By Dr. Almas Tazein, Limited, COER

I read somewhere, ‘If you wish to see how wonderful the world is, the international city of Dubai is one of the windows to this world!’ But attaining this distinction takes grit, an act of herculean courage to challenge the best, and the right spirit to surpass it! It requires the obstinate will to learn and excel, and eventually become victorious. Before anything else, it requires the celestial fire, called conscience. And all of this reflects every year in the inspiring DUBAI WE LEARN, a movement under the aide of the Dubai Government Excellence Program.

The TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking methodology and certification system by the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research, New Zealand, forms the orchestrating framework of Dubai We Learn (DWL). This empowers the Dubai Government entities with a novel opportunity to carve and refine their systems and processes, leading to agile and long-term performance improvements.

With the aim to stage Dubai as an epitome of qualitative excellence for all global future smart cities, the 5 pillars of the DWL initiative are 1. Organisational Learning 2. Customer Centric 3. Transformational Change 4. Innovation and 5. Impact.

After the previous successful 1st Cycle (Dubai We Learn Book – 13 Benchmarking Case Studies) and 2nd Cycle (Dubai We Learn Book – 11 Benchmarking Case Studies) of DWL, the 3rd Cycle commenced in February 2019, and closed with a spectacular Grand Finale on 22nd December 2019, at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, Dubai. For the Dubai Government entities, nothing could end the year of 2019 with such exuberance and new hopes for a scintillating future for Dubai than this day. MIGHTY CONGRATULATIONS and a roaring round of applause to all the ten Dubai We Learn project teams of 2019 on being awarded their TRADE Benchmarking Stars and Proficiency Certifications!

Figure 1: An Impressive End the Dubai We Learn 2019 Journey!

Click here for access to the video of the Final Summit

Second from left) Dr. Hazza Al Nuaimi, Coordinator General – Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP) addressed the audience in his motivating opening speech by stating that, ‘It is alright to learn from international best practices because we achieve more when we share more!’
(Third from left) His Excellency Abdulla Al Basti, Secretary General, The Executive Council, Dubai, presented the trophies and TRADE star certifications to the Dubai We Learn teams

To equip the project teams with the right tools and the techniques, there were 2 batches of Training Sessions in TRADE methodology held in February 2019 between 18-20, and 25-27. To gauge the progress, guide them with the necessary feedback, and encourage constructive discussions between the ten teams, four Knowledge Sharing Summits were held throughout the year – conducted in the months of April 2019, July 2019, November 2019, with the Final Summit in December 2019.

Before the team presentations that were to ensue at the Final Summit, Dr. Robin Mann – Director, COER, thanked the project teams and the audience by announcing that the 3rd Cycle of Dubai We Learn has set an unprecedented example with the teams displaying 100% participation in all the DWL activities throughout the year and teams even arranging additional learning and sharing activities with the other teams. Considering the shortened time of DWL this year, the achievements by all teams have been exceptional, and they will have a chance to resubmit their projects in May 2020 to upgrade their stars and certification after more best practices have been implemented and benefits have been shown.


Figure 4: The Judging Panel

(Left) Mr. Arndt Husar, Senior Public Management Specialist (Digital Transformation), Asian Development Bank, Philippines –
“Benchmarking helps in gauging what good ideas we can take from one area to the other. So, context is important, take what is adaptable. DWL always impresses with a high quality of benchmarking activity, seeking out what offers interesting comparisons. It’s very organized and very professional. It seems to deliver real and very ambitious results. The teams who end up with 7 stars basically demonstrate that they are going beyond just benchmarking, they actually implement and evaluate, at the role model level for others. I am always very happy to participate as there is also a lot of learning for the judges in what happens at DWL. I hope that Dubai continues to do this benchmarking activity, having built a lot of internal capacity; DGEP could potentially look at how to leverage people that have experienced DWL to act as an internal resource as they already have experience.”

