Dubai launches new lab to promote future-readiness

The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai launched three initiatives aimed to accelerate future-readiness of the economy and enhance private sector participation in developing a competitive policy framework for achieving sustainable business growth along the sidelines of the third ‘Engage DXB Forum 2019.’

The Forum, held under the theme ‘Engage, Foresight, Collaborate,’ brought together over 300 stakeholders including representatives of business councils and groups in Dubai and government decision-makers, as well as the academia.

The new initiatives were designed and developed based on public and private sector feedback and extensive research and benchmarking, with the objective of supporting businesses to keep up with the latest economic trends and prepare for the future in parallel with the government strategy in Dubai.

The three initiatives are: an updated version of the EngageDXB app designed to serve as a communication platform for all businesses registered in DED and the free zones in Dubai; a Future Readiness Study, aimed to assess the impact of global mega trends on business in Dubai; and the Future Economy Lab, a partnership platform aimed at developing learning and creative thinking on the future direction of economy within the public and private sectors and academia.

Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of DED, said, “The Engage DXB Forum is a strategic event through which the Department of Economic Development seeks to add new value by establishing a strategic relationship between the government and private sector to facilitate business processes and enable the two sectors to work closer together towards optimising investments, sustainability, and future-readiness.”

The Forum is a valuable learning experience for companies and the business community in their efforts to develop their business, by bringing together the government, private sector and academia to provide new information, feedback and ideas on competitiveness and sustainability, Al Qamzi added.

Mohammed Shaal Al Saadi, CEO of the Corporate Strategic Affairs sector in DED, stated that the EngageDXB app, which was earlier limited to business groups and councils, now serve all registered businesses in Dubai, enabling them to communicate with government officials and access a wide variety of services. “Businesses can receive updates on policies and announcements as well as propose innovative ideas and suggestions on facilitating business and accelerating economic growth through the app.”

Al Saadi said 164 mega trends were evaluated as part of the Future Readiness Study to see their impact on industries worldwide and how governments are adapting towards the future. The study also examined how global trends will influence 14 major sectors in Dubai and identified more than 100 initiatives that could be deployed across five future themes.

“The Future Economy Lab is part of our efforts to identify the key challenges facing the business sector and to seize opportunities that contribute to our government’s vision of transforming Dubai into a future economy. The Lab will develop recommendations to help maintain Dubai’s economic competitiveness in a global economic landscape dominated by Industry 4.0 and slowing growth,” Al Saadi added.

Their Excellences Engineer Mohammed Ahmed Al Shehhi, Undersecretary for Economic Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Economy, and Abdullah Al Basti, Secretary General at the General Secretariate of the Executive Council in Dubai, provided an overview of the policy reforms and incentives being introduced federally and locally. The impact of the reforms and incentives on supporting businesses to go past obstacles and facilitating projects in Dubai was also discussed.

Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, explained the strategy being adopted by Dubai towards building a future-ready economy in an interview with Alexander Williams, Director of Future Economy in DED.

A panel discussion on the future of the retail sector was also part of the Forum and panelists included Andrea Gordon, Director – Retail, Dubai Design District; Rahul Misra, Associate Vice President, Retail Business Group, Eros Group; Dr. Ali Al Azzawi, City Experience Advisor, Smart Dubai Office; Dharmin Ved, CEO, E-Commerce at The Apparel Group; and Dr. Cathy Sheen, Professor, University of Wollongong. Muna Al Nuaimi, Expert at DED’s Future Economy Department moderated the session.


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