Emirates Post Group has taken major steps in embedding and nurturing innovation throughout the organization. We talked to Ahmad Al Badi on how the company is succeeding in making innovation a daily lifestyle.
The “Chief Innovation Officer” position is a novel, unusual one, especially in the government sector. Can you tell us more about it? What are your main responsibilities as a CIO and what makes your role so unique?
Through my role, I support innovation across Emirates Post Group and establish an innovative culture through educating the staff on the importance of innovation, in addition to engaging them as a part of this system.
In addition to documenting key innovation processes, I create their framework and support the group’s strategic goals through innovation and adopting internal or external initiatives through applying the best practices.
What makes this role so unique is that it supports change processes and affects the overall workplace environment, which makes this role’s functions directly related to all change operations.
You work in a sector that has witnessed dramatic changes in the past few years. What is your strategy for maintaining the innovation spirit across Emirates Post Group?
We, at EPG, have developed a strategic goal for establishing innovation across the group, and we have also developed initiatives that support this goal in order to turn innovation into a lifestyle at work.
Moreover, we have developed a general framework for the innovation system at EPG, which determines all innovation aspects and ensures the continuous presence of our innovation spirit. Through this framework, we engage all EPG employees in the system and initiatives, in addition to appreciating and rewarding them.
Do you believe artificial intelligence will somehow affect the postal sector?
Like every other sector, the postal sector is affected by artificial intelligence, especially when e-transformations require the support of AI as well as human intelligence. That mainly serves in accelerating analysis and supporting change and decision making, which in turn help the business sector overcome the main challenges it faces.
How do you encourage your team at EPG to innovate?
Engaging and appreciating our teams are two of the greatest motivators, and continuous learning and facing challenges are the main pillars to achieving innovation.
What is the approach adopted by the Emirates Post Group for supporting the UAE government’s innovation strategy?
The group has dedicated its capabilities to supporting one of the UAE’s main goals, which is innovation, through developing an innovative work plans and operational initiatives that ensure the advancement of portal and delivery services in the next 5 years. That is why we have developed initiatives that support operations associated with the virtual world, such as supporting e-commerce processes and last mile delivery.
The UAE Stamp Shop is one of EPG’s innovative e-commerce solutions. Can you tell us more about it?
As part of implementing our e-transformation strategy, we are currently developing an e-store for Emirati stamps as a means of helping philatelists learn about the latest stamps, as well as helping clients order the stamps they need online without the need to visit our services offices.
Can you name a few more innovative e-commerce solutions which the Emirates Post plans on launching in the next year?
The group is currently working on shifting to e-commerce through developing the IT infrastructure and geographic information systems according to a five-year plan during which we advance and upgrade our systems and tools, including smart devices, sorting machines and tracing systems. That will allow our customers easier access to our services, especially in easily requesting and tracking packages.
Can you quickly introduce us to EPG’s smart service, e-POBOX?
E-POBOX is an electronic box which allows users to view electronic copies of their communications, as well as their consumer services bills.
We are currently working on improving E-POBOX to allow users to pay and archive these bills, in addition to many more features which will make the use of our online services much easier.
How would you rate the innovation environment in the UAE? And, in your opinion, how can it be improved and further enhanced?
The UAE innovation environment is one of the best environments, and we can easily witness that in the continuous development and change in all sectors. The country’s structure was designed to embrace all these innovations, and the government has developed a general framework to organize them. The government has also engaged all sectors and community members in this innovation system and empowered them to express their opinions and support the decision-making process.