September Spotlight: Anitha Alappat Regional Director ME

1.    Tell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East.
I have been associated with this region for the past 25 years. I was brought up in Abu Dhabi and did my Primary and Middle School from Abu Dhabi Indian School. I moved on in mid-90s to complete my high school in India, and from then till 2010, Abu Dhabi was my summer vacation home! I moved to Al Ain in 2010 with my husband, and later to Dubai in 2012. I have an undergraduate degree from BITS Pilani, a master’s from Purdue University and an MBA from the Indian School of Business. Over the years I have worked with General Motors, SunEdison (erstwhile MEMC) and Amba Consulting in sectors spanning from automotive manufacturing to semiconductors to education consulting. Simulations, product marketing, operations, consulting and training are some of the domains I have been exposed to so far.

My heart lies in education and lifelong learning so I have dabbled in these spaces from 2006 onwards.

A few months back I plunged into Learning & Development full time and joined KNOLSKAPE as Regional Director to expand Middle East business.

2.    How would you describe the culture of your business?
Our culture is best described by two words: Experiential Learning. This is reflected both in how we build and grow our organization as well as how we partner with our clients. Knollies, as our associates are called, being experiencing our products right from hiring stage through our flagship CodeDetective simulation or the KMAT quiz! For our clients we offer pilot programs so that every stakeholder gets to experience our solutions and potential business impact before they make a commitment.

3.    What are the biggest challenges in the next 5 years?
This region has over 75% mobile penetration, one of the highest in the world. With the onslaught of digital, the HR and Learning space is currently being disrupted. Middle East region is also in the foray, with many regional organizations now investing in HR technology and systems, engaging in non-traditional modes of learning and making learning possible anytime, anywhere. Technologies such as Virtual/Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence have already entered the HR space in areas such as on-boarding. For an organization, the biggest challenge would be to ensure that they build on this momentum and sustain it to deliver real, long term business impact. Entry of Gen Y and Gen Z into the workforce means that engagement must now be individual and not generic. This poses an additional challenge.

4.    What are the skills and competencies that you would need to train in order to meet the regions talent requirements?
This region is a melting pot of cultures, generations, and experiences. Therefore the skills and competencies needed are multifaceted. I would place developing leadership skills as one of the top needs. This is essential for building a robust leadership pipeline right from front-line all the way to C-suite. Adding to this would be scaling up digital competencies to engage a digital-savvy customer base and thinking big to expand business boundaries.

5.    What is your Philosophy?
We believe that the best way of learning is by DOing. Aligning with this philosophy, our solutions are designed to be immersive, engaging, mobile, business-needs driven and inclusive.
KNOLSKAPE is an award winning immersive gamification and simulation software company focusing on talent transformation. Using experiential learning products, KNOLSKAPE helps organizations attract, grow and retain talent. Global Fortune 500 companies and Top-10 B-schools use KNOLSKAPE’s products and solutions for on-boarding, training, assessments and talent engagement.


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