(Centre) Professor Dotun Adebanjo, University of Greenwich, London, United Kingdom –
“Management skills are extremely important for leaders; the focus should be on the internal and external customers – both. It is crucial. Over the years, I have seen great improvements in the quality of benchmarking proficiencies and benchmarking skills of the participating teams. The projects have had a very significant impact on Dubai’s society and economy, and the health of the people. One of the outstanding projects last year was the Dubai Health Authority project which is helping to tackle diabetes within Dubai. I think if you replicate these sorts of projects across many entities over the years, it will have a major impact on society, and I have been very happy to be involved with DWL.”

(Right) Dr. Woon Kin Chung, Previous Head of Singapore Productivity Centre, Singapore –
“Benchmarking is engrained in public sector organisations in Singapore. From an internal perspective, before measuring for benchmarking productivity in a specific area, first measure where the entire organisation stands. This is my first time here as a Judge. Dubai We Learn has really set a benchmark on how benchmarking initiatives for multiple organisations should be coordinated and facilitated. To see public sector organisations being so committed to all these innovative benchmarking projects is very laudable. With organisational learning, it will improve the performance of the public sector service significantly, and will have a serious impact on society!”

The audience saw an insightful panel discussion on Leadership, Strategic Foresight, and Productivity by the three distinguished international Judges.

At the Final Knowledge Sharing Summit, the projects were meticulously examined by the judges for their short and long-term performance impact, and for the quality of their deliverables in the 5 stages of TRADE. But the judging process wasn’t a cakewalk! According to the judges, all the teams deserved a standing ovation for the hard work and conviction with which they carried out their projects. After several rounds of pensive deliberation, the results were finally announced amidst butterflies fluttering inside an anxious audience.

7 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
TRADE Benchmarking Proficiency Certificate with Commendation
Role Model, World-Class, Wow!
Dubai MunicipalityDigital Transformation of Contracts
Dubai PoliceAirport Secure Luggage (Safe Bags)
Dubai Corporation for Ambulance ServicesMoonshot: Is Where Magic Happens
5 to 6 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
TRADE Benchmarking Proficiency Certificate with Commendation
Excellent, Outstanding, Exceeds Expectations
Dubai Electricity & Water AuthorityEV Green Charger 2.0
Community Development AuthorityEnabling Happiness
Dubai Health AuthorityDubai Heart Safe City
Dubai SME (Agency of Department of Economic Development)Improving Entrepreneur’s Business Guidance & Start-Up Services
3 to 4 Stars ★ ★ ★ ★
TRADE Benchmarking Proficiency Certificate
Competent, Professional
Dubai LandSmart Property Valuation
Road & Transport AuthorityReturn on Innovation for Agile Innovation Journey
General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners AffairsCooperative Integration System

* It is noteworthy that none of the DWL, 2019 Project Teams received 1-2 Stars, which is awarded to Incomplete projects.

At the Final Summit, DGEP and COER launched their book, which is a culmination of the 2nd Cycle of DWL – Click here to download the book. In the next 6 months, a book presenting the detailed discoveries of the ten project teams of the 3rd Cycle of DWL will be published. Stay tuned with for more! UPDATE –Book for 3rd Cycle Available Here! For now, here is a synopsis of the 7 Star role model projects of Dubai We Learn 2019:

[7 Stars TRADE Benchmarking Proficiency Certificate with Commendation]

“After receiving the award, the elated team testified their experience with the TRADE Benchmarking Methodology: “We felt the change on the ground more than we put it in the books and in writing. You can even see the internal and external customer satisfaction. TRADE is very easy, clear and takes you to the targets. It combines many methodologies like Project Management, 6 Sigma, etc. The way you deploy is flexible to elevate you towards your goals, and that’s what happened with us. We’re thankful that this is the second time we achieved the 7 Stars with this methodology!”
~ Ahmed Ibrahim Al Zarouni, Head of Special Contracts Section, Dubai Municipality Benchmarking Team.


