Exploring opportunities in digital disruption: Zain Group holds Innovation Forum in Kuwait for the first time

Via Zain

Oct 26, 2016

Exploring opportunities in digital disruption: Zain Group holds Innovation Forum in Kuwait for the first time

Zain digital innovation personnel from all operations pose for group picture

• Digital innovation essential to sustainable and profitable growth of Zain • Two day gathering aimed at facilitating an exchange of future-focused ideas between operating companies and digital partners

Kuwait - October 26, 2016: Zain Group, a leading innovator of mobile communications in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces the commencement of its Digital Innovation Forum, marking the first time this important event is being held in Kuwait over two days. The Forum draws participants from across Zain Group’s operational companies, and for the first time in its four-year history, draws representatives from INWI, Zain’s affiliate company in Morocco.

Kuwait was selected as the host country of this year’s event not only because it is the home market of Zain Group, but also because of the country’s rising credentials in digital innovation, where the country’s leadership has set a bold focus on investing in technology for the betterment of society. In addition, highly rated digital economy events such as the MIT Enterprise Forum Start-Up competition, Arabnet and the Tmkeen Youth Empowerment Symposium have recently convened in Kuwait, while numerous technology startups in the country have had outstanding commercial success, garnering international attention.

An overriding aim of the Forum is for individual Zain operating companies to be able to share their strategies, experiences, best practices, and challenges with one another and maintain the culture of improvement and forward momentum within the organization. Discussions at the event revolve around relevant industry trends including developments with over-the-top (OTT) players, e-commerce, digital content, e-health, the need for all operations to modify and transform their operating structures, and the requirement to attract and retain talent who have the capability to inject new ideas into the business.

The forum also brought together a selection of key innovation and strategic partners from Europe, the USA and across the Middle East and Africa to exchange views on key industry developments and successes as well as to seek to forge potential partnership opportunities.

Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer said, “We are delighted to have this event taking place in our home market of Kuwait, given the country’s enthusiastic youth and data savvy population, many of whom are aspiring digital entrepreneurs. We all know how complex and sophisticated the modern telecom sector is today, and gatherings such as this are invaluable for all our mobile operations to maintain their competitive edge when it comes to technology innovation and services offered to customers. Continual digital innovation is essential to the sustainable and profitable growth of Zain"

The two-day Forum will be led by Zain Group Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer, Emre Gurkan who commented, “Innovation and flexibility are the life-blood of modern technology companies with digital disruption offering huge growth opportunities that will benefit many of our stakeholders including customers. Continuous transformation is a must-have in modern businesses and Zain is well on its way to transforming itself to become a digital lifestyle provider. Inputs from events such as this Forum are imperative to maintain our course to achieving this ambition.”

The Forum builds on the establishment of the Zain Digital Frontier and Innovation (ZDFI) business unit in 2014, which is charged with launching Zain into the digital space and the view to growing the company through new innovative business streams that contribute to Zain’s financial viability and market capitalization. ZDFI focuses on the areas of innovation; digital services; corporate venturing; and smart cities, with the ultimate aim of Zain becoming a regional innovation trendsetter.

The ZDFI team has been active with more than 400 new innovative ideas being examined and the most appealing of them either implemented by Zain across the operations or in the final stages of negotiation. Successful forays to date include the strategic investments in smart city consulting firm, neXgen and mobility solutions developer and consultancy firm FOO; investments in three venture capital firms MEVP, EarlyBird and Wamda; the award-winning Group-wide partnership deal with Uber; the partnership with global games provider Zeptolab –Cut the Rope game and the partnership with Booking.com. The company has also been a key sponsor of the MIT Pan Arab Start Up Competition for the past two years and most recently sponsored the global MIT Innovate for Refugees competition.

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