The environmental sectors often lack the capacities and access to innovations that can sustainably ameliorate the severe challenges that are currently facing the MENA region. New solutions and models of innovation, be it products or services, are needed to tackle water and energy crises and serve a growing market. Developing and bringing to market innovative solutions requires different ways of thinking, investment in research and entrepreneurship, cross-discipline dialogue, and clear mandates to create supportive structures for innovation. In the MENA region over the past few years, awareness of innovation within the water and energy sector has been slowly developing, and there is a nascent innovation community that has the potential to implement innovative projects and businesses and further encourage the growth and sustainability of the water and energy sectors.
Ruba Al-Zu’bi, Scientific Research Manager - Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation
Ruba Al-Zu'bi is leading the Scientific Research Department at Abdul Hameed Shoman Foundation. Through this post, Ruba oversees Scientific Research Support Fund, Arab Researchers Award as well as science-based Innovation support. Prior to joining Shoman Foundation, Ruba served as the first Policy Director at the Ministry of Environment and as the Chief Executive Officer of EDAMA Association for Energy, Water and Environment - the first Jordanian business association in the green technology sector. She also led the Clean Technology Sector Development component at USAID Jordan Competitiveness Program that aimed at enhancing private sector’s competitiveness, creating jobs and increasing exports in the clean energy, solid waste and water management clusters. Al-Zu'bi is active in the NGOs field locally and internationally. She is a founding member of the Jordan Green Building Council and a Plus Social Good Connector with the United Nations Foundation. She was Jordan's Eisenhower Fellow for 2012 and continues to advocate for green innovation and entrepreneurship throughout her journey. Ruba is a staunch advocate for mainstreaming environment into all development sectors, a strong communicator and change agent, and an engineer who is passionate about linking science to development.
Yousef Wadi, Founder - Nestrom
Yousef Wadi is a Computer Engineer with a significant track record in building online products and technologies to empower businesses. His experience encompasses global organizations (Microsoft and Yahoo!) and startups, mainly focused on building scalable products, niche technologies and setting up winning teams that deliver high-end results. Yousef began building his expertise with online products as a contractor for Microsoft, selling online rich media products to global players such as Yahoo through his first venture. Yousef was approached by Yahoo to join as Senior Product Manager, where he spearheaded the MENA focused video-on-demand system, geo-location and geo-service products. Later joining 7awi as Product Executive, part of the founding team and key contributor to moving the offline AWI properties to online properties through managing the planning, technology, marketing, and implementation of the successful transition gaining 1 million unique users in the first 3 months. Currently, Yousef is invested in multiple startups and has a new company “Nestrom”.
Susan Long, Innovation Advisor - Field Ready
Susan’s passion is to make the systems that drive our world function better for everyone. At Field Ready that means devising the programs and building the partnerships to bring ‘manufacturing for the masses’ to the Syrian response, as Field Ready’s network of makers make the things that are needed, where they are needed. Previously she has worked on DFID-funded market systems programs in East Africa, market development and trade analysis with UNIDO and as a strategy consultant in PwC’s Transaction Services.
On the 23rd of September, we discussed how innovation can be better enabled in the water and energy sectors during our second WE talk, held in downtown Amman, Jordan