Dubai launches 'Institute of Design and Innovation'

The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) was launched on Monday by Dubai Holding and Dubai Creative Clusters Authority, as part of government’s efforts to develop design talent.

''The launch of DIDI supports the government’s efforts to develop design talent in the region and the vision of Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make Dubai a model for sustainable economic development based on innovation and productivity as outlined in the ‘Dubai 2021 Plan, said Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

"Dubai seeks to constantly enhance its capacity for sustainable development by driving innovation and creativity, and creating an environment for skilled graduates across sectors to acquire the skills that will enable them to meet the challenges of the job market. Today, we are launching a new platform that will support the development of creative talent not only in the UAE but also the region. This initiative will have a positive impact on sustainable economic growth both locally and regionally," Sheikh Hamdan added.

HH also said that DIDI serves to diversify higher education opportunities at a time when the fields of design and innovation are attracting more talent.

Given the importance of innovation as a key driver of development across sectors, Dubai is taking the lead in establishing educational institutions that help students meet the requirements of the job market, thereby raising its profile as a hub for both talent and enterprises specialised in creativity and design.

Considered a new milestone in the UAE’s efforts towards driving innovation by building regionally developed graduate design talent, plans for the development of DIDI in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Parsons were announced today at an event hosted in the Dubai Design District.

Driven by the ambitious goals the UAE has set for its economic and knowledge development, the institute is developing a first-of-its-kind curriculum aimed to empower students to design their own four-year educational journey, culminating in the region’s first Bachelor of Design degree with cross concentrations in Product Design, Strategic Design Management, Media, Visual Art and Fashion Design.

The MENA Design Education Outlook study released by Dubai Design and Fashion Council in collaboration with D3 in May 2016, highlighted the need for at least 30,000 design graduates by 2019.

The findings of this report led to the establishment of DIDI to support the sustainable growth of the regional design sector.

''Dubai Holding is constantly working to support Dubai’s strategic development through various initiatives and creative clusters built on a foundation of innovation and creativity. We have been focused on building a knowledge based economy which contributes to Dubai’s economic diversification, through the establishment of innovative clusters and specialized organizations that are capable of building capacities and developing the skills required to enhance various sectors, led by innovation. Today, almost 25,000 students from across the world are educated at institutes and universities located within our creative clusters,'' said Fadel Al Ali, Chairman of the board, DIDI and CEO of Dubai Holding.

"The establishment of DIDI is a natural next step following the launch of d3, which is now a regional hub for innovation and a preferred destination for the world’s leading fashion designers and artists. Students will be able to benefit from this unique location at the heart of the Creative Community at d3, which will provide them with the inspiration they need to innovate and create," Al Ali added.

Commenting on the milestone announcement, Dr Amina Al Rustamani, Chairperson, DDFC and CEO of TECOM Group said, "Developing talented youth and creativity are essential to achieving the goals outlined by His Highness to establish a sustainable economy, and innovation is key to his vision for Dubai to become the smartest city in the world, with creative industries, manufacturing and production sectors capable of competing with some of the most advanced counties across the globe."

"We constantly work to empower youth to take ownership of the journey towards a sustainable economy and a future led by innovation. DIDI will be a strategically critical platform for providing youth with the tools they need to drive the UAE’s future development. By harnessing the expertise of world-class institutions such as MIT and Parsons and incubating students within the Creative Community at d3, DIDI students have the unique opportunity of getting a practical education from interacting directly with designers within the industry, and benefiting from their experience," she added.

Hashim Sarkis, Dean, MIT School of Architecture and Planning, added, "The announcement of DIDI affirms the growing importance of design as a means to improve the relationship between human beings and their environment, both in the UAE and globally. We could not be more enthusiastic about working with Dubai to nurture design talent and to promote design and design thinking as powerful tools for building a better world."

Joel Towers, Executive Dean, Parsons School of Design, said, "Design plays a key role in today's global economy, and it’s exciting to see the burgeoning talent of design students in the Middle East. International collaboration strengthens the future of design and leads to creative and innovative ideas. We are pleased to be working with Dubai to develop DIDI as a way to inspire students and cultivate new approaches to design."

The first intake of students at DIDI is planned for Fall 2018.

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