TERMS OF REFERENCE (Plan the Project):

PROJECT AIM: Accelerate the processes of service contracts completion period from an average of 210 days (2018) to 45 days in 2019.
Aligning with Dubai Municipality’s (2016-2021) Strategic Plan vision of developing a happy and sustainable city, the project involved a re-engineering of the processes and optimization of technological opportunities. The need for this particular project was abstracted from different business units from Dubai Municipality reviews and feedbacks, and employees’ suggestions to improve the daily work. They desired to make it easier and simple for them in order to increase their productivity in completing as many contracts daily as they can. The project included all service contracts irrespective of their type, size and focus in reducing the time from when a tender is issued to the time suppliers receive the assigned contract, without compromising the quality of the process. Another key point to highlight was the need to transform the contracts committee from physical meetings to online to ensure faster services and saving time spent by suppliers waiting in the Dubai Municipality corridors. Around the principles of RACI-VS Task Assignment Matrix (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed, Verified, Sign-off), all the project tasks and responsibilities were effectively assigned to all the team members.

REVIEW (Review current state):
The benchmarking team started with conducting a situation analysis using various tools such as GAP Analysis, SWOT analysis, Fishbone Diagram, Assignment Analysis and Digital Maturity Assessment. Key issues revolved around process structure, speed of processes, performance efficiency, supplier relations, and quality of the process. As an example of the findings from one tool, Value Stream Mapping disclosed: A long process chain of 771 Minutes/Contract, several hand-offs, long cycle time, long lead time, high number of approvals required, too high non-added value in process and time, lack of standards and low productivity (number of contracts completed per day was 3.5 contracts).

ACQUIRE (Acquire Best Practices):
The rationale for selecting benchmarking partners was based on factors such as a focus on Contracts Cycle Time (Fast Processes) and (Lead Time), Contracts Eliminate Wastes, Contracts Policies, Frameworks & Manuals, Contracts Employees Productivities, Contracts Delegations & Approval Processes, Contracts Latest Technology Solutions Used, Contracts Professional Certification Available and Contracts Engagement of Stakeholders. The team brainstormed potential partners who met the criteria and identified 39 organisations based on the benchmarking questionnaire, top 20 Companies as per Gartner List in 2018, and intensive desktop research. Through internet findings, the team discovered that investing in technology and automation is considered the most important means to address procurement skills, effective processes, and staff skilled in utilizing the software. It also emphasized the need for recruitment and training programs to fill any gaps in supplier collaboration and contract management.
5 UAE-based partners were contacted for site visits –

  • McDonald’s (Dubai) shared their best practices in terms of dealing with suppliers and building a strong relationship with them.
  • Roads & Transportation Authority (Dubai) shared how their employees were certified from CIPS (Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations) and they categorized the contracts pathways based on category management (Operational & Strategic Projects)
  • Dubai Airports shared its e-Tendering, Procurement Master Plan, and Procurement Framework. The inspiration to create their own data warehouse in cooperation with Tableau was one of the best ideas for the deploy stage.
  • Bee’ah’s (Sharjah) Catalogue Purchasing enabled suppliers to quickly broadcast products and price changes, and introduce new items; there is categorization of the contracts based on cost i.e., Opex (Operational Expenditure) & Capex (Capital Expenditure), and Automated Evaluation Report where the system automatically evaluates all the offers, this was very insightful.
  • Al Ain Safari (Dubai) which is an ISO sustainable Procurement 20400 certified entity, the practice of managing contracts from scratch up to payment was helpful.

In the Acquire Stage, the benchmarking visits and desktop research resulted in the identification of 135 best practice ideas/areas.

DEPLOY (Communicate & Implement Best Practices):
From 135 best practices/ideas identified, 4 Master ideas (designated for comprehensive implementation) and 37 Quick Win ideas were executed.

Implemented Quick Wins
Developed Procurement Strategic Plan and Master PlanAutomatic publishing, communication, and invitation of tenders
Framework for: Downsizing operation, New Pathways for revenue, New Pathways for expenses, merging direct renewal contract, Merging extending the contract, New pathways for change requestE-notification: Automation of publishing procedures, integrating the publishing notification with DM website, eliminate the advertising process, digital offers, automatic bid bond, and tasks assigning
Automated the scope of work, and evaluation criteria. Eliminate the advertising processAutomatic technical envelop evaluation, scoring, and approval
Automatic Financial envelop evaluationAutomatic Financial scoring and approval
Automatic committee discussion, requesting and approvalsAutomatic awarding of decision and approval. Implement Stakeholders Instance Happiness Meter
SLA: Service Level AgreementDigital Signing of Contracts

The quick wins, proved to be a game changer for the project, helped in gaining stakeholders’ confidence, provided project momentum by driving enhanced ROI. Also, the project aim was achieved, most of the gaps in processes were bridged and 80% of the problems were solved, however, the team decided to go beyond this achievement.

