The Strategy of Perseverance: or Being too Stubborn to Quit!

* Update: the chapter is in press and the book can be purchased here:

Today we signed the copyright papers for our chapter. OUR CHAPTER – on innovation – in the UAE – when not a whole heck a lot of people have written about it.

Did I tell you that the first author is an Emirati young woman, Mariam Omran Al Hallami? That she started the research process two years ago and has won a best student paper award for the first draft of the research – and now we continued it into a chapter – a good chapter – on innovation in the UAE.

The title of the chapter is “Innovation processes in the Middle East: an Emirati Perspective” – Mariam (through my brainwashing I guess) believes that understanding the process will allow researchers to build better processes and policy makers to build better policies to support innovation. Now, I will post another story about what we wrote about closer to the release date of the book (planned for the AOM Conference in August in Boston – where we have organized a workshop on developing research eco-systems in the Middle East). Today, I want to write about the process – and the strategy we developed to work together to research and write.

It started two years ago in August, Mariam wrote me from Switzerland saying she was bored – I was in Montreal being Auntie (not bored but wanting to work too). She wanted to work on something, did I have a suggestion. Well, I did – write a paper for the AIB – on innovation processes. I know she had worked with her Dad on filing the patents for his invention/innovation – the floating villa – she was in the best position to write a case study on it!  The Floating Villa website.

The Floating Villa against an Abu Dhabi skyline

First step – I sent her a ton of articles to read and gave her key word searches to do – she did – I told her to write notes – she did – I told her to work on a research question (and we did for the entire 6 weeks before we handed in the first paper). She wrote the interview questions, rewrote them, did the interview, developed an outline, etc., etc. All this time I am in MontrĂ©al and Mariam is in Switzerland (and then Abu Dhabi). The paper was sent, she presented it at the conference thanks to her wonderful brother who chaperoned her – and she won best student paper!

The story doesn’t end there – last AOM I saw a Call for Chapters – I sent it to her and she said yes, let’s do it! So we write an proposal – it was accepted – Yeah! But now we have to write the chapter….

So, we brainstormed over gmail and gtalk – how would we adapt it – I wanted a strategy focus of course – so that is what we (sorry Mariam, she did ) – but I thought the way it was written was too linear, so I suggested changes – organize the Strategic Plans by themes. “What themes” – “Uhm, you tell me!” I did what research advisors from the beginning of time did – I forced the student to do it herself – and of course she did. I think there may have been a grumble or two about co-authors and actually writing J But she persevered through the slog of analysis – and she did it well.

Then we needed more words – what would we write – we found more words of course and synthesis and more recommendations – and it got done (under the wire, but it got done). Then the corrections came back, not major, but a lot of formatting to the style of the editor – ugh – but it got done.

And now, nearly two years after that first email we will have a peer-reviewed chapter. With Mariam as the REAL first author, not there because she is an Emirati, there because she worked hard and wrote the darn thing!

So – to future students I will make you read it… to learn about innovation in your country, but also to show you that you can do it – it won’t be an instant thing, but it is possible to add to the body of knowledge about anything, it just takes hard work, creativity and guidance from a professor. But you can do it too!

1 comment:

  1. Loved it! And I get easily inspired by people like Mariam, who works hard and influences others to do the same. I wish one day to buy a beautiful and motivating book written by the future author Mariam. There is a company based in London - Midas - that helps in publishing books (editing, marketing), they participate in Sharjah book fair and are currently in the process of opening their office in Abu Dhabi ( I'm not a big fan of such things but honestly I've got totally inspired by Midas founder Tony Mulliken. Best of luck.