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Smart Dubai Leads Delegation for a Culture Innovation Training Tour at Silicon Valley with ‘Innovation Lab’
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Smart Dubai Leads Delegation for a Culture Innovation Training Tour at Silicon Valley with ‘Innovation Lab’

by Insight World EditorJune 1, 2019

Smart Dubai led a delegation of its employees on a tour of Silicon Valley, California, from April 14-18, 2019, in partnership with Scandinavias’s Innovation Lab, to visit some of the world’s most pioneering companies and explore the next wave of innovation.

The tour included educational sessions and training workshops on the latest technologies and advanced smart solutions. Smart Dubai’s Director General H.E. Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr headed the delegation, along with H.E. Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment; and H.E. Younus Al Nasser, Assistant Director General at Smart Dubai, CEO of the Smart Dubai Data, with senior officials and executives from Smart Dubai.

“This programme we have organised in collaboration with Innovation Lab provides the participating delegates with access to remarkable success stories and approaches to innovation from Silicon Valley – the innovation and tech capital of the world,” said H.E. Dr Aisha. “It is an opportunity for them to tap into these eye-opening advancements and breakthroughs, and explore advanced solutions and sophisticated workplace cultures that are tailored to a high-tech environment like the one we have at Smart Dubai.”

“We have all learned a lot on our tour,” Dr Aisha added. “San Francisco – and Silicon Valley, in particular – has an environment that supports new ideas, and provides the right platforms for these ideas to grow. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, they have established the culture for it: a culture that embraces innovation and provides equal opportunity and a culture that strives to say yes to new ideas and avoids dismissing them.”

“Participants were encouraged to bring back their learnings and experiences and understand how to implement them within their own work environments in Smart Dubai,” Dr Aisha added, concluding: “This tour also offered a platform for us to convey Dubai’s success in smart technologies and happiness policies, which have cemented the emirate’s global lead in the sector, and set us on the right path towards our goal of making Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world.”

Day one of the tour kicked off with an introduction to Silicon Valley and the innovation ecosystem in place there, followed by an advanced workshop on beyond budgeting. This session was facilitated by the Chariman of beyond budgeting and VP in the Norwegian oil and gas company, Equinor.

The second day began with a half-day workshop with Google X – Google’s most prolific and radical innovation team – exploring advanced drone technology with one of their moonshot companies called, Wing. We got a glimpse into how the future of delivery will look like, and how the use of drones will disrupt current infrastructure.
 The day ended with a two-hour workshop with Google’s Head of Innovation, Frederik Pferdt, on how to future-proof Smart Dubai.

On day three, independent research and development laboratory Otherlab led the delegation on a tour showcasing eye-opening innovations and new organisational innovation formats that will be common in the coming years. The day then continued with a session where integrated architecture, design, planning and consulting firm Gensler presented various ways to shape a space that encourages innovation.  Next on the agenda was Juan Carlos Velten from the Innovation Lab.  J.C. Velten is a renowned Silicon Valley-based digital branding expert. His focus was to talk about failing, and how smart Dubai can create a culture were failure is a part of their goal towards more entrepreneurship.

On day four, the delegation went on a tour led by Autodesk – 3D design, engineering, and construction software – that demonstrated how humans in the future will be collaborating with robots and working alongside artificial intelligence programmes. Janet Crawford, Keynote Speaker, Culture Designer, Executive Coach, and Expert on Unconscious Bias and Gender Issues, then took over, offering participants insights into Pixar Animation Studios’ culture of innovation. Next on the agenda was a workshop with former founder of Autodesk, Bill O conner. Bill O ́Conner has formerly been one of Autodesk’s top profiles, and an expert in the future of work, innovation and strategy. He has created the Innovation Genome Project, that defines innovation from the dawn of civilization up until now
- and can predict some of the next movements we will face – and what questions we should be asking ourselves to gear our innovation machines (organizations) to drive the 21st Century.

The day then concluded with a workshop with the team from Innovation Lab, where delegates were split into four groups, each with a clear project to work on.

The fourth and final day was set for a teambuilding exercise in the wilderness with California Survival School.

Innovation Lab is a Scandinavian knowledge centre for new technologies with activities in research, product development, and entrepreneurship. Smart Dubai had organised a training programme in November 2018 in collaboration with Innovation Lab, where 30 Happiness Champions from more than 25 Dubai Government and Non-Government entities went on tour to Denmark. The trip followed the success of 2017’s Service Quality Training Programme held at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida.

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Insight World Editor