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No task is impossible for Dubai’s can-do spirit

Younus Al Nasser
Filed on October 27, 2020 | Last updated on October 27, 2020 at 12.10 am
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We are living in an era of entrepreneurship and hyper-qualified teams — a trend that has gradually spread to governments around the world.

It may seem that our choosing to specialise in data and the field of data science — which are still being discovered and developed by most cities around the world — was the biggest challenge that stood in our way when we launched almost five years ago, especially since we were tasked with establishing an entity that would launch and oversee the growth of the Dubai Data Initiative from scratch in a country that settles for nothing but excellence. Nevertheless, our biggest challenge, which evolved into an advantage later, was the limited pool of local talent that specialised in the field of data. This led us to start with a core team that we can count on the fingers of one hand. Despite the small team, we were able to establish and launch the most comprehensive and innovative data initiative in the world.

We are living in an era of entrepreneurship and hyper-qualified teams — a trend that has gradually spread to governments around the world. For us in Dubai and the UAE, however, it has been a prominent feature of how we have been operating for decades, thanks to the vision of our wise leadership, who realised from the onset that the government and private sectors must complement one another and that the future of our country can only be shaped when the two sectors come together. This is especially true when it comes to encouraging investment and entrepreneurship, where we hope to become a benchmark incubator for the global economy of the future.

In March 2016, when the decision to create the Dubai Data Establishment and appoint me as CEO — on top of my role as Assistant Director General of Smart Dubai — was issued, I was in a unique position, unprecedented anywhere in the world — not because of the job title I was given, rather for the mission that was entrusted to us, which had never existed before at a city level. No single government entity had ever been assigned to build, open, and share a whole data ecosystem, all the while coordinating and leading efforts among various entities. Building the core team was, on the face of it, a challenge, but it proved to be the cornerstone of the Dubai Data Initiative’s success, making it what it is today.

I do not want to forget any of the talented individuals making up the Dubai Data team, which spans more than 50 government entities, but this article alone is not enough for me to outline all of their accomplishments. So I thank each and every one of them, who made Dubai Data Establishment and Smart Dubai Data initiatives and achievements what is it today.

Data Moments in Dubai are created by a small team with great influence, relying on systematic, institutional operations, quality work, and advanced skills. Our secret is that we work with great enthusiasm and entrepreneurial energy to achieve a goal that no one has ever achieved before.

Younus Al Nasser is Assistant Director General of Smart Dubai, CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment





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