Under the patronage of HRH Prince Faysal ibn Bandar ibn Abd’ Al-‘Aziz Al Sa’ud, governor of Riyadh, Saudi Aramco participated in the second International Asbar World Forum.
Muhammad M. Al Saggaf, senior vice president of Operations and Business Services, affirmed in remarks during the opening ceremony Saudi Aramco’s strong belief in the role creativity and innovation play as a driving force toward progress and prosperity.
“Saudi Aramco is pleased to continue our strategic partnership with this great forum after the success it achieved in its first session,” Al Saggaf said.
With 11 sessions and more than 60 speakers, the forum is a framework for innovation and to spur discussions that result in policies and initiatives while using information and communication technology to reduce the cost of economic activities. Key topics are demand, innovation and policies, organizations and knowledge, and acceleration toward a knowledge society.
When discussing Saudi Aramco’s support of creativity and innovation, Al Saggaf made note of the company’s model over the past several years.
“This model is based on four main pillars. First is supporting the innovation culture and influencing young people’s thinking patterns by guiding them toward creativity. Second is supporting entrepreneurship. Third is sustainable investment in research and development. And last, but not least, is enriching and empowering our human potential,” he said.
“Saudi Aramco’s efforts to support a culture of innovation yields positive results,” he continued. “This was particularly reflected in the number of granted patents, which have increased by twentyfold in less than 10 years — from only nine patents in 2009 to 175 patents last year. This placed the company in third position among international oil companies — and we strive to reach first place in the next three years.”
Al Saggaf also spoke about the Saudi Aramco Center for Entrepreneurship “Wa’ed,” noting that it acted as an incubator for young peoples’ ideas and innovations across various sectors. “Since its inception, the center has allocated about SR278 million to support 96 companies,” he said.
He also shared with attendees the fact that Saudi Aramco had initiated the In-Kingdom Total Value Add program through which the company looks to achieve continuous growth in local content in goods and services, to double the percentage from 35% to 70% by 2021.
In addition, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture was a strategic partner in the forum through a lecture and presentation titled “iThra Center Experience ... from an Idea to Reality.” The Center also had an interactive exhibition showcasing its most important initiatives and programs.