SIDF Academy offered this professional educational program to support growth through innovation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s business and industrial ecosystems. Aspiring leaders from organizations within SIDF’s network were invited to apply for this three-month program that was designed to deepen understanding of digital trends and provide program participants with skills in innovation leadership. The objective was to help industries and teams manage the evolving economic and industrial landscape within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Organization implementing and funding the solution

SIDF in partnership with Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD).
Organization funding the solution: SIDF.

Start & end date of the solution

The solution started in 2014, and will continue to play an important role in CDB’s support for the development of less-developed areas and SMEs post-crisis.

Target group

Saudi dynamic professionals interested in distinguishing themselves by joining a premier cohort of rising leaders throughout Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

Main aims of the solution

This program aimed to provide business managers and leaders in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with critical approaches and skills that would empower them to cultivate innovation culture and practices, navigate and manage uncertainty in the digital age, and effectively transform their organizations to achieve success.

Mechanisms of the solution

  • The program was developed by Stanford University faculty and is being delivered through the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD).
  • It offered curated, self-paced, online courses from highly regarded SCPD programs featuring Stanford faculty and industry experts.
  • It included 4 live virtual webinars with Stanford faculty to explore critical topics (Innovation Mindsets, Digital Transformation, Strategy and Value Chains, Leadership and Teams) and interact with participants via Q&A. Participants who attend and participate in a minimum of 3 webinars and discussion sessions will earn SCPD’s Statement of Participation.
  • 3 cohort discussion sessions facilitated by SCPD and SIDF to help participants apply insights to their jobs and build networks and learning communities among peers.
  • Optional capstone project presentation session—those who took part in it earned the SCPD’s Certificate of Completion.

Results achieved so far

A range of topics were delivered to help manager support teams and organizational transformations during this unprecedented time. Topics include innovation strategy, creativity, digital transformation, supply chain management, team leadership, and new organizational structures.

Key challenges in implementing a COVID-19 solution and steps taken to mitigate them

The audience embraced the virtual format, but the in-person classroom is still a favorite because of ease of discussion and networking. SIDF Academy is discussing having in-classroom sessions as alternative solutions to really show their audience they are understood.

Main lessons learned

The Academy has found the discussion in the classroom better and that networking is really important in these times.

Sustainability of the solution and potential to be replicated

The SIDF Academy has found that the program outcome lies in developing a network of peers with a shared language and vision to address organizational and business challenges and strategies to succeed in a rapidly changing environment. A high participation demand and a positive feedback led to the decision to sustain the program in the 2021 year.