Issue 12: Public Sector Excellence UAE

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THE 2016 TOP

A breakdown of the Abu Dhabi Awards for Excellence and the Winners of the 4th Cycle, 2015

Meet this month’s local start up inspirations: Hala, Ahmed, and Dalal

Marketing Trends - p.46 Strategic Tech Trends - p.50

PSE's Project Management Correspondent talks Negotiation Skills


Take a look at the future of energy in the UAE


Project Management PSE Correspondent Alexander Matthey discusses the essentials of good negotiation skills for the Project Manager • page 12

Table of Contents

Empowering Excellence An inside look at the Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance and the winners of the 2015 Awards Cycle • page 24

06 Word From The Editor Denise Daane welcomes our readers to our 1st year anniversary issue

08 Current News and Affairs

A summary of the latest public-sector news and current affairs across Abu Dhabi and the UAE

16 Knowledge Exchange INSEAD Associate Professor of Strategy Jasjit Singh explores how corporate social impact initiatives make employees more loyal PSE Magazine • 4

In Focus The UAE is going green! Get an inside look at the current and future state of the UAE’s alternative and renewable energy sector • page 29

21 Delivering Excellence in Medical Services Rashid Buhari, Physiotherapy Supervisor at Healthpoint Hospital’s Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre, takes readers behind the scenes at Healthpoint’s state of art physiotherapy centre

36 Let's Benchmark

A look at some of the greenest cities in the world

Local Enterprise Meet this month’s local entrepreneurs, “The Third Place” trio • page 42

46 Build Your Digital Profile As we get ready for the New Year, PSE gives readers a rundown of the top 10 marketing trends for a successful 2016

50 Idea Watch As the year comes to an end, PSE takes a look at the top 10 strategic technology trends and predictions for 2016

5 Off Topic Check out Abu Dhabi’s Top 10 Annual Events

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Word from the Managing Editor DECEMBER 2015 VOL.1 ISSUE 12 Firstly, we would like to wish all our readers Happy National Day and Happy Holidays! So here we are. One year on, and we are extremely pleased and proud to be presenting our 12th issue of the UAE’s premiere business excellence magazine, Public Sector Excellence. We have had a great time putting together these fantastic issues for our readers and hope to continue to engage everyone with the best content in 2016. Inside this edition, as always, you will find our pages are jam-packed with content. This month, we take an in depth look at the current and future state of the UAE’s green energy economy, exploring some of the biggest green energy initiatives taking place in our In-Focus segment. We also take you around the globe to visit the “Greenest Cities in the World” and see what we can learn from the examples they are setting. Also inside this issue, we take our readers inside the 4th cycle of the Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance (which concluded last month), giving you the inside scoop into the awards and the winners of each of the three award categories. Over in the world of project management, we move our attention to the delicate yet imperative art of negotiation; a skill that all project managers should master to ensure successful project results. As we come to the end of the calendar year, we thought it best to share with our readers the most insightful predictions for digital marketing and technology trends in 2016 to help you plan your year and get ahead of the game! So here you have it: The top 10 marketing trends for a successful 2016, and the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016. Don’t miss our Local Enterprise segment this month as we catch up with Hala Zainal, managing partner and member of the Third Place trio, winners of Abu Dhabi’s Time Out Best Café Award and What’s On Best Independent Restaurant Award 2015. Also, check out our ‘Off Topic’ section for a roundup of Abu Dhabi’s Top 10 annual events to look out for in 2016!

EDITORIAL Managing Editor Denise Daane Deputy Editor Paul Cook Copy Editor Ford Maddox Art Director Regis Sudo PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION Group Production & Distribution Director Faisal Chareuf Tel: +44747 2011995 COMERCIAL SALES General Manager

To our subscribers who have contributed their valuable feedback and suggestions, we offer a word of appreciation and continue to encourage our readers to share their opinions via email to Also, stay tuned for some upcoming competitions with some brilliant prizes up for grabs in our future issues.

Khalid Mohammed Tel: +97150 3188891

If you have missed any of our previous issues, or are looking for additional articles, downloads, and professional resources please visit our website:

Peter Mushington Tel: +97152 7297978

Best Regards, Denise Daane, Managing Editor

Sales Manager




MARCH 2016

for more information and visit our Knowledge Centre for useful Project Management and Business Excellence Templates and Resources! @PSEMagazine CHECK OUT OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS

As the capital continues to diversity its economy, the manufacturing sector has seen phenomenal growth. Find out more.

