In January of 2020 the GDAC team was appointed by the Dubai Future Council on Blockchain (part of the Dubai Future Councils initiative launched by HH Sheik Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum in March 2018) and Smart Dubai as the main partner to the Dubai government initiative on creating a comprehensive future foresight analysis on the future of emerging technologies (Like DLT’s) in Dubai’s most viable sectors.
Since the blockchain boom around 3 years ago, Dubai has been extremely active in the emerging technology space, from their Dubai Blockchain Strategy mandate for 2020, to their Dubai 2021 Paperless Strategy. This foresight initiative brings a strong focus on the future of the region and how Dubai can play a leading role in creating a preferred emerging tech driven future.
Foresight is used to create both awareness about the external environment and also to enable strategists, industries, cities and nations to pre-emptively react to changes and disruptions. Foresight is not a prediction tool, but rather it is a process, which allows for the identification of discontinuities, pinpointing of technological trends, assessing of promising emerging technologies, and also navigation of future business opportunities. This process involves methods and techniques for gathering, assessing, and interpreting relevant information and supporting decision-making, - in order to help foster a preferred future through collaboration.
Additional objectives are to provide early warnings about potential threats, and support planning and shaping of the strategy. Foresight helps to validate these early warnings, evaluate the possible strategic impact, and provide recommendations, as well as build networks around certain issues or problems.
Conducting a foresight exercise on Dubai’s emerging technology innovation will help to cultivate a new generation of solutions, stress the possibility of different future states, and facilitate cooperation in growing the region’s productivity and economic growth through technological implementation and favourable policies.
The aim of the engagement is to work with government departments, local communities, leaders and SMEs, helping to foster conversations, bring to light new opportunities and position Dubai as a leader in the broader emerging technology global stage.
Since the teams appointment at the start of the year, they have engaged with multiple stakeholders in Dubai from both the public and private sectors in a number of key industries (Financial services, trade and logistics, real estate and construction, transportation and tourism) to perform a deep environmental scan (Political, economical, social etc.), identify gaps and opportunities and also gain a sound understanding of the fundamental bottlenecks and challenges within the ecosystem.
They have been looking at new futuristic use cases to be implemented and actioned in the Dubai private and public sectors and also how emerging technologies can be used to facilitate a more seamless citizen experience and information flow between and within the public and private sectors. The team was able to identify over 54 use cases, which have now be refined and prioritised to a leading 20.
These use cases will be presented to the Council to help define and outline the action plan as to how Dubai can help to position itself as a leader in the Blockchain and broader emerging technology space; with a focus on addressing more structural, fundamental opportunities. This includes rethinking blockchain-native infrastructures, governance models, ecosystems, business models and technology initiatives.
GDAC has also been engaging with a number of local and globally based industry leaders and experts to help bring new perspectives and iteration to their work and identify best practises for areas of future development focus.
Overall, this initiative is a great additional stepping stone for Dubai's emerging technology roadmap and GDAC is more than honoured to have been invited to take part.