We are passionate about Saudi women being engaged in our digital transformation plan: Rania

Collaborative Innovation


Saudi Gazette

INNOVATIONS have been taking a significant part in Kingdom’s Vision 2030. This was one facet that was deeply discussed at MISK's panel discussions due to its importance in contributing to the fast developments the Kingdom is currently witnessing. In this regard, Saudi Gazette met with Rania Rostom, chief innovation officer at General Electric (GE) MENAT (Middle East, North Africa, &Turkey), to talk on innovations, digital transformation and more.

Rania, soon after she finished her panel discussion on MISK stage, said: "It is an honor to be in such a place that calls on its youth to be part of the positive change taking place as is in a great number of the world’s top countries, including the Kingdom. Today (Wednesday) at MISK we have signed a MOU with the Saudi National Digitization Unit, which is closely affiliated with the Ministry of Communications and IT, that focuses on digital industrial innovations and how we can take this forward. Kingdom is progressing wonderfully in education, energy, health, transportation, and when I look at the youth they are so motivated to move up the ranks."

The panel Rania was in was named "Collaborative Innovation". One of the key points she stressed was the importance of engaging different parties in the innovation process.

"GE has been in the Kingdom for very long years, but definitely at such a crucial time like this we want to see the youth coming together along with us to formulate solutions, focusing on what we try to solve, being customer-centric in terms of approach, how can we bring, create, and ideate the right technology solutions and how we can bring in more partners to the table to progress faster and better. When I say partners, I mean startups, entrepreneurs, other organizations, academia, but this notion of collaborative innovation being inclusive and tangible is how we progress according to the Kingdom's Vision 2030," she commented.

When asked about her definition of innovation, she expressed: "Innovation is about serving a purpose to what we are creating, innovating, and inventing. Having a customer, that can be an entity, organization or an individual, can let us be focused on certain issues to solve or develop key areas. That happens through asking questions on who is going to help? What impact can it have? What value can it add?"

When asked to elaborate on how GE has been working in our digital transformation journey for the previous five years, she said: "5 years ago, we embarked on investing in creating what is today GE digital business and so with that we started to think how to bring the software and hardware together to see how the digital and physical worlds are going to merge. Moreover, we invested in creating industrial strength predix platform, one where we can build apps that help the industrial work become more efficient.

“For example: if customers can have better visibility into their operations, they can better predict what is going to happen in energy, power plants, and oil and gas, and so what we are doing is taking down time to an absolute minimal because customers can forecast something is going wrong before it even goes wrong which will help do predictive maintenance. In short, software-infused machines and creating the apps that are able to collect data, translating this data into a meaningful insights, and deploying those insights back into your operation for better efficiency and productivity."

On GE’s effort in adopting different educational and training programs to enhance women participation in the workforce, Rania was of the view, "We are very passionate about empowering women in the workforce in the Kingdom, and we have done this through a big number of initiatives and programs such as: We partner with the women center of the Chamber of Commerce in Eastern Province to train them on the future set of digital skills, we have got 25 women in a STEM mentorship program very focused on engineering, we have a good number GE manufacturing and technology center in the Eastern Province, they are producing and innovating. We are looking forward to having more in the future especially after they have proven their capabilities in the labor market."