The Dubai Future Academy has launched its first training program – the Future Design Diploma – in its Office of the Future in Dubai, the world’s first 3D-printed office. The program is designed to develop participants’ future forecasting and planning skills, and to render organizations more future-ready.
High-ranking executives are set to take part in the 10-day intensive program including executive directors, heads of departments, and decision makers from federal and local government departments, as well as private companies operating in sectors of strategic interest to the UAE, such as healthcare, economics, aviation, education, transportation, and real estate.
Maha Al Mazeina, Project Manager at Dubai Future Academy, said: “The Dubai Future Academy seeks to enable government agencies to forecast and proactively plan for the future of strategic sectors. With that in mind, the program targets leaders and strives to develop their future-planning skills. This, in turn, allows them to transform their vision into reality, adhering to the ambitious directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who called on decision makers to start building the future today and cement Dubai’s status as a leading global hub for the future industry.”
“The Academy’s programs were designed in collaboration with experts from prestigious international institutes and universities,” Al Mazeina explained. “They seek to educate our national human resources and hone their innovation skills, so that they may formulate solutions for future challenges using scientific tools and models. Our programs also enable leaders in the public and private sectors to proactively come up with future solutions in key sectors.”
The Future Design Diploma seeks to build a highly capable future-oriented national workforce by launching future-focused strategies and services. The program seeks to empower leaders to analyze trends, propose solutions, and launch initiatives to face the challenges that may arise in the future and turn them into opportunities.
The program touches on a range of theoretical topics, including an introduction to future forecasting and future thinking, as well as analyzing the environment and future trends. It also offers practical applications where participants draw up future scenarios, generate ideas, develop prototypes for future experiments, and put timetables for their implementation.
Five Projects That Simulate the Future of Five Sectors
Participants in the Future Design Diploma designed five models that simulate five strategic sectors – namely healthcare, transportation, security, education, and energy.
In healthcare, the participants introduced an invention that offers medical services using modern nanotechnology, which reduces the cost of treatment by 50% and the cost of building hospitals by 30%.
In transportation, the participants introduced Timelapse – a system inspired by the Hyperloop model – which runs under water at a speed of 3,500 miles/hour and reduces intercontinental travel time to a mere few hours. The system moves individuals and cargo faster, allowing for a 70% increase in business operations, and a 50% decline in pollution.
In security, participants invented a system based on artificial intelligence that will help reduce the number of security stations, and improve border gate control, making it more efficient. It also provides high-security services and quick access to information that helps both residents and tourists.
In education, participants proposed a virtual learning environment, where education is personalized to fit the student’s skills and abilities. This will lead to a 100% reduction in the number of schools and teachers, but a 50% increase in students’ productivity and learning.
In energy, participants invented a system of magnetic energy to be applied in Dubai. It uses clean energy sources that can improve productivity by 50%, while reducing CO2 emissions to zero.
The program enlists top-tier future experts from around the world, including Scott Smith, Founder and Managing Partner at Changeist, who has extensive experience in research, strategic planning, and design in social, economic, and technological fields, among others. Smith’s research focuses on combining anecdotal evidence and exploring unexpected future events.
Before joining Changeist in 2007, Smith spent a decade leading start-up research and consulting teams for international technology research firms in New York City, Washington, and London. He has offered consulting services for a number of international institutions on how to take advantage of future opportunities, including UNICEF, Nokia, Ford, and Honda, as well as government entities in the US, Finland, New Zealand, and the UK.
“The Future Design Diploma is based on a set of tools allow participants to better understand global trends in several sectors, and to contribute creative ideas that lead to sustainable solutions for the challenges of the future,” Smith said. “The program expands the study of sectors to anticipate the challenges that lie ahead, and to propose ideas and solutions to those challenges. It launches experiments and feasibility studies to implement them on the ground and build a better future for coming generations. The program establishes a culture of planning for the future in government departments in the UAE.”
A Blend of Theory and Practice
Participants at the first edition of the Future Design Diploma reported that the combination of theory and practice played a key role in developing their skills to plan effectively for the future. The program encourages participants to work together and come up with innovative ideas to overcome challenges in multiple sectors and convert them into opportunities.
Faisal Juma Al Badawi, Director of Corporate Marketing & Relations, Dubai Municipality (a participant in Future Design Diploma), noted that he managed to acquire many basic skills from the program, including brainstorming sessions management and fielding skilled individuals in future forecasting. “The program has achieved its objective; with the balance between theory and practice, it successfully trained participants to proactively plan for the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hamad Mohammed Al Mazroui, Executive Director at Etisalat, said: “The program offered an opportunity to get away from the daily grind and think of solutions to the challenges facing society. The first week of the program was a time to educate ourselves, and propose ideas to develop strategic sectors. Then, during the second week, we moved to implement these ideas on the ground.”
Mariam Alavdra, Director of Government Communication and the Future in the Dubai Economic Development Department, said: “There is a logical sequence and correlation between the initial stages – where we developed ideas – and the practical application stage, which is essential to laying out effective future plans”. Alavdra added that she is using the program to develop the skills of the department’s employees, and stimulate their creativity to come up with original ideas to develop the economy of Dubai and the UAE.
The team from Dubai Police taking part in the program – which includes Captain Saeed Al Muhairi and Ms. Awatef Al Suwaidi, Director of Smart Applications at Dubai Police – noted that they have acquired valuable skills during the program, such as planning and setting future objectives, in addition to working effectively as a single team to build the future today. The team asserted that this falls in line with the directives of the UAE’s leaders, who have called on the various sectors to collaborate in their efforts to build a prosperous future for the UAE.
Mohammed Sultan bin Dimthan from DEWA’s Department of Innovation and the Future, doubled down on the statements of other participants, adding: “Exchanging knowledge with the other participants stimulated our collective creativity and helped us come up with original ideas to more accurately forecast the future pre-emptively propose solutions for the challenges that may arise.”
Dubai Future Academy
Established in 2016 as part of the Dubai Future Foundation, the Academy provides a variety of academic programs that have been designed in collaboration with a group of prominent academic institutions and partners from all over the world. The programs support Dubai’s agenda for the future; they include the Masters of Applied Future Science, the Introduction to Future Design Diploma, the Intensive Executive Education Program, the Introductory Executive Education Program, and the Intensive Future Design Program.