In this whitepaper, we invite you to reimagine the depths of adopting innovation not only in times of crisis but as a driver for growth.

Read how key players in Qatar’s ecosystem have embraced innovation within procurement frameworks to lead to the outcomes mentioned in the following section.

OVERVIEW

In today’s global landscape, the only constant is change. Government entities and companies are facing uncertainty and pressure at an unprecedented and fast-paced rate. From rising costs to rapidly evolving market dynamics, there is an increasing need to gear up and adopt the right tools and procurement frameworks to effectively manage expenses, optimize cash positions, and navigate disruptions. 

When faced with uncertainty and challenges, the need for innovation becomes not only paramount but the new norm. Rethinking every aspect of the procurement function becomes key to proactively leading the way through uncertainty and out of any crisis. 

Qatar found itself navigating a unique and complex situation as it dealt with the impact of the pandemic and blockade. However, these two factors acted as catalysts that propelled all stakeholders to innovate for the future, emerging stronger and more resilient by embracing innovation.

This whitepaper looks at the approaches adopted along with key outcomes and learnings.

APPROACH

As an innovation partner committed to driving sustainable growth and facilitating successful transformations, Ibtechar held a roundtable on the topic: ‘Leveraging Procurement Frameworks for Innovation.’ Leaders from Qatar Research Development and Innovation Council, Amazon Web Services, Hassad Food, and many others all contributed to shed light on industry best practices and the crucial role of adapting progressive procurement processes to foster innovation in the ecosystem.

Before understanding how key parties adopted procurement innovation, it is important to look at and challenge the history of the procurement process. The way procurement worked in the past no longer works today. 

Think of the Pyramids in Egypt, where materials were sourced to fulfill this monumental project’s requirements. This required a lot of control. Following that, procurement gradually became a strategic function during the Renaissance era, supporting nations during conquest. Then, with the industrial revolution came the emphasis on mass production and the role of procurement in optimizing efficiency. Finally, by the 20th century, particularly with digital technology and telecommunications, procurement became more rigid within organizations.

OUTCOMES

Ibtechar: The Case of Innovation

As the state of Qatar moves towards sustainable growth, it has successfully invested in world-class infrastructure over the past two decades. The focus has now shifted towards embracing innovative solutions and services to further propel the nation forward.

The country recognizes that sustained progress lies not only in physical infrastructure but also in harnessing the power of disruptive technologies, groundbreaking ideas, and collaborative partnerships. Businesses are now taking note of this shift and have started to act.

An organization in Qatar sought to leverage innovation and keep up with the time through a classical procurement process and launched a call for tenders from the market. The organization embarked on a project to shift from labor-intensive facade cleaning to robotics. The procurement process commenced with a tendering format, accompanied by clarification sessions between the client and vendors. Challenges arose as the scope was discussed. As the process continued, timelines were further extended, resulting in a one-year delay in experimenting with innovation. This has an adverse impact on the organization and, ultimately, the nation’s growth and innovation potential.

One has to ask, does a rigid tendering process like this serve innovation? Clearly, the answer is no. In this example, the procurement process was demanding certainty; however, the problem needs a solution that has not yet been tried out. Therefore, all bidders were not able to fulfill the tender requirements.

With an apparent misalignment between procurement’s-controlled expectations and innovation’s uncertain nature, the question remains: “How can traditional procurement principles unleash innovation amidst unconventional ideas?”

Ibtechar firmly believes that businesses must push boundaries and challenge the status quo when it comes to the tools and vehicles utilized in procurement. Instead of engaging in repetitive procurement discussions, there is a need to shift focus towards establishing an agile and progressive procurement processes. Collaboration becomes pivotal as businesses strive to work together. By embracing this approach, the ecosystem will enable innovation and drive meaningful progress.

QRDI: Research-Driven Partnerships are Key

Qatar Research Development and Innovation Center (QRDI) conducted a comprehensive analysis of corporates worldwide to identify best practices in adopting innovation. This benchmarking process considers regional and global perspectives, realizing that corporate innovation typically falls into one of three models: build, partner, or acquire.

The partner model closely aligns with the practices and nature of doing business locally. Collaboration with external partners, such as startups, universities, and research institutions, expands reach and provides access to a global pool of innovators. Businesses can tap into diverse expertise, co-create solutions, and accelerate innovation by forging strategic partnerships.

