Dubai sets strategy to be 10 years ahead of any other city

Every agency directed to set up innovation labs and work with disruptive startups.

The Government of Dubai is on a new mission to be 10 years ahead of all other cities, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has announced. The strategy sets out three projects for every government department in Dubai. First, each agency will set up an “independent X-Unit” to find disruptive ways to improve their organisation and its service delivery. These units will report directly to H.H. Sheikh Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. Second, agencies must “develop systems, processes and labs” to trial and scale disruptive technologies and approaches, the government said in a press release. This may also require agencies to find new organisational structures and hierarchies that allow for radical changes. Third, Dubai’s agencies will have to work with “truly disruptive companies” and startups that can offer better services to citizens. Any regulatory restrictions facing such businesses “should also be removed to allow for their uninterrupted operations”, the government said. "Traditionally, governments are known all over the world to be resistant to change and bureaucratic organisations that are last to adopt disruptive innovation,” said H.H. Sheikh Maktoum at the launch on 14 February. “Today’s initiative transforms Dubai into the world’s largest laboratory for the governments of the future." “Today, I am calling on all government leaders and employees to embrace disruptive innovation and find new, creative and truly disruptive approaches and technologies to delivering their mission rather than incremental and minor improvements,” he added. The agencies must present their progress with the three projects to H.H. Sheikh Maktoum and H.H. Sheikh Hamdan in three months. See also: Exclusive: The inside story from the UAE