. Measurement issues were discussed at a constructive brainstorming event oganised by the World Economic Forum in Dubai, November 12, 2014, in Dubai. Further, Dr. Annalee Babb led assessments of e-government and innovation and ICT policies in Belize during 2014. Dr. Babb presented the joint agenda of IKED and Knowledge Consultants Inc. in Barbados, with regard to SMEs, ICT and Global Value Chains, at a regional event organised by UNIDO, June 13, 2013, in Costa Rica. IKED's Chairman, Prof. Thomas Andersson, moderated the session "Moving Forward: Fostering Regional Integration Processes", at "Travelling the Knowledge and Innovation Road", a Symposium organised by CMI, ISESCO and the World Bank at the ISESCO Headquarters in Rabat on June 4-5, 2013.

As additional examples of its project portfolio of relevance to this area, IKED carried out a two-year project with the central authorities of Abu Dhabi on identifying the main gaps in innovation as well as how to record progress in addressing them, at micro as well as aggregate level.

While Abu Dhabi has moved beyond the middle-income economy status and in some respects represents one of the most dynamic capitals and regions of the world, it still owes much of its stance to the export revenue generated by so far ample oil resources. Sustained high oil prices in recent years helped boost Abu Dhabi's budget and foreign reserves. Like other countries in the region, Abu Dhabi still feels the pinch of the present downturn as well as the weight of the structural challenges make obvious by the Arab Spring. It is in this context that the Emirate's leaders consider how to build a stronger base for sustainable growth and prosperity. A secure, open and dynamic economy, empowerment of the private sector, and an innovation-led knowledge-based economy have been identified as key by Abu Dhabi.

Examining innovation and its impacts on natural resource-rich Economies (NREs), including by benchmarking the performance of such economies, the IKED research team gauged to what extent Abu Dhabi is confronted with gaps in terms of unfulfilled potential for innovation and growth. A groundbreaking pilot innovation survey, based on and adapted from the CIS (Community Innovation Survey) template to fit the Abu Dhabi context specifically, was run in close collaboration with the Statistics Center - Abu Dhabi (SCAD). This survey, similarly to the introduction of an innovation index, represents groundbreaking work not only for Abu Dhabi, but for the Gulf region as a whole.

Meanwhile, the local authorities, under the aegis of the General Secretariat of the Executive Council (GSEC), organised stakeholder consultations throughout the project, to maximize its relevance from a policy perspective.

IKED`s report, presented on May 16, 2010 in Abu Dhabi, included a candid characterisation of the gaps limiting the potential for innovation in Abu Dhabi. On this account, the following factors were highlighted:
  1. Lack of economic diversification
  2. High turnover of the expatriate "creative class"
  3. Weak ties among talented individuals belonging to different organisations
  4. Absence of a policy for wellbeing and an environmentally-sound and sustainable economy and society
  5. Weaknesses in conditions for opportunity-based entrepreneurship
  6. Lack of research culture and weaknesses in technical innovation
  7. Failure to mobilise human resources and investments to match opportunities for economic and business development
  8. Need of strengthening in governance and collaboration to underpin consistency in regard to innovation.

Along the way, the study presented in-depth international benchmarking of Abu Dhabi`s innovation performance. Based on an index for measurement of performance relative to comparator economies, IKED concluded on the presence of strengths for Abu Dhabi in anchoring knowledge, but that other deficiencies, e.g., in knowledge diffusion, exploitation, and absorption, downplay performances below potential.

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