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In February, we take an inside look at the UAE's smart city initiatives as well as explore some of the "Smartest Cities" around the globe.

March: In March, PSE takes you into the future of the economy as we look at the UAE Vision 2021 and the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 to see what’s in store.

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rading on to the field, where they stayed for the remainder of the proceedings.



The UAE stood still on Monday the 30th of November to honor the heroes that lost their lives serving their country.

The UAE celebrated its 44th National Day on Wednesday, December 3rd in style. With a huge line up of spectacles and events ranging from airshows and fireworks to festivals and events that were attended by the UAE Rulers and Sheikhs across all 7 Emirates, this year’s National Day celebrations were truly enjoyed by all citizens and residents of the UAE who were out in full force to show their love and appreciation for the nation.

The families of the fallen martyrs were bused from across the country to join the nation’s leaders in honouring the heroes on the site of what will be the Martyrs’ Memorial monument, adjacent to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The ceremony started promptly at 11am with a military marching band and rows of soldiers pa-

Editor's Pick CEREMONY HELD FOR ABU DHABI AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE The 4th cycle of the Abu Dhabi Awards for Excellence in Government Performance was concluded with the prestigious ceremony held on the 17th of November at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Vice Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, honoured the winners of the fourth edition of Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance. Details in Empowering Excellence (INSIDE)



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The Abu Dhabi e-Government became the inaugural recipient of the first-ever “Smart Government Award”. The award recognized the efforts of e-Government in implementing the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and for encouraging the

cooperative use of geospatial information across a various Government institutions in Abu Dhabi. Launched by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), the two day “User Conference”, held in San Diego, California in the United States brought over 15,000 international attendees and dignitaries in hopes of exchanging insights and sharing best practices with GIS professionals.

BANKING AND FINANCE GULF INTERNATIONAL BANK (GIB) TO INAUGURATE OPENING OF ITS ABU DHABI WHOLESALE BANKING BRANCH The Gulf International Bank (GIB) has announced the inauguration of its Abu Dhabi wholesale banking branch. In line GIB’s strategy to become a pan-GCC universal bank, the inauguration will launch an active GIB franchis in GCC by upgrading the existing Abu Dhabi office, a GIB subsidiary since 1990, to a wholesale branch. Earlier GIB was named as the “Best Investment Bank in Bahrain” and “Best Equities Bank in the Middle East” by New York based Global Finance magazine and is expected to play a crucial role in Abu Dhabi’s banking sector.

ECONOMY UAE’S FIRST AGRICULTURAL POLICY TO BENEFIT FARMING SUSTAINABILITY Farming will be more environmentally friendly, efficient and profitable because of the UAE’s first agricultural policy, which was recently submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Water. Formulated by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), in cooperation and participation with local agricultural organisations in the UAE, the 126-page-policy document includes policies on improving the country’s agrofood system.

TRANSPORT AND PORTS MUSAFFAH PORT, THE THIRD PORT TO GO LIVE WITH JADE SOFTWARE’S MASTER TERMINAL OPERATING SYSTEM The third of the planned installations for the Abu Dhabi ports, the opening of Musaffah Port marks the ports’ movement from legacy terminal systems to more advanced, integrated “Master Terminal” systems provided by Jade Software. Because of the momentum gained when Zayed Port went live on 1st of July after a six month implementation phase. The

first of its kind, the configuration, and training experience gained have resulted in speedy delivery of the Khalifa Port and now Musaffah Port. The remaining four ports are expected to be completed in 2016.

AVIATION STRATA CONTRACT WITH BOEING AND AIRBUS. HOPES TO MOVE BEYOND “VENDORBUYER RELATIONSHIP” Strata — Abu Dhabi’s gold composite aero-structures manufacturing company — has set its sights towards building strategic relations with Boeing and Airbus. Although both airlines have filed agreements amounting to a combined $7bn, Strata’s CEO, Badr Al Olama is already focused on the future prospects of this lucrative relationship and preventing it from becoming another vedor-buyer relation that tests shareholder relations. “If I continue selling, this is not a partnership. This is a vendor-buyer relationship, and that ends up with one situation — who gives me the cheapest product,” explains Badr. The CEO has plans for restructuring existing supply chain, working with the government, and collaborating in research.

