KUWAIT: Local nonprofit Nuqat kicked off a two-day “The Human Capital” forum yesterday at Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center, comprising of talks and panel discussions by speakers from different fields with a common vision to highlight the importance of investing in creativity to make a social impact.
In his opening speech, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Acting Minister of State for Youth Affairs Khaled Al-Roudhan said moral values and ethics are more important than education. “Success or your level of education can never be thought of as more important than moral values. The journey is actually more important than the destination, and if no ethics are involved in the journey, then the destination has no value at all. A person has to feel good about how they achieved their success in order to feel good about it,” he said.
Roudhan praised Nuqat’s effort in creating a new world of creativity in Kuwait, adding that it is time for the government to notice the amount of effort that Nuqat is spending and provide a good environment for creative Kuwaitis and develop and invest in human assets.
Hussa Al-Humaidhi, Co-founder of Nuqat, explained that creative economy is about doing what a person loves to do in order to create jobs as a social impact. “Kuwait is not only going to be an economic center, but also a center of culture and creativity,” she vowed. She added that most jobs will disappear after 10 years and replaced by technology, but the creativity of humans is the only thing that will not be replaceable. “To do what you’re creative in makes a person do their jobs with passion and love,” she said.
Among her suggested solutions, Humaidhi said that the current education has to be replaced with a creative one. “Values of flexibility shall not only be taught at school and university, but also at work. Everyone has the responsibility to develop themselves. We can anchor and build a solid future for Kuwaitis,” she added.
Bader Al-Kharafi, Vice Chairman and Group CEO of Zain, spoke about “enabling a creative culture”. “I believe that a successful business is all about creative teamwork. At Zain, we believe that the employees are the ones who make the company succeed or fail,” he said. Kharafi said Zain started the Zainiac program where it invited all employees of Zain from all countries to offer their ideas. “We were shocked by how much creative ideas they had,” he said.
“Education in Kuwait kills creativity. Kuwait spends $14,300 per student annually – so we do not have money issues, but we’re spending all the money in the wrong path. We need new fields to study such as data science, coding and complex problem solving. When you get STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) along with arts (art, design and humanities), you get a whole new creativity,” Kharafi added.
He revealed that Zain will invest in creativity, as children aged five use 80 percent of their creative potential. “Our cooperation with Nuqat is to invest in children of employees and involve them in a creative learning program. If we succeed, we will then take it to the next level. ‘In-Dig-Go’ is about discovering new experiences and exploring them, then launching themselves into the world,” he said.
Kharafi added that Zain is also working with Injaz to support the younger generation’s ideas. Also, ‘Generation Z 2018’ program for Kuwaiti graduates focuses on developing soft skills to foster collaboration and team effectiveness, develop creativity and enable innovative thinking, thereby preparing graduates to enter the workforce and contribute successfully.
Furthermore, Kharafi said that Kuwait must support women. “Countries that support gender equality have a higher GDP (expected at $12 trillion by 2025), and will lead to an increase in the happiness factor,” he said, adding, “65 percent of graduates are females, but we do not see them in the work market. That is why we need to give them flexible hours, home working opportunities and equal opportunity and salaries. But to change the laws first – parliament has to approve them, but the parliament has only one woman. So we need to change ourselves and give more chances to qualified women in Kuwait to be leaders.”
Nuqat is a nonprofit that organizes and develops workshops, seminars and cultural events throughout the year to nurture curiosity in kids and adults. Once a year, Nuqat’s flagship conference attracts thousands of participants from all over the world to discuss the current state of creativity in the Arab world.
By Faten Omar