From Idea to Business: Employee Powered Innovation at Majid Al Futtaim

The Innovation Challenge provides a unique opportunity for us to foster a culture of innovation amongst our people.
Galal Ismail
CEO, MAF Ventures
A three day hackathon followed by an intensive five day program, transforming ideas into viable businesses.

Responding To Changing Times

Majid Al Futtaim runs shopping malls and Carrefour Hypermarkets across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia including the Mall of the Emirates, famous for its indoor ski slope. 

Their large physical footprint has given them a distinctive advantage in the retail market, however, with consumer behaviors evolving towards an increasingly digital experience, Majid Al Futtaim wanted to explore how they could be more innovative; both in their customer experiences, and their ways of working.

48 Hours to Create a New Experience for Dubai

As the first phase of the “Next Great Moment” challenge, we created a two day hackathon. This inspired Majid Al Futtaim’s employees to refine internal ideas for new and innovative products and services in just 48 hours.

In addition to generating new and innovative ideas, the event gave employees direct experience applying a more entrepreneurial mindset. It also served to create both internal and external excitement around Majid Al Futtaim's innovative approach.

From over 1300 applications, 83 talented individuals were selected to attend this intensive experience. By bringing together employees from across the company, we reinforced the importance of collaboration to drive innovation and escape the natural silos of the organization.

"From over 1300 applications, 83 talented individuals were selected to attend this intensive experience."

Thinking Big

Each attendee had just 60 seconds to pitch their idea, before teams formed around the 10 most popular concepts.

They then had just two days to test and evolve their value proposition through customer interviews, and industry research. Finally, they distilled their updated business idea into a 3 minute pitch.

Throughout the weekend, teams were exposed to new methodologies; an intensive series of exercises and workshops which encouraged attendees to “Think Big”, introducing them to Global Trends to further inspire their efforts.

Making the Most of Every Minute

We held networking events and icebreakers to encourage teams to utilize the event to meet as many colleagues and industry experts as possible.

Expert pitch trainers taught the teams to present with impact, polishing their pitches, and honing presentation skills.

Meanwhile, serial entrepreneurs and thought leaders were on hand to offer the teams mentoring and further training, inspiring participants with startup approaches to propel them forward.

Ideas to Move You: From Dubai to London

In this supportive, yet challenging, environment, ideas evolved rapidly.
A wide range of concepts were developed throughout this process; offering MAF a choice of radically innovative solutions, alongside those which could be quickly implemented.

Two of the most exciting ideas won the prize of 5 weeks in London with Rainmaking. Here, we created an immersive Pop-Up Lab which pushed their business models, teamwork and delivery even further.

"Two of the most exciting ideas won the prize of 5 weeks in London with Rainmaking."

New Skills and New Business

These teams left the Pop-Up Lab with a new appreciation of Lean Startup approaches, experience conducting customer interviews, and greater insight into working collaboratively in a newly formed team. Equipped with new ways of approaching problems and understanding customer needs they are more able to create meaningful change to MAF's business.

Want to empower your teams to innovate?

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