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ABU DHABI INTERNATIONAL RECORDS 18 PERCENT INCREASE IN PASSENGER TRAFFIC DURING FIRST THREE QUARTERS Abu Dhabi International Airport has recorded an exceptional 18 percent increase in passenger traffic during the first three quarters of the year. This includes a sharp rise in traffic from the U.S.(44%), a 24.8% increase from UK, 27.3% from Australia, and a 17.2% surge from Germany. Compared to last year, the total traffic movement is up by 14.3% with the busiest routes being USA, Saudi Arabia, UK, Qatar, Australia, Germany, and Thailand.

REAL ESTATE AND CONSTRUCTION ALDAR PROPERTIES REPORT 634.3 MILLION IN PROFITS, BOASTS A 9.4 PERCENT RISE IN Q3 Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties, the statelinked builder of Abu Dhabi’s circuit for Formula One declared $172.71 million (634.3 million dirhams)in profits during Q3. The reported 9.4 percent rise in Q3 earnings compares to 579.6 million dirhams Aldar Properties reportedfor the same period last year (2014). The net revenue for Q3 is 1.18 bln dirhams compared to 1.37 bln dirhams a year ago.

AL GHARBIA PLANS OVER 400 VILLAS IN BEACHFRONT COMMUNITY FOR UAE NATIONALS Lying on a stretch of coastline 160 km west of Abu Dhabi City, Al Gharbia, the residential neighborhood in Mirfa Beach, is planning a sustainable community comprising of over 400 villas for UAE nationals only. The project will be built by Abu Dhabi General Services Company,

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working in coordination with the Abu Dhabi Housing Authority. Devised by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), the community will offer a robust, sustainable infrastructure, a diverse range of amenities ranging from public cornice and mosques to shops, parks, and community facilities.

EDUCATION DR AMAL AL QUBAISI LEAVES ADEC FOR FNC DUTIES Dr Amal Al Qubaisi has stepped down as head of Abu Dhabi Education Council(ADEC) to focus on her duties as President of the Federal National Council. Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, who preceded Dr Al Qubaisi as ADEC Director General from 2007 to last year, will again take up the post, under the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. The move was expected since Dr Al Qubaisi became the region’s first female

leader of a national assembly last week when she was appointed president of the FNC.

AL AIN TO HOST WORLD’S FIRST AL AZHAR BRANCH The first branch campus of Egypt’s Al Azhar University will open in Al Ain next September after an agreement was signed on Wednesday. Al Azhar, the major centre of Sunni Muslim learning, will offer bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and PhD degrees in Islamic studies.

URBAN PLANNING AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS UPC BRINGS TOGETHER GOVERNMENT STAKEHOLDERS TO DEFINE ABU DHABI’S URBAN IDENTITY The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) has held a workshop with key government stakeholders to enhance the urban identity strategy for Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi Government aims to

ensure a coherent and consistent urban identity in alignment with the Vision 2030. The workshop brought government agencies together to gain consensus and formally define the urban identify that incorporates the perspectives and needs of all agencies. It highlights the government’s appreciation of how a city’s urban identity can affect the wellbeing of its residents, in addition to attracting regional and international tourists.

DRIVER SPEEDS TO BE MONITORED WITH ‘SMART GATES’ A series of speed monitoring “smart gates” are being installed along the Abu Dhabi-Dubai road by next year to monitor driver speeds and reduce fog induced accidents. Revealed by the UAE authorities during the Gitex technology conference in Dubai, the smart gates are specifically designed to sense speeds under foggy conditions. Currently, only a single test smart gate has been installed in front of the Al Rahma Mall, however 69 such additional gates remain to be installed on Abu Dhabi to Western Region roads, Abu Dhabi to Al Ain, and Dubai to Abu Dhabi, positioned every four to six kilometers.

TOURISM REVEALED: ABU DHABI HOTEL'S $10,980 A NIGHT LUXURY OFFERING The St Regis Abu Dhabi has unveiled its Luxury Aficionado Experience. Priced at AED40,000 ($10,890) per couple, the opulent experience includes a caviar expert (Caviar Cognoscenti) escorting the couple for a private caviar tasting evening atop the hotel’s helipad 255 meters off the ground. The St Regis has partnered with Gourmet

House for its caviar experts. The Private Collection Caviars includes Beluga, Kaluga, and the King of Caviars, the Almas — all of which are available in various colors, shapes, and sizes.

