Shatha Badawi of AInI tells us about a global platform that provides several online training courses and certification programs in the field of Innovation.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Shatha Badawi: This past year has been a roller coaster ride, but it’s been an important year of reflection, and my family and I are trying to stay optimistic. Homeschooling, however, was a whole different story!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded AInI.
Shatha Badawi: I am the CEO and founder of the Applied Innovation Institute (AInI). As a former university lecturer and project manager in the NGO sector, I have long been an advocate for education and women, with a balanced approach to learning, wellness, and empowerment. As the CEO of AInI, the all-in-one eLearning platform in innovation, I aim to make it simple and sustaining for everyone to learn and enrich on both personal and professional levels.
I have navigated a 15-year career in education, building capacities, and managing projects. My graduate degrees in International Business and Human Resource Management from the University of Texas at Arlington pushed me closer towards my goals. Further, I am a Certified Innovation Professional (CInP), Certified Innovation Strategist (CInS), and an Authorized Innovation Assessor (AInA). I work with organizations and governmental entities to conduct innovation maturity assessments and accreditation assessments for Innovations labs, business incubators, and accelerator programs.
Along with my role at AInI, I also serve as a member in the Business and Professional Women Amman (BPWA) and am a founding member of “Single Foster Mothers,” addressing women and children custody issues, divorce impact, and community issues in Jordan. As a former Kickboxer, I see hurdles as cycles of growth that get higher and higher over time; as I go with their flow, I jump from one level to the next. As such, I have committed my entire life to eliminate market inefficiencies that limit opportunities for talented and innovative professionals and women.
How does AInI innovate?
Shatha Badawi: Our business model is based on innovation, which is the key to our success. We innovate through listening, through truly hearing the needs expressed by our customers, and then responding to them. AInI, as disruptive as it can be, disrupted traditional education to establish new markets for learners who are not served by universities in innovation and related fields. Consequently, our greatest innovation at the moment is to ensure that concepts in innovation, big data, digital transformation, and many other topics are available to all professionals, regardless of where they are. We’ve put significant effort into tailoring our products to fit the current pandemic. AInI is designed to meet the new era of innovation trends. Professionals prefer to learn at their convenience and want to tap into new untapped topics. We combined both tendencies and built AInI – the eBoutique for eLearning.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Shatha Badawi: The demand for eLearning has continued throughout the pandemic. We are fortunate that we operate in one of the handfuls of industries that weren’t hit hard; on the contrary, we are set to thrive in such circumstances. We have seen an increased demand for our Global Innovation Institute’s certifications prep offerings that equip our customers to ace their certifications. Additionally, we have launched a COVID Response program to ease the burden of the struggles this pandemic presents. So far, we were able to help many to skill up by offering them access to a course of their interest for free and making our small contribution to help communities.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Shatha Badawi: We have been and will continue to be on an unprecedented journey. Whether we are in good times or bad times, difficult choices are normal. At AInI, we’ve been set up to be flexible in how we work together, and the pandemic has accelerated our remote business. We have learned that a change of direction parallel with the market’s pain points is always essential to move our business from crisis management to sustainability and then to further growth.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Shatha Badawi: This pandemic pushed us to embrace ideation and innovation not only in our business model but also in our working routine. Our team uses a mix of platforms and tools to communicate and collaborate, such as; Zoom, Slack, Trello, the Google suite, WhatsApp, and email. We utilize these tools to share information, discuss, plan upcoming projects efficiently, and drive forward.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Shatha Badawi: There are many competitors and major players in the market, but we definitely have our place. We get ahead by staying true to our core values where the end-customers are the center. It is of great importance for us to stay in close contact with our customers, constantly ask for their feedback on our offerings and make improvements accordingly. At AInI, we focus on unique offerings, best customer service, the highest quality, best value, and agility.
Your final thoughts?
Shatha Badawi: 2020 has been a tough year for us all, yet one that pushed us to reflect on and rethink how to grab opportunities, how to create an impact, and how to innovate. The “Online” is the new lever to reach our customers, engage them and help them achieve their goals. We’re excited by the role our platform plays in satisfying the growing customers’ needs and by the boost we create in their career and professional journey. Not to mention, our biggest hope is that everybody stays safe and keeps a positive mindset.