The 4 Master Ideas were managed in a coherent and parallel manner. Stakeholder and team sponsor involvement was extensive which ensured that they overcame the resistance to change:

  1. 1) Reengineered the Service Contracts Processes: The focus was in the areas of • Valuation • Customer Satisfaction • Speed • Compression (cost, time, and steps) • Flexibility • Strategy • Quality • Productivity. DM functioned with 7 operational pathways in their previous framework, which was redesigned to have 3 pathways with the following impact: First Pathway – Request for new services: Includes 3 main phases (E-Notification+E-Tendering+E-Awarding). Earlier had 18 phases. Second Pathway – Renewal contract: Eliminated most of the entire process, reducing the cycle time to 1 day instead of 45 days. Third Pathway – Request for change to the contract elements – Now fully automated and traced in the system.
  2. Creating & Managing Technologically-backed Data Warehouse: With a holistic view of the current contract process, the critical data is now available to all, making it user-friendly for decision-makers.
  3. Designing Renewal Contracts Pathways: The Contracts Renewal system was re-designed as depicted in the figure below (Fig 6.):

  1. e-Evaluation – Automation of contracts committee: E-evaluation is the last idea that was implemented in the deploy stage. (Ref: Fig. 7)
  • Sustainability Plan: To support DM strategic plan’s Objective#3: Manage Assets and Financial Resources Efficiently, a transformation portfolio for Specialized Contract Section has been designed for the next 3 years, till 2022.

EVALUATE (Evaluate the Benchmarking Process & Outcomes):

The team outshined its set target which was to accelerate the processes of service contracts completion period to 45 days. e-Evaluation – Automation of the Contracts Committee had a major role in boosting the contract delivery time because the process flow was smoother.

Non-Financial BenefitsFinancial Benefits (Saved in AED)
Streamlined the contract process achieving an average of 24 working days instead of 210 days, with 88.5% growth in Lead Time.ROI for the entire project has exceeded the investment in all aspects financial and non-financial.

Total Savings of AED 82 million

Captured technological opportunities in the e-Supply system: From 0%, achieved 100% digital contract cycle (zero usage of papers). Elimination of 105428 papers/year. DM is the first in the Dubai government to achieve paperless contract processes.
Building and managing a data warehouse by capturing every single activity in the contract process speeded up the decision-making process, thus increasing the Stakeholders’ Satisfaction evident through a quality metrics survey – Internal stakeholder business units from 61% to 94%, and External suppliers from 65% to 84%.
The Contract Officer’s productivity has increased from 0.49 contract per day to 1.91 contracts per day, with a growth in productivity of 74.4%
A television commercial was created showing the massive development in digital contract processes at DM which can be a role model for other entities in UAE. The movement to digital contracts saved millions from traditional advertising of tenders.
As a result of creating a renewal contract pathway, the process (service delivery of the contract) reduced from 45 days to 1 day.
Evaluation of Bids: The evaluation of bids is one of the most important stages of the contract process.

Fig 7: The picture illuminates how the evaluation committee was blocking the flow of the process due to many reasons leading to a queuing system to submit the bids. One evaluation committee meeting in a week with 5 projects = 1 project per day (ratio). Now the contract committee does not meet to evaluate the bids because the can be done online form anywhere, anytime, increasing the capacity of the committee to evaluate the bids to be 7 projects in a day instead of 1.


