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Dubai Future Experts Program Enhances Future Planning Skills to Shape Dubai’s Future over next Five Decades

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Dubai Future Experts Program

Dubai Future Experts Program, launched in December 2019 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), concluded its fourth module that aims to activate the role of national talent across various government entities, in shaping Dubai’s future over the next five decades.

Module 4 focused on enhancing the skills of participants to predict scenarios and future trends, and to develop a visual map encompassing the key factors that are likely to influence Dubai’s vital sectors in the next 50 years (2021-2071). Furthermore, it examined the cross-impacts and implications of those factors to come up with strategic recommendations that are applicable to the work of various government entities in Dubai.

The module, titled ‘Future Integration and Delivery’, was conducted virtually through 21 live sessions that were divided into five core sessions and 16 supporting sessions. Paul Savo, Professor at Stanford University and Chair of Future Studies at Singularity University, structured the sessions that aimed to empower participants to gain insight into short- and long-term forecasting, identify critical and contextual factors affecting future changes, and enable them to build cross-impact analytical skills and effective foresight communication skills.

Speaking on the initiative, Saeed Al Gergawi, Head of Dubai Future Academy, said the Dubai Future Experts Program that was launched as a collaborative effort between the Executive Council of Dubai and the Dubai Future Foundation, focused in its fourth component, on enhancing the skills of the participants through practical application.

Al Gergawi said: “Through identifying the most prominent changes likely to take place in the future, linking the expected scenarios to specific time periods and measuring the rate of the changes, this course helped us design strategies that can significantly contribute to the success of Dubai’s government entities in anticipating the future.”

He added: “The program reflects the ambitions of the Dubai Future Foundation in empowering government employees with the tools and applications necessary to make future foresight an essential element in designing solutions and proactive plans to address challenges.”

For his part, Paul Savo said: “The participants of the program demonstrated a remarkable ability to acquire the necessary skills in future foresight, and to translate this knowledge into systematically integrated plans and studies. The exercise led to building a comprehensive visual picture of the future advancements expected in various sectors in Dubai that will be of significant value in informing planners how best to leverage them to serve society and the economy.”

The module was spread across four phases. In phase one, the participants worked on studying the most important future sectors that contribute to shaping the future of Dubai Government and classifying them into 13 fields. These include Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics, health, biotechnology and medicine, culture, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), transportation and space, networks and computing, economy and finance, energy systems, environment, governance and geopolitics, media and entertainment, knowledge and learning, and manufacturing.

In the second phase, participants focused on identifying the most prominent future trends based on the skills they acquired during the program. These include forecasting to study expected changes and designing and developing individual and group scenarios based on a set of proposals, recommendations and studies.

The third phase witnessed forecasting and identifying trends within a 50-year timeline (2021-2071) with the aim of developing a comprehensive analytical methodology. In the last phase, the participants worked on studying trends and defining future sectors and preparing a timeline or a map for the future that includes strategic recommendations for government agencies in Dubai.

The participants reiterated that the Dubai Program for Future Experts was a qualitative addition to their expertise, and enabled them to acquire a set of innovative tools for drawing future scenarios. They noted that they would aim to transfer the experiences and skills learned into their daily scope of work across respective sectors.

Abdalla Al Ali from Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC), stated that his participation in the fourth module of the program strengthened his skills in visualizing the future on a creative map spanning innovative factors and ideas that can be combined with one another across several sectors at different times. He said: “The Dubai Future Experts Program contributes to sharpening the skills of participants in exploring future opportunities and challenges, adopting innovation at an early stage and implementing unique initiatives that will ultimately contribute to enhancing Dubai’s pioneering global status.”

Azza Al Muhairi from Dubai Airport Free Zone, said: “The program helped hone our skills and expertise to enable us to implement what we have learned in our workplaces and to contribute to shaping the future of Dubai. During this course, I learned how to apply a very useful tool called the Delphi Map, which facilitates the collection of opinions and proposals as part of brainstorming sessions and reviews the main factors or stages that contribute to and affect the future of Dubai. It then classifies them according to the years or time periods at which they are expected to take place, and converts this data into illustrations to show what the journey of Dubai will resemble, 50 years from now.”

Sarah Galadari from Dubai Healthcare City Authority indicated that her participation in the Dubai Future Experts Program is one of the most important milestones in her career, as it provided her with an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences with participants across several vital sectors in Dubai, including healthcare, economy, and security, among others.

Notably, the Dubai Future Experts Program, which extends for a year-and-a-half, includes three stages, each spread across a six-month duration, allowing participants to receive a degree of ‘future analyst’ and advance to ‘future executive’ and finally to ‘future strategist’. A unique methodology is used to involve participants in the development and implementation of the program gradually as they move from the first to the third stages.

An elite group of experts, scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs from all over the world participate in preparing and presenting the program in the areas of future scenario planning and projections, future foresight methodology and narrating future stories.