UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 6
Creativityand Innovation in Business
Innovationplays a critical role in UAE. The region is adopting innovative waysto diversify its revenue sources and hence, avoid over depending onoil. Individual companies are contributing to the innovation agenda.One such company is Experian. Experian depends on knowledge transfer,research and development, and a creative culture, to boostinnovation. As a result, it is able to compete in an effective mannerin the UAE market as well as the rest of the world.
Thefuture of United Arab Emirates is dependent on how innovative thecountry is. With its oil resources dwindling, UAE can maintain itsprestigious status only by being innovative. Individual businessesand the Government as a whole must come up with new ways ofsupporting the economy. Great innovations that are enablingdiversification are being witnessed in Dubai. Dubai’s hospitality,ICT, and real estate industries are thriving due to innovation.Individual companies are at the forefront in driving these changes.One such company is Experian UAE (Experian, 2016).
Experianis arguably one of the most creative companies in the world. In 2014,Forbes magazine recognized it as the 97th most innovative company inthe world (Experian, 2016). Recently, Banking CIO recognized it asone of the Top 10 providers of security solutions (Experian, 2016).The recognition further served to highlight the innovative culture ofthis company.
ExperianUAE, the local subsidiary of UAE PLC, has significantly benefitedfrom the creative culture of its parent company. Located at DubaiIslamic Bank Building 01, in Dubai Internet City, the companyprovides analytical, marketing, and informational services toorganizations and consumers. Credit rating, debt management, anddigital marketing analysis are some of the specific services itoffers.  Experian faces competition from both local andinternational companies. Most providers of credit management andanalytic services are a subsidiary of international companies. Cofaceand Moody Analytic Middle East are top competitors of Experian UAE.These two companies are subsidiaries of international firms(Experian, 2016).
Currently,Experian is enjoying relatively robust performance that isattributable to its innovative culture. However, there are concernsthat the current recession may affect its performance. Its businessmay reduce as most of its customers cut down on what they mightconsider as non-essential. Nonetheless, it may offer more opportunityas more business and consumer strive to manage better their credit.
ExperianInnovativeness canbe explained using innovation studies and theories. Knowledgetransfer is one of the main factors that have made Experian UAE to beone of the most innovative companies in UAE. According to(Schlehelmilch, Diamantopoulos, Kreuz, 2003), knowledge transfer isthe process of transmitting information, technology, expertise,capabilities and experience related resources from one place toanother. Knowledge is transferred from a knowledge base to newlocation. To have an even more impactful knowledge, the transfershould be two ways. For instance, a parent company can transfertechnological expertise to its subsidiary. At the same time, thebranch should transfer market information to its parent company.Doing so will ensure the parent company provides technologicalexpertise that is relevant to the market (Puhan & Vogel, 2009).
Thiskind of knowledge transfer usually occurs between Experian UAE andits parent company, Experian PLC. Experian PLC has branches locatedin different parts of the world. All these branches often collaboratein sharing ideas, knowledge, discoveries, and any other type ofinformation that boost their innovativeness and capabilities ofserving customers. For instance, Experian`s Data Labs in London, SanDiego, and San Paolo are instrumental in providing Experian with thetechnological expertise that assists it in serving its UAE customermore effectively. Through the knowledge received, UAE branch can comeup with leading ways of providing data analysis, credit rating, andcapital optimization services to its customers (Experian, 2016).
Schlegelmilchet al., (2003) theory of how knowledge is driven, is also evident inExperian UAE. According to Schlegelmilch et al., (2003) innovation inan organization is run in two ways, namely externally and internally.Becoming innovative because of knowledge transferred from otherExperian branches is a good example of how external innovation occursin Experian. Employees, organizational culture, management practices,and research and development department, among others, drive internalinnovation (Schlegelmilch et al., 2003 Herrera, 2016). Managementpractices that do not only encourage innovation among staff, but alsoinvestigate trends and ways of becoming innovative can significantlyboost innovation process within the company. Employees that embracethe innovative attitude of the management and suggest ways ofperforming better are also a great asset to the innovative process.Well-funded research and development department that are operatedeffectively can quickly recognize trends and advice the generalorganization on how to be more innovative (Herrera, 2016).
Mostof these practices are present in Experian UAE implying innovation isalso driven internally in the company. Experian PLC encourages itslocal organization to implement its global strategy on a local level.To be specific, its global strategy involves adopting an innovativeculture whereby managers work closely with their employees todiscover new ways of promoting innovation. Local managers areexpected to replicate this approach on their local subsidiaries.Managers at Experian UAE, thus, work with their employees to not onlyserve their customers effectively but also develop innovation that isrelevant to their local clients. The local employees of Experian UAEprovide managers with critical local knowledge that is essential inunderstanding the local market. Experian UAE also adopts best hiringpractices advocated by UAE PLC. As a result, it can hire the mosttalented workers, those who can support and further advance itsinnovative culture (Experian, 2016).
Inthe field of research and development, Experian has made significantadvancement. Its research and development capabilities are linked toits hiring practices. Like its parent company, Experian UAE hireshighly qualified staff. Most of its Research and Development staffare the Ph.D. data scientist and analyst. As a result, it can come upwith innovations that ensure it provides superior data analysissolutions (Experian, 2016).
WhileExperian UAE arguably enjoys some form of autonomous from its parentcompany, this independence does not appear to be sufficient. ExperianUAE is highly dependent on its parent company innovation. Currently,this approach seems to work well. Nevertheless, its long-termsustainability is a source of concern especially, considering Phamand Vogel (2009) findings established that parent company could leadto innovation dilemma. This refers to a situation whereby the parentcompany becomes too big to develop effective innovations that arerelevant to its subsidiary. If subsidiaries were not accustomed todeveloping fully independent innovation, such a situationcould destabilize their innovation capabilities (Puhan &Vogel, 2009).
Innovationplays a critical role in a company’s success. Companies that inventenjoy long-term sustainable success. Experian UAE is one of the mostinnovative enterprises in the UAE. It has acquired its creativeculture from its parent company. Through knowledge sharing amongdifferent Experian PLC subsidiaries, the local arm of Experian cangain knowledge, skill, resources, and capabilities that reinforceinnovation. On a local level, Experian UAE management encouragesrevolution, hires innovative staff, and has an effective research anddevelopment capabilities.
Asalready noted, Experian UAE largely depends on its parent company forinnovation.  Experian UAE should focus more on its innovativeagenda. The Agenda that would allow it to progress smoothly evenafter the parent company, due to one reason or another is unable tomodernize quickly. Documented evidence suggests the innovativeness ofa company may reduce when an organization becomes relatively large.
Experian.(2016). Welcometo Experian.Retrieved from http://www.experian.ae/en/index.html
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Puhan,T. & Vogel, R. (2009). Solving the innovation dilemma by creatingorganizational think tanks. TheInternational Journal Of Entrepreneurship And Innovation,10(4),291-300.
Schlegelmilch,B.B., Diamantopoulos, A., and Kreuz, P. (2003) Strategic innovation:the construct, its drivers, and its strategic outcomes.Journal ofStrategic Marketing,11(2),117-132.