Dubai Council will be catalyst for change

Dubai Council will be catalyst for change

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, began 2020 with a bold vision for the government.

At his request, the newly formed Dubai Council will lead six critical sectors - economy, government services, development, infrastructure, justice and security, and health and knowledge. As part of a drive for government efficiency over the next five years, leaders will need to meet 50 goals, which are being developed.

The aim of this vision is to build on the city’s growth and ensure Dubai remains one of the world’s best cities to live in. How will the Dubai Council achieve this bold goal?

By consolidating various arms of government, the Council will amplify impact. This simple point will have dramatic results across society. Not only does it enable the government to continue deploying the best tech solutions - from blockchain to artificial intelligence - in a nimble fashion, it expands the realm of possibility for the private sector.

If the government can have a dramatic impact on how our city functions, the thinking goes, then we can incorporate similar approaches in the private sector to advance our own businesses. If the goal is productivity and efficiency, we have an ideal example to follow.

The challenge moving forward is choosing the right technologies to incorporate

- Danish Farhan of Xische & Co..

A managed transition

Dubai’s transformation from remote trading outpost to a centre of global innovation didn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of careful planning and the willingness of leaders to translate rhetoric into action. Since the mid-1990s, this approach has married technological developments with best governance practices.

The challenge moving forward is choosing the right technologies to incorporate, while ensuring our collective attitudes are ready to embrace the powerful influence of technology.

We have the right foundation from which technological innovation can positively influence society. Starting with the creation of the Dubai Internet City in 1999 to the Dubai E-Gov portal in 2001, Smart Dubai in 2013 and the Dubai 10X programme in 2017, the latest in tech has been hardwired into the city’s DNA.

Disrupt and innovate

Consider the 10X programme as one example. The programme is Sheikh Mohammed’s call on all Dubai Government entities to embrace disruptive innovation as a fundamental mantra of their operations and to seek ways to incorporate its methodologies in all aspects of their work. The result has been initiatives such as Digital DEWA, which is changing how people deal with vital water and electric services.

The result is faster services and residents that have more time to focus on the important things in life and work.

By consolidating the mechanism of governance, the Dubai Council will increase the government’s ability to collaborate across various ministries and sectors. Technology can have a beneficial role to play in this new form of collaboration with the power of data.

The more easily various arms of the government can access and share data, the more effective their work will become.

The Dubai Council has already put this practice into action with the announcement of the “Design Your Life” campaign, an aspect of a Dh500 million drive to boost the quality of life in the emirate. Community members are encouraged to submit ideas for improvements to their neighbourhoods.

All submissions are filtered through a shared system and directed to relevant government authorities. This model of data sharing and community engagement is just one smart application of innovative technology to the work of governance.

The Dubai Council is also encouraging future economy entrepreneurs with more than Dh1bn in funding to support early startups in a newly created Dubai Future District, which connects Dubai World Trade Centre, Emirates Towers and Dubai International Financial Centre. The Dubai Future Economy Fund will ensure that the goals of the Council are met by growing the city’s technology ecosystem and encouraging further local and foreign investments.

Dubai’s leadership is demonstrating how to make radical decisions to positively impact daily life and improve quality of life. Change is possible, as long as you have the will to put vision into action. This is the narrative of Dubai and we have a part to play in the story.

- Danish Farhan is CEO of Xische & Co..