GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Guidlines to Plan the Kuwait Development Plan to Enhance the National Innovation Ecosystem and Knowledge Economy
Paper Proposal Text :
The passage of Kuwait’s Strategic Development Plan in 2010 is an important step in the process of transition from an oil-exporting economy into a knowledge-based economy. The strengthening of knowledge-intensive sectors is essential to building up the innovative capacity and structural capability of the Kuwaiti economy and society. It is also integral to the development of human resources and the full exploitation of human capital, as well as the production of new knowledge for local needs and the growth of private research-academic collaboration. For these ambitious and complex objectives to be realized, it is vital that policy-makers be able to prioritize, select, and sequence the correct measures. Yet the Development Plan currently lacks the facility to identify the appropriate initiatives and align them with the broader vision of economic transformation and national priorities.
This paper is meant to discuss the right approach to set guidelines that will enable officials and practitioners to match the micro- and macro-levels in order to monitor, review, and implement the Kuwait Development Plan. In addition, it will share views to develop and build on the conclusions and recommendations of the interim ‘Kuwait and the Knowledge Economy’ report published by the London School of Economics (LSE) and Kuwait Foundation for Advanced Science(KFAS) in 2010. The discussion output will help to pave the road to implement a research project that will enable a set of a smooth transition of knowledge economy initiatives and strategies as Kuwait moves from the current Development Plan to the next ones.
A concept paper regarding the idea of this proposed project was prepared jointly by myself and Dr. Kristian Coates Ulrichsen the former Co-Director of the Kuwait Research Programme at LSE and currently is a Visiting Fellow, researches Gulf Policy at Rice University in Huston USA. The concept paper also discussed with Dr. David Cheney, Director of Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International’s Centre for Science, Technology and Economic Development. Both showed great interest to participate in the implementation of the project upon its approval.
The proposed project will develop a set of quantitative and qualitative guidelines to facilitate the integration of policy findings and recommendations in the Kuwait Development Plan. It will generate a range of sequenced analytical tools that will assist officials to disaggregate and determine the drivers of policy formulation in order to meet specific and stated goals. In addition, varied outcomes will be suggested alongside the possible policy mixes that are required to underpin them. These will allow officials to select the correct combination of projects and policy initiatives as part of a clearly-defined roadmap of reform. Among the potential objectives to be studied are models of research collaboration and public-private partnerships, the role and design of science parks, strategies for the commercialisation of R&D, and pathways of sustainable fiscal development.
The main objective of this study is to formulate guidelines that assist government officials and policy-makers in planning, monitoring, reviewing, and implementing the Strategic Development Plan, and matching appropriate policies to desired outcomes. It intends to build up the National Innovation Ecosystem in Kuwait and contribute to Kuwait’s innovation capacity. A secondary objective is to map international best practice onto a specifically Kuwaiti context and to train local professionals in planning, analysing, and implementing knowledge economy policy options, thereby strengthening local human resource capabilities.
The transition to knowledge-based economies is integral to programmes of economic diversification and international competitiveness as Kuwait adapts to broader structural shifts in the global economy based on accelerating flows of information, knowledge, capital, and human talent across national boundaries. So, too, is the creation of a comprehensive national innovation ecosystem to mobilise and coordinate the cycle of public-private cooperation and link it with intellectual capital formation, embedded strategies of productive entrepreneurship, market development initiatives, and a financial, legal and educational system that underpins and facilitates the changes.

This overarching strategies matches a cornerstone of the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research( KISR) Seventh Strategic Plan, which is to maximise and extend the existing science, technology, and innovation landscape in Kuwait. The project will bridge policy research and policy-making and thereby support researchers and officials in designing public policies supporting science and innovation policy in the new knowledge economy. As this is a key concern for KISR, KFAS, and the Higher Council of Planning( HCP), they all stand to benefit from the project and, ultimately, from timely and targeted implementation of current and future development plans. Considerable multiplier benefits will also accrue from strategies to enhance Kuwaiti human capital development and absorptive capacity, innovation and collaborative R&D potential, and local optimisation of knowledge transfer and value-creation. These benefits will be mutually supporting in that advances in one area have overspill effects that underpin and strengthen initiatives elsewhere in the value chain. Successful execution of the project will additionally boost ongoing strategic transformations in KISR and KFAS, and deepen their capacity to undertake further such projects in the future.

The project has direct potential to expand innovation potential in Kuwait. Its matching of scenarios/desired outcomes with the policies and steps needed to achieve them will enable officials to prioritise objectives and target their interventions accordingly. Setting out core investigative questions will facilitate policy-makers to envision a desired outcome for Kuwait in the medium- and longer-term, and allow them to analyse, monitor and review policy-formulation. Recommended outcomes such as the commercialisation of R&D and the intensification of collaborative initiatives between the public and private sectors will significantly boost the business cycle and innovation ecosystem in Kuwait. The prioritisation of macro-level objectives likewise will support micro-initiatives to scale up business incubation, market-led research, and the intangible drivers of investment (and investment priorities) that form the cornerstone of the knowledge economy transition. Identifying the components and functions of the national innovation ecosystem will be critical to ensuring continuity and cohesion as policy-makers formulate the next Five-Year Development Plan and plan the shift from the current Plan.