Dubai climbs Innovation Index to rank 14th worldwide

By Rajive Singh

DUBAI 25 February 2018: Dubai has once again improved its innovation performance climbing one spot to rank 14th among 30 global cities on the 3rd Dubai Innovation Index, outperforming major business destinations such as Berlin, Madrid, Shanghai and Sao Paulo.

The findings of the latest Index were released by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the sidelines of the Chamber’s participation in UAE Innovation Month 2018.

Compiled by Dubai Chamber in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the Dubai Innovation Index measures innovation output on a city and industry level and provides analysis on key challenge areas as well as strengths. Through the Index, the Chamber aims to strengthen awareness and enhance participation of Dubai’s private sector in the innovation efforts of the emirate.

The top-performing cities on the latest index were Hong Kong, which climbed two spots to rank first globally, followed by New York (2nd), London (3rd), Singapore (4th) and Seoul (5th). Dubai and San Francisco were the only two cities that showed consistent improvement in their rankings over the last few years.

The latest Dubai Innovation Index Report highlighted considerable headway made by Dubai’s government in adopting long-term innovation strategies, while it has also launched various initiatives to foster innovation across all segments of society and support the emirate’s transition to a knowledge-based economy.

Rising Score

The innovation score of Dubai’s private sector increased by 3% this year, after a 6% rise from 2015 to 2016. A significant improvement in Dubai’s Skills and Talent score was observed, further emphasising the importance of developing human capital to encourage innovation throughout all of the emirate’s economic sectors.

The Index’s findings were compiled following in-depth surveys conducted by a large sample of Dubai’s business community, including representatives of leading companies and institutions. The results showed that 92% of survey respondents said they believe that developing the right business strategy that supports and encourages innovative thinking will improve their firms’ innovation capabilities.

Private companies agreed that the government should focus on setting formal policies and regulations to protect intellectual property, launching initiatives to boost innovation output (most notably through incubators, innovation awards, and accelerators), and financing and funding through government-backed innovation funds.

The report noted that innovation enablers in Dubai’s private sector have strengthened over the last year as more company adopt measures to enhance their capabilities and participate in innovation-related activities, while it also highlighted opportunities for both the private and public sectors to further develop the innovation infrastructure and enforce Intellectual Property regulations and laws.

Furthermore, the Index revealed that Dubai has witnessed remarkable improvement in its economic and social environment, which reflects the leadership’s commitment to promoting innovation as a means to drive progress, growth and development.

Innovation Hub

Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, said: “The results of the latest Index show that Dubai continues to make great strides in its transition to a knowledge-based economy and global innovation hub. Efforts to foster innovation have been introduced across all segment’s society, with notable achievements made within the city’s public and private sectors.”

Dubai Chamber’s President and CEO noted that the third edition of the Index points to an urgent need to develop skills and talent in a fast-changing business world, adding that additional investment in education, research and development is needed to improve in this area and ensure that youth have access to new job opportunities.

He explained that Dubai Chamber launched the first Innovation Index in 2015 with the aim of fostering a culture of innovation within Dubai’s business community, evaluating the city’s innovation performance and identifying key strengths as well as areas where it needs to improve.

Moreover, the results of this year’s study show that recommendations outlined in the previous Dubai Innovation Index had a significant impact on Dubai’s current innovation scores. Initiatives were put in place by both the private and public sectors to improve education, import talent from abroad, and embrace the newest technologies across various sectors.

Innovation Ecosystem

The 3rd Dubai Innovation Index proposed a set of recommendations to create a solid innovation ecosystem. The report called for increased collaboration with educational institutes; focusing on consistent and continuous product development; fostering collaboration with the global ecosystem; and providing more funding opportunities for entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Dr. Anil Khurana, Partner for Strategy and Innovation at PwC, said: “PwC is proud to be part of the third edition of the Dubai Innovation Index, and highly committed to supporting Dubai in driving its innovation aspirations. The Index framework has evolved and further demonstrated its practicality by enabling Dubai to use the insights from the Innovation Index in its ongoing progress towards being a leading innovative city.”

“Digital innovations are having a disruptive impact and global cities are facing acute pressure to build their innovation capabilities to remain competitive,” Dr Khurana added. “The study highlights three main areas of development for Dubai that will benefit both private and public organisations for their future needs, namely: developing the education system; investing in research and development (R&D); and building a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

The Dubai Innovation Index, released annually by Dubai Chamber, falls in line with the organisation’s strategy to stimulate innovation in Dubai’s private sector which is based on three main pillars, namely: enablers of innovation; measuring innovation; and honouring innovators in the Dubai Innovation Index. The Chamber plans to invest AED 100 million in innovative projects and initiatives in the coming years that serve the local business community and enhance the competitiveness of Dubai’s economy.