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Unleashing The "Governeurs," The Entrepreneurs Within Our Governments The more visionary governeurs we have, the more promising our governmental organizations are to excel, embracing innovation, and fostering sustainable growth.

By Hashem Daghestani

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Around the world, governments are changing, rapidly evolving, and realizing the importance of adopting innovative technologies, solutions, and practices to overcome daunting challenges, and grow promising opportunities. Indeed, they are on a continuous mission to be proactive in promoting economic growth, social welfare, and environmental sustainability.

And the essence of these rapid movements is centered around attracting leaders with a distinctive and innovative mindset to drive these aspirations. We might refer to them as entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, or, as I prefer to call them, "governeurs."

Governeurs are not just a vital component but the heart of an organizational transformation. Their presence is akin to the flicker of fireflies illuminating a complex ecosystem, guiding the way toward meaningful change within public organizations. These changemakers possess a unique blend of passion, leadership, and expertise that drives progress forward. Their tireless efforts and unwavering dedication enable the organization to thrive, and evolve toward a brighter future. Without governeurs, transforming these public organizations would be an unattainable dream.

Governeurs face a distinctive set of complexities, bureaucracies, and political games that are unique to the public sector. Moreover, unlike entrepreneurs, their mission is not solely driven by profit, but it is centered around serving their society. As such, their ideas, products, or innovations are considered a public domain, and consequently, they shall expect no credit or personal gain. Thus, it is crucial for governeurs not to become overly attached to their ideas. Instead, they should adopt a broader perspective, concentrating on pursuing meaningful impact.

Governeurs thus must navigate the complex web of stakeholders, deeply comprehend all of the demands, and balance the needs of the present, with a keen eye toward the future. To achieve success, governeurs must embrace a transitive mindset that enables them to think beyond the current challenges, and aspire toward a brighter tomorrow. This requires a willingness to embrace innovation, a data-driven mindset, and seeking and examining new, ingenious solutions that can serve the greater good. But despite the challenges they face, governeurs remain steadfast and unwaveringly committed to positively impacting the world.

As governeurs embark on the challenging journeys ahead of them, it is imperative that they immerse themselves in the unique ecosystem of the public sector, and embrace the multitude of those components that construct and contribute to the transformational change that they are aspiring toward. The following components exemplify the essential building blocks that pave the way for effective and distinguished governeurs:

  • THE VISION To ensure the success of any governmental startup or initiative, it must be connected and grounded in a comprehensive and supreme vision. Such a vision constantly reminds the governeurs of their ultimate purpose, ignites their devotion, and drives them toward achieving their ultimate intent. A visionary framework like the Saudi 2030 Vision, for instance, serves as a lighting beacon, reminding governeurs to be committed and resilient in the face of any obstacles or barriers that may arise.

  • THE GAP Like any regular startup life cycle, governeurs must adopt a humancentric approach by leveraging all available channels to listen and address people's pain and demands effectively to identify the critical gap that exists within the system. As a result, they cater to a broader spectrum of beneficiaries, addressing diverse needs, and being influenced by a wider array of stakeholders, unlike business entrepreneurs who tend to focus mainly on well-defined, narrow, and niche target audiences. This identification and in-depth listening exercise enable governeurs to effectively bridge the gap with sustainable, impactful, and innovatively tailored services and products.

  • THE LEADERSHIP Having the right and supportive leader is indispensable and vital for governeurs to do what they have to do. Governeurs must be entrusted with sufficient authority and autonomy to feel empowered and enabled to innovate and deliver. The leader's role is thus to design an incubation space and an encouraging environment, allocate adequate resources, and provide mentorship for governeurs to accelerate and succeed.

  • THE TEAM Governeurs must consistently spot other governeurs within the organization, attract promising profiles, and cultivate exceptional talent to formulate the aspiring golden team. To succeed, they need to scout individuals with a unique and distinctive set of skills and leadership traits. These must be individuals who are intellectually curious to learn, proactive, agile, accountable, and consistently deliver with excellence, as well as able to brighten and thrive amid uncertainty and instability circumstances.

  • THE TRIPLE BALANCE Governeurs must continuously navigate through their complex multidimensional stakeholders' grid, each with its own set of expectations and objectives. To achieve the desired outcomes, governeurs must skillfully maintain a harmonious balance among these diverse groups. These stakeholders can be categorized into three vibrant groups; upper level (decision-makers ), bottom level (grassroots ), and finally, horizontal level (governmental, private, or global bodies ). Effective governance necessitates the delicate management of these various stakeholder groups, ensuring trust, adaptability, understanding their expectations, and resolving conflicts.

  • THE RESOURCES Allocating sufficient resources and budgets is crucial for enabling governeurs to focus on their initiatives and build their governmental startups. Entrepreneurs usually spend excessive time securing funding, and onboarding new investors to join their ventures, which may deviate them from perfecting and delivering their promises, and hindering their progress. Thus, to avoid such hassle, they must leverage the value of being under an empowering governmental entity and concentrate primarily on their mission to accelerate, foster innovation, and maintain growth.

The more visionary governeurs we have, the more promising our governmental organizations are to excel, embracing innovation, and fostering sustainable growth. Thus, it's essential to create an attractive environment for those innovative leaders and enable them with trust and belief to lead us to the future.

Related: The Silent Revolution: Striking A Balance Between Innovation And Regulation

Hashem Daghestani

Vice President, Mahd Academy

Hashem Daghestani is the Vice President of Mahd Academy, Saudi Arabia’s national sports academy that aims to discover and develop talents within the Kingdom. He is also a Board Member at Leaders Development Institute. 

Daghestani previously held the position of Deputy Director General at Leaders Development Institute, and he also served as a Board and Founding Member of the Rowing Federation. He also assumed the Director of Active People role at the Saudi Mass Participation Federation, known as the Sports For All Federation. Furthermore, Daghestani was the Acting General Manager and Director for numerous entrepreneurial departments of education, promoting entrepreneurial culture and innovations at Saudi Arabia’s Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority, also known as Monsha'at. Daghestani was also the founder and General Manager of the MITEF Saudi competition and the General Manager of Business Development and Entrepreneurial Programs at Community Jameel. In addition, he was a Founding Member and General Manager at Albaydah Foundation.  

Daghestani has also effectively served as a consultant, judge, and mentor for numerous entrepreneurial organizations and competitions, both locally and internationally. Throughout his prosperous career endeavors, he gained an extensive experience and expertise in sports, education, entrepreneurship and innovation, micro-finance, regional development, and youth empowerment. An accomplished author, he wrote Dam, a book on social development and sustainability, and has been a columnist for several local newspapers. Boasting of an impressive academic background, Daghestani holds three master's degrees from prestigious institutions: technological entrepreneurship from Northeastern University, Boston, USA, innovation and entrepreneurship from HEC Paris; and a master's in education from Harvard University. 

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