[7 Stars TRADE Benchmarking Proficiency Certificate with Commendation]

Pleased with their project outcomes, the team shared their impression about their fascinating DWL journey: “The benefits that we’ve attained from the 3rd cycle in terms of financials were more than 60 Million Dirhams, and in terms of non-financial benefits was the restructuring and the change of processes that we brought to Dubai Airports. And because the airport is usually the face of the city, whatever Best Practices that we try and implement at the airport need to be scrutinized and developed well before implementing them, and the TRADE methodology hugely benefited us because of its systematic approach that allowed us to reach where we are today, with 7 Stars.”
~ Lieutenant / Engineer Mohamed Mahmood Zainal, Dubai Police.


TERMS OF REFERENCE (Plan the Project):

PROJECT AIM: To find and implement best practices to enhance the efficiency and operational capacity of Hold Baggage Screening System (HBS) as well as the productivity of employees engaged within the different processes and levels of the HBS in Dubai Airports by EXPO 2020.
Dubai International Airport is the World’s Busiest Airport by International Passenger Traffic, and the airport with the highest average number of passengers per flight. Hold-baggage Screening system uses specialized equipment and processes to screen passenger checked-in baggage (or hold baggage) to prevent the boarding of prohibited items. The project focused on implementing best practices pertaining to hold baggage screening across all terminals and changing security procedures in handling luggage suspected of containing illegal items.

REVIEW (Review current state):
During the Review stage, the team undertook a Situation Analysis using techniques such as SWOT, Fishbone analysis and Pestle. Performance measures were defined for the project: 1) Clearance Rate: Calculated by dividing the number of bags that are “cleared” at each level of security by the total number of bags entering each level, and 2) Number of Passengers Summoned to inspection. Data was collected for all Terminals to understand variations in performance. A detailed data analysis deduced that the bottleneck and challenges in the Dubai Airport’s HBS system were primarily in security screening levels which required human operator assistance. Objectives were set to increase the clearance rates at these levels whilst maintaining the highest level of security checks. Areas for improvement were identified such as training for security operators, improving the performance monitoring system, and providing greater awareness to passengers on unsafe items to pack in luggage.

ACQUIRE (Acquire Best Practices):
Benchmarking partners were selected based on their expertise in Human Resource Management, Product Chain Operations, Organizational Culture, Technology Advancement, Public Awareness Measures, Safety and Security of Airports, Productivity of Employee, Automation of Operations and Security Sector. 9 organisations were selected for benchmarking visits. These were classified into either Core (organisations with the same core functions/activities) or Creative (organisations with similar or unique core functions/activities) benchmarking partners. Some of the best practices acquired were: Transport Security Administration’s (USA) confiscation procedures of prohibited items from bags without the summoning of passengers, FedEx’s (Dubai) employee incentives system based on performance and customer satisfaction and their use of advanced automated technology for every item scanned at different stages, City Makers’ (Dubai) project management ideology and systematic processes, Dubai Custom’s Blue Censure program and Dubai Police’s General Department of Transport & Rescue best practices for the TRADE benchmarking methodology. Other valuable inputs were received from Dubai Air Navigation Services and Smith Detection. A total of 39 improvement ideas were acquired, and 17 initiatives were recommended for implementation.

DEPLOY (Communicate & Implement Best Practices):
Of the 17 improvement ideas, 13 best practices were approved for implementation, and 12 best have been implemented so far. Areas of improvement and actions implemented:

  • Security Process: Alteration of Baggage Screening Process and introduction of a new level of inspection (Specialist) and procedures for opening and confiscating prohibited items from checked in bags will reduce the number of passengers summoned to search room and delays in flight.
  • Employees Productivity: An incentive system for highly productive and efficient inspectors will promote employee happiness and higher productivity. Enhanced Training Programs will increase efficiency and employees will gain more experience. Reviewing the screener’s performance through control charts, system logs and report outputs daily will help in studying performance trends and rectifying mistakes in real time, therefore, improving output.
  • Terminal Performance: Assign minimum number of employees available in the baggage control room to ensure periodic rotation of inspectors during the screening process.
  • Public Awareness: Used Dubai Police media platform to broadcast the Safe Bags initiative. Social Media Coverage on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in spreading awareness. Use of robotic technology for passenger awareness which was programmed to guide them in a creative manner at the Dubai Airport Terminal.
  • Work Environment: Improved working environments in security screening rooms. Increased employee satisfaction, increased productivity and efficiency. Standardized workstation for employees in Baggage Control Room
  • Organisational Restructure: Ensured easier management of process and man-power. Reduced employees’ fatigue, immediate availability of data and information.

