Creating Excellence

An Outline Document For Discussion

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The Context

The Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) is an initiative of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). Its aim is to support and develop entrepreneurship in the Emirate of Sharjah. The center will be headquartered at AUS.

The establishment of Sheraa aims to provide the youth of Sharjah a platform to share new ideas.

“To help the economy flourish and to be a player in the region and the world, we are launching the Sheraa Center, which reflects our complete belief in the ability of our youth to make a difference and positively contribute in the enhancement of our economy and development of our society.” — Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qassimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq)

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This Document

What follows is an discussion document to explain what we think and how we might help. It is based on our experience in enabling and supporting Entreprenuership on a global scale together with our local knowledge and the existing development of the ‘Academia of Excellence’

This work was wholly focussed on delivering excellence in a business context — promoting the idea of creativity and innovation in the enterprise. Entrepreneurship has been described as the capacity (and willingness) to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. Within that — the entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

Between us we believe we have the opportunity to join forces with people who share the same passion and vision as us — the passion that has driven the work conducted so far in order to bring the Academy to life.

Bringing business and invention together through the transfer of capability and confidence in what matters in business.

A Vision Ready To Be Realised


We already subscribe to the same entrepreneurial vision.

Ours is a vision that augments/complements that which we see being discussed at Sheera. It is already well developed — ready and waiting to be realised and while we have been flattered by many positive declarations of interest, the investment and engagement required to get to the next stage is still a work in progress.

Group Partners has been working with Naveed Syed at specific stages of this journey — in particular we facilitated the foundational discussions — the idea shaping stages — as well as ongoing guidance and counsel over the whole period.

The Design Stage

As a result of the sessions in Dubai we developed a series of frameworks that started to chart the shape and direction of an Academy of Excellence.

At the heart of this was a spirit for entrepreneurialism — a platform for developing people and passion — wherever that might come from and no matter what the subject.

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Creating Space For Entrepreneurialism

The frameworks and the vision is a work in progress — we would be very happy to see it developed further with Sheera. as the value of them will increase proportionately. They — in our view — provide the critical definition and important context for any next phase.

This document provides our independent assessment of what we would suggest as the best program for taking this to the next stage.

Starting With First Principles

There are some overarching principles attached to any successful program of work.

1. Alignment — Multi stakeholder businesses need to have utter clarity on all the key pillars of strategy — at the very least this means values, outcomes, metrics of success, vision, mission and business models — these need to be aligned at the first opportunity.

2. Business Models — In the 21st Century there are multiple business and operational models. These new models/ways of thinking are augmented with technology and partnerships that were historically impossible.

These multiple scenarios need to be fully understood so as to ensure we create the appropriate governance and processes as a result.

Clearly Aligned Values

3. Shared Motivation — The motivations and drivers for all parties must be openly shared as part of this phase of work — so that we can develop value to the next level based on clearly aligned intentions

From the Program Design Perspective

4. Clarity Of Role — A primary requirement for each of phase of work in a comprehensive program is to validate and define the clarity of role — especially in the areas of detailed development and as we get towards the launch and operation of a program.

5. Communication — The program should do ‘just enough’ to allow parties to reach initial conclusions and get ready for subsequent phases of work — typically it’s compressed activity so we need to ensure that expectations and opportunities are clear and aligned

6. Never Make Assumptions — We never make any assumptions in advance. Until work starts it would be wrong to make decisions on the content or eventual contributors of content — expertise, services, tools etc.

Being Clear On The Exam Question

*The ‘Driving Question’ that explains the challenge and will anchor and focus us at each stage

If we went forward we would agree a very clear exam question. The question that best expressed the opportunity we wanted to achieve and the question that by asnswering it would bring most value.

Not Starting From Scratch

If we were to proceed then one of the first things to do would be to revisit the work done so far — this would start remotely with us creating new, updated digital versions of the AoE context.

These would reflect any refinements that we agreed were helpful so that we have a solid baseline for these new discussions.

We Can Only Work Collaboratively

Getting everyone together to co-create the future together is at the hesrt of how we think and work. This enables us to shape opportunity collectively.

Assuming that everyone agrees there is value in going forward we would move quickly into an action plan so that we don’t lose momentum. We never leave a discussion of any type without some clear next steps.

Our working together will tease out what they should be.

1. The Art Of Strategy

A dozen visual albums explaining what we do:

2. The A-Z Of Group Partners

A growing series of long form articles on our work

For further detail contact me at or on Twitter @johncaswell

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Written by

Making Our Difference Make A Difference. @JohnCaswell + @Tifferly.

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