MEED on 30 August announced the launch of Innovation Live! a strategic initiative to bring together government and private sector companies to identify new ways of tackling the region’s biggest economic challenges.

Innovation Live! aims to support innovation in priority sectors including sustainable energy, urbanisation, education, healthcare, transportation, business start-up, and industrial diversification.

MEED has launched the Innovation Live! initiative in collaboration with a host of leading government firms such as Masdar Institute, Smart Dubai, Federal Transport Authority, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (Dewa), Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA), and private sector organisations including the US’ Honeywell, Japan’s Hitachi and Current, powered by GE of the US.

The focal point of the initiative is the Innovation Live! Summit, an influential government-led forum held in Dubai on 21 November, which has been announced as an anchor event of the UAE Innovation Week.

At the summit, which features leading innovators from around the world, MEED will unveil a series of policy recommendation papers produced to support government plans to stimulate innovation in order to improve services and drive efficiency.   

Innovation live

Innovation Live!

Innovation Live! Sustainable Energy watercooler working group meeting at Masdar, Abu Dhabi in August 2016


The policy recommendation papers are being developed by MEED together with its Innovation Live! partners through a series of sector focus groups, known as “Watercoolers”.

Watercooler focus groups have been established to reflect seven key policy development areas of the UAE government.

These are: Sustainable Energy; Smart Cities; Healthcare; Transportation; Education; Industrial Diversification; and Business Start-up.

Starting in August, each of the watercooler groups is meeting monthly at different locations across the UAE to develop innovation policy recommendations for each sector that will be presented for peer review at the summit in November.  

More than 600 senior representatives from government and industry are expected to attend the Innovation Live! Summit, which will be held at the Majlis al-Safinah, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai.

Following the event, the recommendations will be submitted in a white paper to the government of Dubai in December.

“Innovation Live! has been launched in alignment with the UAE National Innovation Strategy,” says MEED Editorial Director Richard Thompson.

”Our goals are to stimulate new and fresh ways of tackling the challenges facing the region, to identify and remove barriers to progress, to foster and facilitate connections between government and business, and to produce recommendations that can help regional policymakers create the right environment to support innovation.”

Global Innovation Index

Through the UAE Innovation Strategy and the UAE’s Vision 2021 plan, Abu Dhabi is seeking to establish the UAE in the top 10 cities of the Global Innovation Index (GII), which ranks the innovation capabilities of economies around the world.

The GII is co-published by the US’ Cornell University, France’s Insead, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a UN agency.

The UAE ranked 41 out of 128 economies in the GII’s 2016 annual report.

“MEED created this initiative along with the Advisory Board to support the government’s mission in innovation,” says MEED’s CEO Richard Breeden.

“Meeting the needs of a rapidly growing market in a low oil price era requires policymakers and companies to embrace new thinking, dynamic collaborations and the latest disruptions technology to make the Middle East a better place to live and work.

“Our expertise across multiple business sectors places us in a unique position to engage stakeholders in the government and private sectors in identifying and solving the key pain points and opportunities in a rapidly advancing field.”

Global innovators

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Innovation Live!

Innovation Live! Sustainable Energy watercooler working group meeting at Masdar, Abu Dhabi in August 2016

The Innovation Live! Summit will see leading global and regional innovators appearing on the event’s main Inspiration Stage to deliver case studies in TED Talks-style format, strategic panel debates, and interactive on-stage interviews.

The event’s Innovation Experience Zone will see government and private sector organisations showcasing cutting-edge concepts, including design thinking; digital innovation; collaboration and co-creation; futuristic technologies; sustainability; and leadership.

UAE Innovation Week is one of the largest innovation initiatives in the world, and a consolidated effort by government, the private sector and individuals to help create a widespread culture of innovation in the UAE and strengthen its position as a global hub for innovation.

Innovation Live! is sponsored by Hitachi (Social Innovation Partner), Honeywell (Platinum Sponsor), Current, powered by GE (Emerald Sponsor) and DAFZA (Strategic Partner).

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Innovation Live! Sustainable Energy Watercooler