The Innovation and Technology Department in the College of Graduate Studies in the Arabian Gulf University (AGU) recently hosted a lecture on “Social Innovation and Innovation Laboratories” that was delivered by International Innovation and Entrepreneurship Specialist Dr. Atif Al Shirawi.
The lecture, which was attended by students of AGU’s PhD Programme in Innovation Management and Technology, comes within the efforts dedicated by the university to enhance the culture of innovation through the establishment of innovation laboratories. In the lecture, Dr. Al Shirawi delivered a presentation on the history and the emergence of the idea of social innovation and recalled some of the pioneers in this field such as Michael Young and Muhammad Yunus. Dr. al Shirawi mentioned different models of innovation utilised by the government sector in the Republic of India to solve problems in the public sector, the environment and the use of art and theater.
The academic underscored that the stimulators of social innovation are represented by the excessive population growth, environmental deterioration, decline in the quality of public services and the increase of the numbers of immigrants across the world. Dr. Al Shirawi mentioned that “the numbers of immigrants are estimated to be around 200 million immigrants in 2013”. He also told the attendees that “there are one million people living below the poverty line and around 200 million are unemployed”.
The lecturer added that “these challenges represent opportunities for open and social innovation through the idea of a participatory economy such as Uber and AirBNB”. The attendees discussed the importance of the establishment of innovation laboratories in universities. In the discussion, Innovation and Technology Department Head Dr. Awdah Al Jayousi, stressed on the significance of establishing social innovation centres in GCC states to stimulate the national innovation system.