The Open Innovation Initiative by QRDI represents an alternative approach to traditional procurement by building such partnerships. This is done by identifying unique challenges, opening facilities for piloting new technologies, and creating mechanisms for co-development.

The main objective of implementing open innovation across large local enterprises is to establish a fair and transparent way of working with innovators without being bound by the rigid procurement process.

Innovation requires strong leadership support, buy-in, and champions within organizations to succeed. A successful example of partnership and leadership buy-in is evident in the collaboration with Hassad.

Hassad: A Proactive Business and People Management Approach in the Face of Crisis

Hassad, the investment authority company focused on food security in Qatar, has made significant strides in the past five years; responding to challenges posed by the blockade has propelled them to drive transformative changes in the industry. They are a great case study, and their innovative reaction to uncertainty and the circumstances they faced could present great learnings to other businesses facing uncertainty.

In the face of the blockade, Hassad swiftly adapted to ensure a continuous supply of essential commodities. Challenging the notion that “this is not possible” Hassad understood that a traditional procurement process poses certain challenges. They took a proactive business and people management approach and uncovered innovative solutions to complex problems.

Hassad reengineered their procurement process, and strategically expanded local production capabilities by minimizing approval gates and built a strategy based on data, insights and lean operations. By eliminating redundant steps and reducing irrelevant requirements, significant improvements were achieved. These efforts resulted in a remarkable reduction of the procurement process time by an impressive 30 – 35% and increased production capacity by 30% in the poultry sector while significantly increasing vegetable production.

Additionally, another notable progressive practice implemented by Hassad is the adoption of the Open Innovation Program. This program provided Hassad with a safe and conducive environment to explore and test innovative ideas that may not be suitable within a traditional procurement process.

Hassad’s journey demonstrates the need for continuous reevaluation, agility, and adopting a proactive business approach. This involves changing perspectives, learning, partnering with experts, and taking action.

AWS: Adopting Digital Technology in the Procurement Process Is Key

Digital transformation has been instrumental in Governments, enabling a more efficient and innovative approach. AWS’ application of digital technology with some GCC governments provides a compelling case for the power of their technology. AWS Marketplace, known for its seamless user experience, has inspired a shift towards leveraging advanced technological solutions in the industry.

By leveraging AWS Marketplace and similar centralized platforms, businesses can revolutionize their procurement processes by adopting innovative procurement tools. These platforms offer a centralized approach that has allowed for reduced procurement risks.

Businesses can evaluate software offerings and engage in trials before making a purchase, minimizing the risk of investing in software that may not meet their requirements, ultimately optimizing spending and maximizing the use of funds.

Implementing electronic platforms and centralized marketplaces, exemplified by AWS Marketplace, has provided organizations with faster purchasing processes and diverse software options, unleashing procurement’s full potential through technology-driven solutions.

The Way Forward: Re-Imagining the Procurement Process

This white paper explored the importance of leveraging procurement processes to foster organizational innovation. Embracing innovation is a critical driver of success. Looking at Hassad’s case study and the views from industry leaders, it is evident that in order to adopt progressive procurement processes, a number of actions need to be taken.

1- Reimagine the Procurement process:
There is a need to adopt a holistic approach that looks at eliminating redundant steps within the procurement process that may include unnecessary requirements, reducing approval gateways while increasing data entry to make informed decisions.

2- Adopting Open Innovation as a vehicle:
Harnessing the power of Open Innovation and leveraging government support, allows businesses to tap into a wider pool of innovative ideas and solutions from external sources.
By embracing open innovation, businesses can benefit from the expertise and creativity of external partners, fostering collaboration and driving forward-thinking procurement practices.

3- Consider AWS marketplace for software solutions:
Businesses can leverage AWS Marketplace as a valuable resource for software solutions, gaining access to a diverse range of innovative applications from trusted vendors, streamlining the procurement process. Additionally, adopting technology and a digital approach enhances competition, and ensures fair and equal opportunities for suppliers.

Leveraging procurement frameworks to foster innovation is a strategic imperative and a pathway to sustainable growth and competitive advantage.

The critical question is this: How can we drive practical innovation every day without waiting for a crisis to push us to transform?


First Assistive
Technology Hub

Innovation Development

Discover more

Mada Center

Ibtechar designs the first assistive technology hub that enables persons with special needs access to technology and innovation.

