MBRF concludes participation at the London Book Fair with three panel discussions


The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) concluded its participation at the London Book Fair, which was held recently. During the fair, MBRF, in collaboration with its knowledge partner, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), showcased its most significant projects and achievements in the field of knowledge and highlighted several editions of the Global Knowledge Index and the Future Foresight Report.

The foundation further launched the ‘KnowTalks Series 2022,’ which explores the most prevalent topics in the area of knowledge, featuring a number of notable speakers and global analysts. In addition, the foundation also held in-depth discussions with decision makers and stakeholders in the fields of producing and sharing of knowledge from all around the world, to promote partnerships and collaborations, and continue to support the initiatives that enhance the dissemination of knowledge in societies.

The MBRF pavilion at the London Book Fair had gained immense popularity, as many participants visited the pavilion to learn more about the foundation’s work and listen to the team’s detailed explanations on the main events, initiatives, and projects that helped MBRF stand out in the knowledge field regionally and internationally, such as the Knowledge Summit, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award, the Digital Knowledge Hub, and the Nobel Museum. Additionally, visitors also showed interest in purchasing the many publications, booklets, and brochures that showcase the foundation’s work and its global role in the field of knowledge.

The foundation’s participation in the fair concluded with three panel discussions, as part of the ‘KnowTalks Series 2022.’ The first session discussed ‘Transforming Economies through Collaboration and Innovation,’ followed by the second session that focused on ‘Transforming Traditional Thinking in Light of Uncertainty,’ and the third session which highlighted ‘Women’s Role in Scientific Research.’

Collaboration and Innovation

Laurent Probst, Partner, Economic Development, Digital Transformation, and Innovation at PwC, participated in the first session, titled ‘Transforming Economies through Collaboration and Innovation.’ Probst discussed the importance of promoting collaboration and innovation between countries, in order to raise awareness on future risks and face challenges.

Probst gave an extended presentation on the Future Foresight Report launched by MBRF in collaboration with UNDP, on the sidelines of the seventh edition of the Knowledge Summit, which was held last March. In his presentation, Probst highlighted the importance of determining the best practices and methods to enhance different countries’ transformative abilities for collaboration and innovation, in light of the risks and challenges, especially technological, health, and environmental risks, to ensure their readiness to tackle obstacles and seize new development opportunities.

Furthermore, Probst stated that economies are unprepared for future technological transformations, and that knowledge ecosystems are not strong enough to absorb possible risks in the future. He emphasized how the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the economies’ weaknesses and their inability to respond appropriately to disturbances and unexpected changes, as it left an impact on all countries with varying degrees. Probst also highlighted the critical need for collaboration between countries, with a collective and innovative approach to face changes, to build inclusive nations with stronger immunity against crises.

Transforming Traditional Perception 

The second session, themed “Transforming Traditional Perception – A Guidebook for Decision Support Practitioners”, saw the participation of Bruce Garvey, an entrepreneurship professional. He highlighted vital elements of uncertainty, including the crisis status, time, available evidence, and preparing for the future.

Garvey noted that the difference between certainty and risk is that risk could be quantified. On the other hand, he said uncertainty imposes a state of ambiguity and an inability to expect what might happen. “This is caused due to negligence of weak cues of future risks and challenges, resulting in huge issues. Not to mention that there are some other factors that seem more urgent than others. This is exactly what happened with the warnings prior to Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

He further emphasized the significance of not upholding fixed presuppositions and expect the occurrence of urgent variables that may affect plans and agendas. Garvey affirmed that weak signals should be looked at as future risks, not for the purpose of creating a huge change, but to develop a comprehensive awareness and perception that would mitigate the severity of risks. “Decision makers in institutions also need to handle and understand these cues more seriously and seek help from counsellors. They should further work on continuously updating their information and expectations of the future, to better determine the nature of risks and their management plans. Everything is prone to change in an instant, causing grave repercussions. Contingency plans would not completely mitigate the impacts of risks, but that would be better than having no plans at all,” he added.

Women in Research

The third session, themed “Women in Research: Leading Insight to Action”, addressed the role of women in research and their contribution in the field. Shazia Ginai, the CEO of Neuro-Insight in the UK Ltd, during the session, highlighted her professional experience in the field of research and markets research in various international companies and institutions. 

Ginai said that women are not sufficiently represented in the field of research as there are only one third of female employees in the sector. This percentage, she elaborated, is becoming more and more less in leading positions due to high rates of resignations and not having enough encouragement for women to enter the field. She further addressed the huge discrepancy between the two genders in the field, regardless of the challenges related to the toxic and hostile work environment for women. 

She emphasized that the accomplishment of general gender equality calls for a huge cultural change starting from family and early education, so that careers or leading positions are not viewed according to gender. She also added that men hold a huge responsibility to achieve equality by empowering women’s participation in both jobs and family upbringing.