One of the most common reasons for companies to create apps is to increase customer engagement, provide a better experience and ultimately, generate growth. However, it is rare for organizations to develop smartphone solutions to accommodate various employee’s needs.

That’s why Axis Partners got curious about the One App by Dubai Holding. This solution is specially designed to provide workplace services with the aim to ease HR processes, increase internal information flow, and boost employee satisfaction.

Even though aware of the value their employees bring to the business, many companies still lack tangible actions towards talents’ recognition. Therefore, we wanted to explore what is different about Dubai Holding and their initiative to empower employees with such a solution.

To find out more about the app, I hosted a conversation with Neetan Chopra – the Chief Technology Officer of Dubai Holding. Neetan has rich experience in leading digital transformations and improving companies’ business models through customer experience, operational excellence, and transformative culture. He informed this article with first-hand insights and the leadership mindset necessary for successful innovation.

An innovative approach to People Management

One App was built to make Dubai Holding HR staff-related processes more straightforward, allowing them to leave approvals and handle other management tasks. One App also comes with an e-commerce platform that allows employees to access a variety of rewards and discounts from Dubai Holding Group brands. Moreover, the app works as a communication channel to engage the entire Dubai Holding community with relevant information and entertainment.

The role of a leadership in innovation

“Purpose is what guides us, Passion is what drives us” – Robert Michael Fried

In his book Leaders eat last, Simon Sinek defines the Circle of Safety as trustful community humans subconsciously need to succeed in life and business.

The key emotion rooted in the concept of the Circle of Safety is trust. According to Simon, we are not designed to survive without community support and belonging.

an image of peoples' hands showing trust as a the way of building a culture of innovation.

When your team feels trusted and trustful, stress declines, fulfilment rises, and the willingness to collaborate and work for the greater good becomes natural.

Neetan managed to design this inner circle after years of hard work and dedication. Now, he would say: “It’s about us as leaders touching emotions because passion and belief can move mountains.”

He believes that to win in the marketplace, you must first invest in the workplace and create a positive environment for employee satisfaction. Neetan believes that innovation is about infusing ‘future back’ thinking in the organization.

Creating communities of passion takes time, discipline, and resilience, as he shared in our conversation. A true leader creates an environment of support while providing employees with the right coaching and the freedom to innovate. Investing in training and mentoring is essential.

Business thinkers like Gary Hamel indicate that the top-down approach to organizational culture and innovation are in conflict. Hamel also states that innovation cannot be commanded or controlled but must come organically. The closer the innovators are to their customers the better.

To build an ecosystem that breeds innovation, you need to ignite the journey and give it momentum. The system needs to take a life of its own, according to Neetan. If you manage the process well, the innovation will come from within the organization and inspire employees to constantly improve CX.

Innovating from the inside out

People look at the board covered in stickers with innovation ideas.

People tend to perceive innovation as a mystical activity that requires incredible skill. On the other hand, I believe it is a discipline. Innovation is not a job of the few, but the responsibility of the many.

According to the above-mentioned book by Scott Anthony, the culture of innovation starts with enhancing creative behaviors:

  • Curiosity – Question the status quo and constantly search for better ways to do things.
  • Customer obsession – Relentessly seek to develop an ever-deeper understanding of the ‘jobs to be done’ of customers, employees, and stakeholders.
  • Collaboration – Incorporate cross-functional expertise resourcefully.
  • Adeptness in ambiguity – Expect iteration and change, be ready to fail, take risks.
  • Empowerment – exercise initiative, leverage resources, empower the team to make decisions.

Do you want to know more about the culture of innovation? Stay tuned to read next week’s article, where we will share more from Neetan on this topic:

  • Lessons on Leadership and Resilience
  • The 3 key Innovation building blocks and how to transform a vision to reality
  • Converting a vision into tangible results
  • Gaining sponsorship