Emirates Innovation Journey 23-25 March and Cercle International on 23 March
During the last days of the World Expo, X-PM organised an Innovation Journey in Dubai for international business clients wishing to better understand the role of the Emirates in a rapidly developing region.
The programme included a first day of immersion with the presence of the Dubai authorities, with a round table of the Cercle International on regional investments, and a visit to the campus of a university; two other days were devoted to business meetings and the visit of the exhibition.
Here are some of the lessons learned:
The Emirates at the heart of a rapidly developing region
If Singapore plays the role of a hub in South-East Asia, bringing together the regional headquarters of multinationals whose operations are spread across the various countries that surround it, the Emirates play the same role at the heart of a region that stretches from the Indian subcontinent to South Africa, including Turkey, Iran, Israel, the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The human and commercial potential of the area is set to attract more investment as economies decouple and some trade relations between the West and the East are questioned.
In his speech to the Cercle International, Anthony Hobeika, president of the strategy consulting firm Mena Research, emphasised the new opportunities in renewable energy, water, health, education, logistics, digital and e-commerce.
Dubai a global hub
In this region, Dubai is the hub, served by its world-leading transport and logistics companies Emirates and DP World, as well as ubiquitous marketing of the city. Investment is encouraged by the political stability, financial system, ease of setting up and running a business, security, standard of living and quality of life as well as low taxes that attract young and top talent. For example, Bynance, a global crypto-currency trader, has just announced the establishment of its headquarters here.
Of the 10 million inhabitants of the Emirates, nearly 90% are foreigners from all over the world, including some 28% of Indians, who can be found in the commercial and financial functions of most companies.
In fact, it is as if the Emiratis, who own the country, are calling on the best concepts and talents in the world to implement their most advanced ambitions and ideas, drawing on the best that each country and each company has to offer. The Emirate of Dubai, which has no oil resources, must constantly reinvent itself to remain at the forefront of modernity. The authorities have a 50-year plan - 2071 will be the centenary of the Emirates creation-, regularly amended, covering the economy, energy and the environment and making extensive use of the digital technologies of blockchain and artificial intelligence. Companies from all over the world are welcome to propose their best concepts and solutions in this framework.
And if we accept that disruptive innovation is first and foremost the application or integration of new concepts, then it is in the Emirates that the ambition, the responsiveness, the funding, the space, the lack of history, the connection with creators, which further accelerate this innovation, reside today. This will soon be demonstrated by drone taxis and "Smart Cities". And it is no coincidence that multinationals are setting up their research centres here.
Happiness in the Emirates…
For visitors in a hurry, Dubai may seem extravagant, excessive and uneducated, but this is not the opinion of those who live and work there. Whatever their nationality, they consider themselves better treated than in their home country. And all nationalities collaborate in the success of the Emirati model without the rivalries between the leaders of their respective countries having any impact on their behaviour.
In 2016, the Emirates set up a Minister of Happiness. Various indicators measure happiness and programmes are launched to increase it. In fact, the Emirates is the happiest country in the Middle East. Perhaps because it is not possible to cheat with the rules, as facial recognition, big data and artificial intelligence help, any breach is immediately detected and sanctioned. Maybe because these rules are ultimately good and make life easier. Perhaps also because the leaders show every day that they are making them evolve in the direction of greater tolerance and happiness for everyone. This is demonstrated by the evolution of laws concerning marriage or inheritance or the convergence of the Muslim and Western calendars decided at the beginning of the year and implemented in companies in less than a month.
As for the Dubai World Expo, is it not also the expression of a happy future to which the 200 national pavilions are contributing? Can we extend this vision and suggested collaboration between peoples beyond what the Emirates are teaching us? The future will tell.
Cercle International X-PM