MEDIA, ARTS, AND CULTURE DUBAI’S THE FARJAM FOUNDATION SHOWCASES HISTORY OF EMIRATI ART THROUGH NEW EXHIBITION Abu Dhabi Art Talks is returning with renowned personalities extraordinaire including Jean-Luc Martinez of the Louvre, Neil MacGregor of the British Museum, museum directors Richard Armstrong of the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation, and art curators from leading international cultural institutions. The goal is singular: to discuss the discourses and narratives of Saadiyat Cultural District museums and comment on the importance and future of museums in the 21st century. The program will run alongside presentations of 40 leading international galleries and selection of contemporary artwork.

ENERGY STATE-OWNED OIL EXPLORER AND SUPPLIER SWINGS TO $113M LOSS DURING Q3 Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), the state-owned oil explorer and power supplier, reported a net loss of $113.3 million (AED416 million) amid concerns of weakening oil prices. The government of Abu Dhabi, a primary share holder (75%) reported the net loss for the quarter ending September 30. This is comparable to a net profit of AED107 million the company earned during the same period last year.

ABU DHABI NATIONAL ENERGY COMPANY (TAQA) BEGINS SELLING ELECTRICITY FROM ITS HYDROPOWER PROJECT IN NORTH INDIA Amid reporting a net loss of AED421 million ($114.7 million) during its second quarters, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), the state controlled oil explorer and power supplier has been contracted to sell electricity from its 100 megawatt hydroelectric power plant “Sorang” located in northern India. The move is expected to circumvent the losses it has experienced due to a drop in oil and gas prices. Capable of powering 500,000 homes at full capacity, the power plant started selling power from October 31, TAQA said in a statement.

OTHER EFQM OPENS MIDDLE EAST OFFICE IN DUBAI EFQM, the European Foundation for Quality Management, the not-for-profit foundation that supports organisations on their journey to excellence, has launched its Middle East branch in Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV). EFQM is the custodian of the EFQM Excellence Model, created by a team of experts from industry and academia-a non-prescriptive framework that can be used to gain a holistic view of any organisation, regardless of size, sector or maturity. The EFQM Excellence Model is the foundation of many National and Local Excellence Awards including the Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Program, the Abu Dhabi Awards for Excellence in Government Performance, the Sheikh Khalifa Award, and the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Government Excellence Awa.

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Negotiation Skills By PSE Correspondent, Alexander Matthey WHAT IS NEGOTIATION? The word "negotiation" originated from the Latin expression, negotiatus, which means ‘to carry on business’. One common definition of negotiation is: a potentially beneficial process of interaction, by which two or more parties, with different preferences seek to improve their options through joint actions and decisions. Among the key features of any negotiation is the presence of a minimum of two parties, each having predetermined goals and expecting specific outcomes. Negotiations typically occur between parties that understand the purpose of negotiations, and usually involve resolution and consensus as negotiating parties become willing to modify their initial positions. There are many reasons why we negotiate. Among the most com-

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mon reasons are to reach an agreement, beat the opposition, to compromise, to settle an argument, or to make a point. In a negotiation, there may be a buyer or seller, a customer or supplier, a boss or employee, a business partner, a diplomat or a civil servant. On a more personal level, our life is filled with negotiation, which takes place between spouses, friends, parents or children, workmates and bosses. There are many schools of thought on this topic and numerous examples of great negotiators with completely different styles and techniques. What is certain though is that art of negotiation is one that takes time and experience to master, much like a game of chess. For starters, a good negotiator should be open and flexible, yet firm and confident. One should exercise patience with a demeanour of coolness and maturity. Regardless of rank or position, a good negotiator must also possess good leadership qualities, critical thinking and an-

alytical skills. One must also have a great sense of emotional intelligence that enables them to gracefully steer the negotiations in their favour. With this in mind, here are NINE rules that will hopefully help you on your way to healthy and fruitful negotiations:

THE 9 RULES FOR SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATIONS RULE 1 ▪ BEHAVE YOURSELF! Develop yourself purposefully, study, practice and analyse; always remember that negotiation skills are not innate. A patient demeanour is also tremendously important and maintaining this will prevent poor openings and unnecessary concessions. Furthermore, don’t take lightly the virtues of positivity and confidence. If you display these behaviours, you can create an atmosphere that will both calm yourself and influence others.

