February 2016

Smart Government and the Future of Work

According the report Shaping the Future of Work, Technology’s Role in Employment published by The Economist and SAP and launched at the World Government Summit, governments and big data will have an increasingly fundamental role in shaping the Future of Work, pairing market data with human resource insights to find, place and grow employees — increasing opportunities for businesses and individuals.

Speaking to the role of government in shaping the future of work, Her Excellency Dr. Aisha bin Bishr highlighted Dubai’s commitment to leading in the global Smart Economy, and the UAE’s remarkable and agile approach to governance — reshaping how the government serves its people by placing the individual at the center.

Read the full text of Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bin Bishr’s conversation with The Economist on The Role of Government and the Future of Work below:

The Role of Smart Government for the Future of Work

The Economist: Your Excellency, we have learned this week of the many remarkable programs and projects that Dubai and the UAE and undertaking to pioneer the government and the city of the future. Can you speak to the role of the government and digital government in shaping this transformation?

Her Excellency Dr. Aisha bin Bishr: Here in Dubai, we believe that the ultimate goal of a city is to promote the happiness of its people. The landmark announcements shared this week from our Federal Government are further evidence of our leadership’s ongoing and remarkable dedication to this goal.

As the government office charged with overseeing Dubai’s smart city transformation, Smart Dubai is founded in the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to make Dubai the happiest city on earth. We are committed to embracing technology and innovation from all sectors to achieve our mandate to promote people’s happiness.

The Smart Dubai Office is pioneering a collaborative, agile and lean governance approach to achieve our citywide smart transformation; breaking down silos to enable our teams to work together for the future of the UAE.

Collaborating with strategic partners from the public and private sector, academia, and entrepreneurs, we are making Dubai the most seamless, safe, efficient and impactful city experience for residents and visitors; creating access to economic opportunities and improved quality of life.

The Economist: How does a smart city contribute to economic opportunity for its residents, and what role does the government have to play in increasing access to these opportunities, particularly in today’s digital landscape?

The rapid advancements in smart technology are unlocking remarkable new opportunities for governments to leverage the power of digital connections to better serve, protect and promote the quality of life of its people.

For a city to thrive, its people must thrive. By tapping into the power of digital connections, city governments are able to open the door to new opportunities for all city stakeholders.

The Smart Economy is a core dimension in Smart Dubai’s citywide strategy. Collaborating with our strategic partners, we are shaping policies and enabling new smart initiatives to promote innovative economic conditions fuelling entrepreneurship and global competitiveness for Dubai.

City data will play an increasingly fundamental role in a smart economy, impacting access to opportunity for all economic stakeholders:

For a job-seeker, accessing optimised route-planning data to arrive on-time to an interview.

For an employee, analysing customer experience feedback data to improve her performance.

For an entrepreneur, reviewing customer footfall patterns to determine the best location to open his business.

For a global investor, analysing local market segment trends to evaluate a potential new investment.

The Dubai Data Law, announced this October, part of the Dubai Data Initiative from the Smart Dubai Office, lays the foundation for a citywide platform for the exchange of open and shared data between the government, the private sector and entrepreneurs to leverage valuable insights from data to improve and design new services for Dubai.

Our goal is not to publish the most data, but to unlock the greatest value from data, creating new opportunities and improving quality of life for all.

In the cities of the future, local governments will play a fundamental roll in implementing and enabling technology innovation to promote access to opportunity for residents and visitors.

The Economist: How does the division of influence between central and decentralised governance approaches impact the delivery of services? Is Dubai pursuing one approach over the other?

As His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid tells us, “government must be flexible and capable of leading change.”

Traditional silos are no longer effective. Agility and collaboration are instrumental to enabling the sort of transformational change - both in operations and mindsets - that this new era of smart connected technology demands.

However, balance and strong leadership are essential: The Smart Dubai strategy is aligned with the Dubai Plan 2020 and the UAE Vision 2021, committed to achieving a smart, sustainable society in line with our leadership’s vision for our city and nation.

The Smart Dubai blueprint and roadmap are defined centrally by the Smart Dubai Office in collaboration with our partners, and distributed across the Smart Dubai Establishments an our Strategic Partners for implementation.

Today, we have centralised most of our government service delivery, through what we call the ‘Government Service Bus,’ a collection of over 2000 government services that are managed by Dubai Smart Government and utilised by over 60 government departments. With the GSB, a new government entity can access 70% of its operational requirements from day 1.

Through Smart Dubai, we are encouraging service providers from across the public and private sector to contribute new city services, to compliment existing services and open new areas of benefit to entities and individuals alike.

By pioneering this agile and collaborative approach, Smart Dubai is able to strengthens partnership through a shared vision; reduce redundancies; and distribute implementation according to proven areas of expertise, to ensure the greatest possible impact for all stakeholders.

The Economist: The leadership of the UAE has been very effective at using social media as an engagement tool for some time, as evidenced by this week’s events. Can you speak to the role of Social Media in the Smart Dubai approach?

According to a report released yesterday by the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government, 70% of the population of the UAE are active on social media in all areas of life, including engagement with the government.

Social media is an essential tool for engagement with our residents and visitors, and our government has been very active on social media for some time, as exemplified by the remarkable session with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed on Monday night.

Social media represents a remarkable opportunity for government leaders, decision makers and customer service personnel to listen and respond to all residents and visitors. Aided by social media, government service providers can now shape their services to meet the needs of the people, rather than the other way around.

And, Smart Dubai launched on Social Media just this week, so you can also follow us at @smartdxboffice on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, where we look forward to connecting with, hearing from and engaging with all of you are we continue our work together to make Dubai the smartest and happiest city.