Figure 9: Robot displaying instructions to passengers about prohibited lithium batteries not to be carried in the checked-in bags deployed within Terminal 2 of Dubai Airport (departures area).

EVALUATE (Evaluate the Benchmarking Process & Outcomes):
The team outperformed their set targets within the 10-month time-frame; increased employees’ productivity by 4.5%, improved terminal performance through higher clearance rates, improved the work environment in security screening rooms and submitted a future proposal for restructuring and innovation of a centralized center for Hold Baggage Screening of all terminals that will improve performance even more in future.

  • Dubai Police saved approximately AED 2.8 million due to productivity improvements.
  • Public awareness on social media platforms garnered attention with a total of 266,595 views of the image and videos created for airport security content.
  • A decrease in the number of passengers summoned for inspection from 908 passengers in April 2019 to 21 passengers in December 2019 (therefore reducing costly plane departure delays as a result of passengers and/or their luggage being taken off planes)

Fig 10: Actual Cost and Saving: Total saved cost of passenger summoning = AED 66 million.

[7 Stars TRADE Benchmarking Proficiency Certificate with Commendation]


DCAS Moonshot project has changed the way DCAS understood and implemented innovation. We are proud to have a comprehensive framework that will shape DCAS innovation where everybody’s role and contribution is defined. In record time and because of our engagement with the DWL initiative, we were able to achieve quick wins and develop a road map to guide the way to a moonshot, our innovation ecosystem to a world-class level. Thanks, and appreciation to our DCAS project team and Dubai Excellence team for the hard work and positive attitude towards making this journey full of learning, achievements, and excitement.”
~ Khalifa Hassan Al Darrai, Project Sponsor, DCAS


TERMS OF REFERENCE (Plan the Project):

PROJECT AIM: Developing a vibrant Moonshot innovation ecosystem masterplan which accelerates the effectiveness and outcomes of all innovation ecosystem components in line with international best practices to further our readiness for the future.

DCAS Moonshot innovation ecosystem is a greenfield project that endeavored to develop a blueprint of the Ecosystem Masterplan at DCAS. The need to accelerate innovation in DCAS was to speed up response time to emergency cases, to provide the best clinical care and experiment with alternative innovative solutions to reach out and assist those in distress, to empower the community, and to manage the rising cost of conventional emergency tools.

REVIEW (Review current state):

  • The review stage involved rigorous dissection of the current innovation system and processes at DCAS. To understand the area of focus to be benchmarked, the DCAS team utilized the Self-Assessment Tool called Innovation Maturity Model – Landgate Innovation Program, Australia, available at COER’s It provided an overall assessment of DCAS’s organisation’s innovation maturity. 34 employees participated in this task. Of the 11 categories in the model, 6 categories revealed the status of ‘Innovation Deficiency’ (Maturity level in the average range of 0-10%). They were: (Ref: Fig. 13)


LeadershipLeaders focus on pastperformance and current initiatives only
PeoplePeople are viewed as productivity units, rather than idea sources
ProcessesInnovation-related processes not present
TrainingInnovation-related training not provided
Ideas ManagementIdea Management Systems are not present
MetricsThere is no established innovation-related KPIs or metrics


  • These were eye-opening results along with analytical inputs from the other five categories i.e., Strategic Planning, Culture, Tools and Techniques, Facilities, and Ideas Capture. The above 11 category heads also formed the contextual reference for the construction of the FISHBONE Diagram, which disclosed a fragmented dysfunctional innovation ecosystem.
  • The most striking weakness areas in the SWOT Analysis were: outdated innovation strategy/innovation metrics and measures, idea management system not fully implemented and updated, inefficient innovation training programs, lack of alignment between Innovation outcomes with innovation initiatives, and unplanned and fragmented innovation communication plans internally and externally. It also presented opportunities in the areas of government directives/support to gain visibility, and to learn from the various government innovation events.
  • Gap Analysis led to the defining of performance measures used to assess the success of the benchmarking project. A total of 37 measures were developed:


14 Metrics for: Employee and customer suggestion scheme at DCAS to encourage and build trust
7 Metrics for: Rigorous leadership involvement to foster and support an organisation-wide innovation culture
4 Metrics for: Innovation strategy development policies and plan to support organisation vision, mission, values and objectives
3 Metrics for: Employee specialized training and awareness in innovation
2 Metrics for: Innovation labs for DCAS employees
1 Metric each for: Intellectual property/patent status; % improvement in Innovation Maturity Assessment; Number of innovation open days; Number of new/improved services as a result of innovative ideas; Innovation processes manual; Innovation standards; and New innovation tools adopted.
4 Moonshot KPIs: Additionally, KPIs were developed with set targets for the period 2020-2021. They were: International collaboration to support innovation in emergency services and related technologies; International endorsement/innovations of DCAS innovation; Virtual Silicon Valley of emergency services innovation; and a Spinoff new business model for DCAS.

ACQUIRE (Acquire Best Practices):
The ‘Acquire’ stage began with DCAS defining 12 criteria for the selection of potential benchmarking partners. Potential Benchmarking partners were approached and ultimately, seven organisations were visited for the purpose of benchmarking exchange. The combination of similar and cross-industry organisations enabled the collection of rich insights. For instance, at the Google Middle East Headquarters in Dubai, the benchmarking team gained detailed knowledge of the management of leadership behaviour to build commitment, training for teams and individuals – e.g., its “G2G” — Googler-to-Googler network includes more than 6,000 Google employees who volunteer time to helping their peers improve and learn. At Dubai Police, the learning focused on the essence of leadership communication and commitment, how to review current innovation strategy within the organisation and identify the gaps in each department, and how to fill these gaps. At the Dubai Statistics Centre, the benchmarking team learnt about how to advance a collaboration with international bodies to build an innovation ecosystem – e.g., GInI, GIMI (Global Innovation Institute, Global Innovation Management Institute). Visits to Dubai Police and Dubai Health Authority’s Dubai Health Innovation Centre gave an important understanding of how to develop effective KPIs to evaluate the innovation ecosystem, while the visit to Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre threw light upon the practice of encouraging employees to think about innovation on a daily basis. Also, at DHA-DHIC, the team gained significant knowledge regarding the process of attaining IPs and copyrights, with insights from their Simulation Lab. The team also visited Etisalat (UAE), Huawei Telecom and Technology Hub (UAE) for best practice learning and knowledge gathering.

At the end of this stage, the team had collated 81 ideas and best practices, and potential deliverables were selected for implementation taking into account the Ease/Impact Score. From these, a total of 20 best practices/ideas were identified, and 13 ideas/best practices were recommended for implementation.

DEPLOY (Communicate & Implement Best Practices):