DRAG

Project Overview

The Challenge 


Design, produce and launch the first assistive technology hub in Qatar and the region during Covid lockdown.

Impact


Since it was launched in January 2022, MADA Fablab has given access to technology and innovation to hundreds of persons with special needs.


The Outcome


Successfully implemented numerous community and technology-based programs specifically tailored for persons with functional limitations (PFLs) and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

OVERVIEW

Mada the world’s Center of Excellence in digital access, founded to promote digital inclusion and create a technology-based community to cater for the needs of persons with functional limitations (PFLs) and persons with disabilities (PWDs) commissioned Ibtechar, Qatar’s leading practical innovation solutions provider, and an active contributor to Qatar’s journey towards a knowledge-based economy, to develop MADA Fablab, the first assistive technology hub in Qatar and the region.

PROJECT

Ibtechar was selected for MADA Fablab because of its expertise and knowledge in innovation, management and design. This hub is an innovative space that promotes the development of cutting-edge technologies and innovation programs for PWDs and PFLs. By empowering persons with disabilities and providing them with opportunities to participate in innovation, this assistive technology hub is helping to create a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

Ibtechar’s commitment to solving problems with innovative, practical, and technology-advanced solutions was a key factor in the success of the MADA Fablab project. 

“At Ibtechar, our mission is to solve your perceived problem with the most innovative, practical, and technologically-advanced solution – guaranteeing your end-user has an unforgettable experience.”


– Nayef Al-Ibrahim – CEO and Co-Founder of Ibtechar


This dedication to providing an exceptional user experience, combined with its expertise in design and innovation, ensured that MADA Fablab was tailored to the needs of PFLs and PWDs , promoting accessibility and inclusivity.


The MADA Fablab project was also driven by a deep commitment to inspiring people with special needs.

“We imagined Fablab as a one-stop hub that provides a range of assistive technology resources and services to persons with disabilities, empowering each person to envision a life filled with innovative and creative ideas. We provide information, technical support, and  access to the latest technologies, helping promote independence and improving overall quality of life.”


– Ms. Maha Al Mansouri – CEO of Mada Center


This commitment to investing in persons with disabilities and providing them with the technology and support they need to thrive was a driving force behind the project and was critical to its success.

DRAG




APPROACH 

Through thorough research, ideation, prototyping, testing, and iteration, Ibtechar developed the user experience and MADA Fablab design, incorporating elements that facilitated accessibility, functionality, and aesthetics, all while providing an enjoyable user experience. 

The use of environmentally friendly materials, locally sourced, taking into account the environmental, social, and economical impact of the project on the local Qatari economy was vital. Ibtechar was committed to delivering a socially responsible, economically viable, and environmentally conscious project. 

The optimization of the supply chain via sound procurement policies required to tackle COVID-19 restrictions was essential in ensuring  the project was completed on time. By streamlining the supply chain, and partnering with Qatari companies, Ibtechar was able to overcome the logistical challenges posed by the pandemic and deliver a quality project.

The recruitment of the right talent to commission and operate Mada FabLab for 18 months was fundamental in ensuring the assistive technology hub’s success. Ibtechar sourced the best talent, making sure the hub’s operations were efficient and effective. The certification of the space by the Fab Foundation to meet global standards was the final step in guaranteeing the hub met the highest standards of quality and safety.


IMPACT

The Mada Fablab project was highly successful in creating innovative solutions that positively impacted the lives of PFLs and PWDs. The participants leveraged advanced technologies such as 3D printing, laser cutting, and electronic workbenches to develop approximately 22 projects. Notable projects included the ‘Talking Tesbeeh’, ‘Smart Grabber’, ‘One Finger Pen’, ‘E-tran’ Board, ‘Adaptive Cutlery Holding Device’, and ‘Dyslexia Reading Bar’.

In addition to developing innovative solutions, Mada Fablab team organized and facilitated 12 workshops since January 2022, providing comprehensive training sessions focused on 3D printing, designing, and electronics workbench. 

Currently, the project has eight committed members who are dedicated to creating meaningful solutions that positively impact the lives of people with similar disabilities. 

This partnership is a successful example of how public-private interests can promote economic growth and inclusivity in society. Fablab is a testament to the power of innovation and MADA share commitment to creating meaningful change in the community.


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