Excellence, cannot be a one-time event. It cannot be a manifestation of fortune either. For it to stand the test of time, excellence requires revolutionary ambitions, commitment, execution, and resilience – every day. It requires one more quality – foresight. And the Dubai We Learn (DWL) initiative is one shining example that never ceases to demonstrate its pursuit of excellence.
DWL was launched in 2015 as part of the Dubai Government Excellence Programme (DGEP) in cooperation with the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER), New Zealand. This year, in 2022, the 5th Cycle of DWL was launched on 09 March 2022 with around forty participants from the various Dubai Government entities working together on four strategic breakthrough projects:
- Joined Digital Services
- Data Management and Decision-Making
- Building Government Capabilities for Future Jobs
- Behavioural Science for Government Effectiveness
At the core of DWL is COER’s TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology. DWL’s 1st Knowledge Sharing Summit (KSS) was held on Thursday, the 7th of April 2022 to: enable project teams to showcase their projects to sponsors and stakeholders; add value to the projects by providing advice and feedback; and encourage collaboration, brainstorming, and learning between project teams
Dr. Hazza Al Neaimi, Coordinator-General – DGEP inaugurated the event stating that the research work undertaken during the DWL cycle is part of a national mission aimed at proposing the best-in-class and innovative global best practices using the powerful tools provided during the cycle. The gracious presence of His Excellency Abdulla Al Basti was a great source of motivation for the teams.
All the teams completed the Terms of Reference (TOR) stage and were in the Review Stage. Maha Abdulla Alsuwaidi, Senior Consultant, DGEP communicated that the 2nd KSS has been scheduled for May 2022 when the teams would have started with the Acquire stage activities and benchmarking visits, and the Final KSS will be held in June 2022 where the projects will be assessed for the TRADE certificate proficiency star ratings with some level of Deployment taken place. In October 2022, a celebration will see an official book launch showcasing the four projects and best practices to be shared with the other Dubai government entities. For stakeholder engagement for the projects, DWL plans for perception surveys, stakeholder focus group interviews, and international expert discussion sessions. Dr. Robin Mann, Director, COER, emphasized that the teams need to seize the opportunity by maximizing cross-functional team learning during the summits.
The four teams delivered a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation each on their progress so far. The teams shared what went well and what were the challenges faced. Q&A was conducted at the end of each presentation. Below are some of the highlights and insights from each presentation.
Building Government Capabilities for Future Jobs
Terms of Reference
- Project Aim: To identify and recommend best practices in building Dubai’s public sector capabilities for future jobs.
- Scope: This project explores best practices for developing a future-ready workforce that is fully equipped and aligned to deliver leading-edge government services in an environment of fast-paced change, growing complexity, and unpredictability. Scope includes workforce supply and demand, hiring strategy, upskilling/reskilling, learning and development, and talent management to leverage human potential for supporting the continued growth of Dubai.
- The Idea Behind the Project: Tremendous technological advancements and an ongoing pandemic with the necessity for economic recovery, industries rapidly changing their products and services to cater to entirely new market space and changing skill trends have commissioned the need for sustainability in building the workforce.
- Expected Non-Financial Benefits: Enabling leadership through aiding decision-making, upgrading existing knowledge of skill-proofing, improve Dubai’s ranking on the global competitiveness index.
- Expected Financial Benefits: Developing capabilities would improve productivity and staff retention leading to a substantial savings in the 100 of millions of AED across Dubai’s public sector.
- Stakeholders Involvement: The Executive Council, other governing entities, regulators, the Dubai government, foresight seekers, and the public sector. The vast majority of the stakeholders fall in the “Manage Closely” “Keep Informed” areas of the Stakeholder Grid.
- Project Management: 10 team meetings conducted so far.
- A Risk-Heat Map was presented; the Fishbone diagram (Fig 2) analyzed the areas for best practice recommendations for building capabilities for future jobs. SWOT analysis and performance measures (timeline compliance, Public Policies Affected, Budget Compliance, Stakeholder Engagement, New Development Interventions, and Workforce Planning Initiatives) were presented for the project. Desktop research was conducted to understand industry-specific challenges in ten areas of healthcare, security, human capital, finance, infrastructure, transportation, energy, governing bodies, social sector, telecom, and other common challenges.
Behavioural Science for Government Effectiveness
Terms of Reference
- Aim: Find and assist the government of Dubai in utilizing behavioral sciences to deliver effective societal-centric strategies, policies, and programs services through the implementation of best practices. As a secondary aim, by exercising the above, the project intends to raise the level of awareness and use of behavioral sciences within the government of Dubai.
- Scope: This project explores best practices in understanding and predicting social behavior and how the information can be used to deliver effective policies, leading-edge government services, and community happiness. The scope includes examining how behavioral sciences are best utilized across all aspects of government, therefore government strategies, policies, programs, and services.
