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10 December 2023

London is world’s Most Innovative City today; Dubai by 2021?


By Vicky Kapur

Dubai Innovation Index, a new report that compares 28 of the world’s most global cities on macroeconomic measures of innovation, witnesses London emerge as the most innovative city, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively.

Dubai ranks 16th across 28 global cities, ahead of cities such as Madrid, Milan, Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Shanghai and Beijing.

The Dubai Innovation Index Report, published by Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, highlights the results of the Dubai Innovation Index (DII), which was launched by Dubai Chamber in collaboration with PwC in 2015, to support UAE’s vision for innovation and to promote Dubai’s quest towards being the smartest city in the world by 2021.

In 2014, the UAE Government declared 2015 as “Year of Innovation,” and had announced a National Innovation Strategy with the aim of becoming one among the most innovative nations in the world within a 7-year period.

The National Innovation Strategy was first announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai, on 19 October 2014. Later, on November 30, 2014, the UAE Federal Cabinet of Ministers met to approve the designation of 2015 as the Year of Innovation in a plan to make the UAE a world innovative leader.

The Dubai Innovation Index has been designed to compare Dubai with 28 global cities on macroeconomic measures of innovation and to analyse innovation performance of Dubai’s private sector, including at the firm level.

Through the Index, the Chamber wants to create awareness and increase the participation of the private sector in the total innovation efforts of the city of Dubai, and provide a benchmark to measure innovation.

In the Dubai Innovation Index Report, London has emerged as the most innovative city, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore respectively. Dubai ranks 16th across 28 global cities, ahead of cities such as Madrid, Milan, Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Shanghai and Beijing.

Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber, remarked the Chamber is cognisant of the importance of innovation, now more than ever, for an economy to grow and sustain in this dynamic global scenario.

“That is why we decided to launch the Index and have been very open and transparent about the parameters we have used to set a benchmark for measuring innovation. We hope the results of the survey will act as a catalyst for simulating innovation in the private sector in Dubai and promote their participation in the process of innovation.”

A the ongoing World Government Summit, Ahmad Bin Byat, Chairman of Dubai0based telco du, said that as cities become smarter (more agile, more responsive, and more predictive), the impact of the Internet of Things on the public in the UAE will be revolutionary.

This, he said, will enable improved safety, security, business and efficiency in managing city resources such as the emergency services.

“Because by gathering, storing, processing and aggregating all the data that we receive, we can apply and implement greater operational efficiencies,” he said.

“PwC is proud to be part of the development of the Dubai Innovation Index with Dubai Chamber. This is a unique and comprehensive index that evaluates and compares macroeconomic data to private sector views of a city,” Dr. Anil Khurana, Partner, Strategy & Innovation, PwC, pointed out.

The aim of the Index is to identify what is Dubai’s position in the global innovation scenario, what are the challenges and opportunities faced by the private sector when it comes to innovation and what can businesses and government do to promote innovation.

According to the Report, the “enabler” score was higher than the “performance” score, which means that the innovation ecosystem is in place, with a high score for government support and fostering a culture for innovation.

In this firs-of-its-kind Index, Dubai has scored well on several enablers, namely “Government support” and “building the culture of innovation”, and scored average on “funding” and “political, economic and social environment” elements. However, lower scores for “infrastructure for innovation” and “skills & talent” suggest these areas require improvement.

The Index, which measures innovation within the 61 indicators, shows Dubai's superiority in the field of output and performance, particularly in the launch of new products and services and outputs of technology. However, intellectual property and opportunities for collaboration with institutions and economies for scientific work need some more attention.

Survey results of Dubai’s private sector indicate that “implementation of ideas” and “retention of talent” are key challenges to build innovation capabilities and lead to a low score for “intellectual capital”

The analysis also highlighted the important role being played by the government in driving the innovation agenda forward and having a long-term vision – something the private sector needs to focus on and work closely with the public sector.

The Healthcare industry leads innovation for private sector industries, with an innovation score of 60.25, followed closely by Media & Marketing (60.06) and ICT (59.29). Manufacturing, Education, Training & Research and Transport & Logistics have scored average on the innovation index relative to the other industries, whereas Construction & Real Estate, Financial, Insurance & Legal Services and Agriculture, Fishing & Forestry score amongst the low performing industries in innovation.

With a focus on these eight key sectors, the Index will definitely stimulate the private sector and inspire them to participate in Dubai’s innovation initiatives to remain ahead of the rest.