Means to adapt to a more human-centric, future-proof government that works with people to meet with their needs were discussed at the fourth edition of the UAE Public Policy Forum on Monday, February 17.
Held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, the annual forum was launched under the theme ‘Agile Government: Becoming Future-Proof’.
The event brings together local and international experts and policy and decision-makers to exchange strategies and enhance cooperation in order to address the challenges governments of the future are likely to face.
Huda Al Hashimi, assistant director-general for strategy and innovation at the UAE Prime Minister’s Office, used the session to highlight the Dubai Future Accelerators programme. “We see changing expectations and citizens’ demands of governments are higher. It’s not always about being disruptive – it’s about stabilising and being resilient,” she said.
Referring to UAE Centennial 2071, she said no nation has announced it is planning so far ahead. “How can we strategise and reap the benefits? That’s why an agile government is so critical, to stand strong and be able to achieve our leadership’s vision,” Al Hashimi added.
Torsten Anderson, deputy director-general at the Danish Business Authority, Denmark, said it started the agility process by reorganising traditional government practices and introducing new laws that are future-proofed and digital-focused. “But if you do this as a tick-box exercise, it doesn’t work. We looked more at culture and putting users at the centre of what we do.”
Human-centric governance through design
Three directors from Palmwood, a social impact foundation which combines design and government spoke about how design is a human-centred methodology and mindset for creative problem-solving.
“We’re fundamentally shifting the dynamic, from top-down power to a model of empowerment, lifting from the ground up.” She stressed the importance of embracing diverse teams to boost cross-entity collaborations and showed slides in which creativity was nurtured in children and the elderly,” said Mitch Sinclair, creative director of Palmwood.