Injaz innovation camp: learning through partnerships and having fun!

Today my Strategy class participated in the Injaz Innovation camp workshop. I had my class participate last year, and the experience was so positive for the students I was looking forward to participating again.

Injaz holds many such programs around the UAE - you can learn more about them at their website here: Injaz UAE. The unique thing about Injaz is that their programs combine public/private sector volunteers, members of academia and Injaz employees to provide students with unique, hands on and fun learning experiences.

The company that volunteered their awesome mentors today was Kier Construction - a UK company with a growing presence in the Middle East and Asia. Their website is here: Kier Construction

The students that attended were largely "recruited" by myself and Dr. May Al Taie and were for the most part Business/IT students. Dr. May is the first female Emirati faculty we have at Zayed University, she is a role model to our female and male students and I am very happy to say she is a colleague of mine with a similar teaching philosophy and a great love of our students.

I will tell the story through photos - but read the captions for details!!!! I tweeted much of the day - but here is a chance to see all the photos in one place :)

Ready to start the day!

Ice breaker and team building... try to break into the closed circle... this was a strictly males only activity!

The volunteer couldn't break this group apart!

Building the highest tower with paper - it helped that table 5's volunteer was an engineer.... especially when they were no longer allowed to speak with each other as the "build" progressed! (Table 5 won this challenge)

Everyone working together....

A different construction technique....

Brainstorming about the skills needed and used for the different team building activities.... (my favorite skill they listed was "spying" which we explained is actually called business intelligence!)

Lunch is served! 
Interviews about nonsense concepts... a great activity...

After lunch it was time to develop a sales pitch for a business model - the tower is still standing!

Great interactions with our Kier Construction mentors!

A brief introduction to Kier Construction by the UAE General Manager - and insight into working for a growing and dynamic private company

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Group 1 presentation Medical Appointment application (the eventual winners!)

The pitch presentations! Group 2 presentation Zyara app for visitors to Abu Dhabi

Pitch 3 for the Zhama app to let smart phone users know where the traffic is

Group 4: an industrial/construction zone for Abu Dhabi

Presentation 5: street light sensors to save electricity
It was a great day... thank you Injaz and Kier Construction for providing our students an opportunity to learn through the interaction of the public and private spheres! Looking forward already to the next one :)

Qasr Al Hosn: A field trip to the past to learn about the strategy of the future

This blog post is a bit late... but last month we organised a trip to the wonderful, amazing, totally great heritage festival held for the second time in Abu Dhabi - the Qasr Al Hosn Festival. Here is the link if you would like to take a look at the website: Festival website

We had agreed at the beginning of the semester that we could have an evening trip - as we cannot miss any other classes... so the first group organised the event for us to learn about the past, learn about organizing big events and also learn about the implementing the strategic vision of the country.

The organizers of the trip arrived early and were very wonderfully surprised to see the VVIP visitors arrive!

His Highnesses :)

After we met at exactly the appointed time, our first place to visit was the Lest We Forget exhibit - which is part of the the National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates for la Biennale di Venezia. You can visit their facebook page here: Lest We Forget

Waiting for a few more people....

Listening about the exhibit (me tweeting about it)

Discussing the photographs...

A typical Emirati livingroom with heritage furniture from the 1970s (awesome design concept Marco!)

Posing for photographs for the map of the UAE

Relaxing and looking at the photos...

The Lest We Forget book

Family photos - which brought back memories of their own photos from home
After the informative and inspirational visit to the exhibit we entered the festival itself and learned about traditional ways of the past from experts and practitioners...

Learning about traditional dyes from the past - for kandoras and abayas...

The hubara - an endangered bird that if you see in the wild and phone it in you receive a reward!

Learning about dates and gawa... 
Dr. Connie learning how to weave....

The master palm tree rope maker - I tried and failed miserably!

Learning from our elders... 

Old trucks and uniforms - the mission of the Abu Dhabi Polic is the same, their tools and tactics are different now...

Dancing and singing for a wedding (I never get to see the men's side of weddings, so I loved this)

The Hosn Fort - built in the 18th century...

The tour was in Arabic - but I had several translators...

Abstract photo of the Fort

Being interviewed about their experiences....

Group photo!

Our rope making guru in action!
In total I went to the festival three times... it was so wonderful seeing Emirati families with the children wearing their traditional dresses and expatriate children learning about the traditions of the country they live in. I bought some great gifts for myself and my Aunt (who was visiting from Canada) bought material for a traditional dress she had made up before heading home.

Honestly I can't wait for next year!!!!