- The Idea Behind the Project: The COVID-19 pandemic is transforming lives, putting citizens at risk, and placing pressure on the health care system, etc. with expected impacts over many years cascading changes in the aspects of life, work, study, socializing, and deliver services. To stay ahead, public sector organizations will need to adapt quickly toward recovery and resilience.
- Risk assessment and management: the team has plans to pilot the implementation of best practices in selected government entities and increase awareness on the topic of behavioral sciences to address the risk of the slow speed of best practice implementation within the government services.
There are mainly six areas of focus for the behavioral sciences research and fishbone analysis: external factors, technology, processes, customers, supply chain and logistics, and human capital. A SWOT analysis has been conducted to analyse the internal and external environment. The main challenge identified in implementing the project was to address the needs of the diversity of sectors in Dubai. In the next stage, the team will hold stakeholder meetings to identify the current use of behavioral science within Dubai’s government, prioritize and finalize the practices to be benchmarked, define performance measures, and identify current performance.
Data Management and Decision-Making
Terms of Reference
- Aim: To identify and recommend best practices in data science, data management, and analysis to support effective decision-making across the Dubai government.
- Scope: Revolves around five aspects – data strategy and governance, capabilities based on culture and skills, digital ecosystem, data technology advancements, and innovation and future foresight.
- The Idea Behind the Project/Benefits: enhance protection and privacy, support decision making, improve services experiences in various fields, unification of data framework, adoption of breakthrough technologies like AI, robotic process automation, blockchain, seize potential future opportunities and avoid threats with new technologies, and increase government efficiency.
- Key stakeholders were identified as Digital Dubai, universities, private sector companies like Microsoft Meta, Google, the telecommunication sector, the government sector, and federal entities.
- Identified Risks: Risks were identified in areas of no response from stakeholders, team commitment and the timeframe allocated to the project, varying levels of data knowledge, and science maturity among government entities. The team plans to assign a committee of 3-5 under the leadership of specialized entities to lead the change management protocol amongst all government entities.
The team conducted SWOT and fishbone analysis for a world-class, future-ready government in data capture, security, analysis, and decision making.
The team is now working on the next stage with plans to meet the stakeholders and design questionnaires/diagnostic lab with the stakeholders, and also acquire best practices. The project will have an impact by building a unified customer experience with integrated services using data management and data aggregated across government entities for increased customer satisfaction, which is one of the main goals of the project.
Joined Digital Services
Terms of Reference
- Aim: To develop a best practice joined digital services model for the Dubai government.
- Scope: focuses on 6 dimensions – service criteria, determining participating entities, technology platform, external engagement with stakeholders and customers, evaluation and implementation, and alignment to global standards.
- The Idea Behind the Project/Benefits: The digital model aims to enhance UAE leadership in digital government, enhance society’s happiness by engagement in policymaking and service development, develop a central participation platform among entities, spread digital
participation culture to prepare the society for smart city age, and enhance social inclusion.
- Stakeholders: The 10 key stakeholders include Dubai Customs/General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Airports, Department of Economic Development Tourism, and the Supreme Legislation Committee, DGEP, Digital Dubai, and COER.
- Expected non-financial benefits include reducing duplication of services and data, improved collaboration and communication between government entities in delivering services and in between government entities and the private sector in delivering services, standardization of data collection and reporting about government, and reducing service delivery time.
Fishbone analysis covered 6 pillars that included service criteria (e.g., use AI and RPA to engineer the business support functions to optimize the operational costs), participating entities (shared service providers through a unified digital platform), technology platform (customer should not be having different accounts and logins on different platforms), external customer (anticipate user needs, engage with them for service design), evaluation and implementation (currently no tool to assess the effectiveness and performance of joined digital services), and global standards (e.g., to include people of the determination).
Identifying relevant KPIs was challenging. Some of the preliminary performance measures include increasing the percentage of Dubai government customer happiness, increasing percentage of digital adoption for the joined services across government platforms, increasing the efficiency & effectiveness of the service delivery, increasing shared data percentage between service providers, and achieving Dubai paperless strategy by 100%. Both short and long-term KPIs will be designed. A gap analysis was undertaken. A stakeholder analysis survey is underway.
After hearing all the presentations Dr. Zeyad El-Kahlout, Senior Quality & Excellence Advisor, DGEP, provided feedback to the teams. This included encouraging the Joined Digital Services team to use a Customer Effort KPI to evaluate services and customer happiness; and for key life experiences (birth, marriage, opening a business, etc.) to be considered when analysing the potential for and efficiency of joined services. The Building Government Capabilities for Future Jobs team were encouraged to include leadership capabilities in the project scope and consider the characteristics of “future employability” in terms of knowledge, behavior and skills.
For further information on Dubai We Learn contact:
Maha AlSuwaidi, Senior Consultant, DGEP, email@example.com
For information on TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking contact:
Dr. Robin Mann, Director, COER, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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