Figure 12: A Reward Ceremony at DCAS for Feasible Suggestions

  • Number of best practices/improvements approved and implemented: 13
  • In the Deploy stage, the team translated the ideas and best practices found in the Acquire stage into actions. Leading practices in some aspects of the innovation ecosystem were implemented as Quick Wins (actual deliverables). Some of the Best Practices implemented within the deployment timeframe:
#Implemented Best Practice / IdeaImpact
1Developed a DCAS innovation framework & organisational structure.Leadership support and awareness of the importance of the systems created, employee awareness of roles and responsibilities.
2Reward and Recognition PolicyEmployees engagement and happiness, which encouraged the use of ideas platform (Fig. 12).
3Innovation CharterA communication and advocacy tool; led to leadership and employee engagement and excitement for the cause
4Developed and completed innovation ecosystem identity and branding (innovation system, ideas scheme)A new identity, more positive energy and sense of pride across the organization
5Intellectual Property Processes & IP PolicyAssurance of ownership of ideas; employees started inquiring about registering their innovations.
6Encourage employee interaction. Launch first DCAS Innovation RetreatLaunched 3 innovation labs and 1 innovation retreat as well as engaging employees in the accreditation program with Ideas UK. To accelerate generating of ideas, collaboration & exchange and to provide space for positive interaction. Learning new tools such as design thinking. This is part of change management and introducing innovation to DCAS.
7Clear Roadmap with Innovation StrategyLeadership engagement and employees’ awareness of their roles, a quality outcome that is fully aligned with Government directive and specific to DCAS
8Introduce Idea Management Induction sessionsAwareness and feedback on challenges while using the system, enhanced platform usage and gradual improvement of the number of ideas submitted
9Achieved Gold Level of Accreditation for Ideas Management and Innovation, by the organisation ideasUKDCAS leadership and employee engagement, learning and collaborating to achieve a common goal. It was a significant positive learning experience for all
10Initiation of innovations knowledge managementTo ensure documentation and continuous learning & readiness for any assessment from an external body
11Developed innovative future shaping tool called PARAMEDICS (Politics-Automation-Regulation-Ambulatory-Mobility-Economics-Demograph
Implemented the tool in the Future Foresight Scenario Planning Lab. Seven future projects to be achieved: 1. International endorsement of DCAS innovation 2. Accreditation of emergency dispatch center of excellence 3. DCAS Virtual training and immersive Simulation Centre 4. Robotic Emergency Technicians lab 5. Achieve breakthrough technologies to enhance emergency care results 6. Virtual Silicon Valley for emergency services innovation 7. Everybody is EMT – ONE OF A KIND community program.

EVALUATE (Evaluate the Benchmarking Process & Outcomes):
Within the 10-month time-frame, the entire project was conducted with zero direct costs as there was clever utilisation of available organic internal/in-house resources, that led to actual savings.

Non-Financial Benefits
(Implemented Strategy with In-house Resources)
Financial Benefits
(Saved in AED)
Administration and analysis of the Innovation Maturity Assessment with a tool provided by the DWL coaches, instead of hiring external consultancy. The assessment score showed an improvement from 46% to 64%.More than AED 2 million saved from undertaking the project in-house, with savings and benefits for patients/stakeholders to be 100’s of millions in future once the innovation eco-system matures and supports a vibrant culture of innovation.
Development of Blueprint of Innovation Roadmap/Strategy with branding, communication and change management
Capacity building: The team took advantage of general innovation trainings which are free of charge on government platforms, which saved the training costs
Designing organic tools and implementation of two innovation & future foresight labs
Accreditation of idea system


Figure 13: The DCAS Maturity Innovation Ecosystem Spider Diagram. The second lab (After results) exhibit very positive improvement across all 11 pillars of the Landgate Innovation Program Maturity Model

Expected future benefits: In the next 2 months, the team will finalize, approve and officially launch the Moonshot Masterplan, Internal knowledge Summit in DCAS, and will publish innovation KPIs Catalogue, etc. For improved employee engagement and less turnover, high productivity, and better trust, measures will be put in place for the next two years.

The omnipresent and fervent Dr. Zeyad Al Kahlout, Senior Quality and Excellence Advisor, Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP), highlighted, “Dubai We Learn is a very creative initiative that has enabled government entities to structure, document, plan and execute their learning journeys in a better way. It has given the government entities the necessary tools to become more advanced and systematic in how they undertake benchmarking projects. Before DWL, the government entities did not utilize the full potential of their benchmarking activities. Most importantly, working together in teams has helped them to learn from each other. The outcomes and published books and case studies have given Dubai the well-deserved position as an international city for excellence, innovation, and learning.”

He further attested the alliance of DGEP with COER as their strategic partner for the DWL initiative: “We collaborated from the first days of this idea itself – of creating the initiative and putting together its components. We worked together in selecting the projects and training the teams and supervising their work. We will continue to work with COER to improve the initiatives for the next cycles.”


For more information on Dubai We Learn contact:

Dr. Zeyad Mohammad El Kahlout, Senior Quality and Excellence Advisor,
Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP).

Or contact Dr Robin Mann to learn more about the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology,

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