RULE 2 ▪ BE DIPLOMATIC AND TACTFUL Leave behind your ego! The best negotiators should not be concerned with who gets credit for a successful deal. Their talent is in making the other side feel like the final agreement was all their idea. When being considerate during negotiations, listening skills are important. The best negotiators are often quiet listeners who patiently let others have the floor while they make their case. They never interrupt and encourage the other side to talk first. This helps set up one of negotiation's oldest maxims: Whoever mentions numbers first, loses. While that's not always true, it's generally better to sit tight and let the other side go first. Even if they don't mention numbers, it gives you a chance to ask what they are thinking. You should also remember your manners, we know you’re not children but please remember to keep a diplomatic approach when negotiating. Avoid irritating other and irritable mannerisms and do not get drawn into immediate counter-proposals or attack and defence tactics.

for the other party too if possible. As a PM, or buyer of services, you should determine your ideal cost and set another ‘threshold’ value/ BATNA, over which you will not go, but will reject the offer. Try to identify the other party’s, BATNA as well. If one does not get this value, one walks away. This tactic will hopefully highlight an intersection between the two BATNAs, which represents the “Zone Of Possible Agreement” or ZOPA. This will be where the negotiation pricewise takes affect. When setting out a strategy, be sure to identify who has the Power Position to decide on the other sideknow your opposition! You should also prepare your initial position and proposal, called “Anchor” and the value must be ambitious, but realistic! You can achieve this by establishing the Anchor first, especially if the other party has the

power position. Chances are the negotiation will revolve around it.

RULE 4 ▪ USE INFLUENCING STRATEGIES Influencing strategies are key in the bargaining phase. An effort to constantly emphasise the other party’s potential losses and gains should be made and you should make you concessions one by one. Another useful strategy is starting with an aggressive offer and moderating gradually, always remember though to provide social references for potential gains. When making demands, they must always be justified by providing the evidence and the correct setting to make them reasonable. RULE 5 ▪ USE THE RIGHT NEGOTIATION STRATEGY

Distributive vs. Integrative negotiation, is based on a mind-set illustrated as follows:

RULE 3 ▪ PREPARATION IS THE FIRST STEP TO SUCCESS Information is the most powerful weapon of negotiation- Gather it and analyse it. When collecting info, establish your ‘Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement’ or BATNA definitely for yourself, and

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1. DECIDE -Research and Gather Information -Meet to identify issues and strategize -Define the problem and to decide whether to Negotiate, Dominate, Acquiesce or Avoid. -Once your decision is to Negotiate, decide how much time and energy to devote to each stage.

Before Negotiations, determine: -What is your ideal position? -What is your realistic position? -What is your fallback position? -Find an area of common interest and a genuine Win-Win outcome During this phase mentally move to the others position – seek to understand. Thereafter take the other to your position - seek to be understood. Once both positions are understood, define goals to arrive to a Win-Win situation.

5. FOLLOW UP 4. EXECUTE -Congratulate the other parties -See to it that the action plan is implemented -Carry out the agreed upon solution

RULE 6 ▪ KEEP A COOL HEAD Always stick to your principles. As an individual and a business owner, you likely have a set of guiding principles and values that you just won't compromise. If you find negotiations crossing those boundaries, it might be a deal you can live without. In the same vein, don’t be persuaded by others problems. In most negotiations, you will hear all of the other side's problems and reasons they can't give you what you want. They want their problems to become yours, but don't let them. Instead, deal with each as they come up and try to solve them. If their "budget" is too low, for example, maybe there are other places that money could come from. When negotaiting, try to defuse with acknowledgement, empathy, patience, impartiality. These traits are both useful and respectable.

RULE 8 ▪ MAXIMIZE YOUR CHANCES BY USING TIP CHECKLISTS Early stage negotiation tips: There are some simple ways that you establish your position

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3. NEGOTIATE -Assemble negotiation team and determine roles -Generate and evaluate alternatives -Select the the best mutual fit -Assess offers objectively -Match offers against ideal, realistic and fallback positions -Check the finality of offers -Keep objectivity by comparing value with price -Capture agreement in writing -Create action plan & timeline

-Nurture relationship – aim for long term -Check complience – it should be built into the agreement

and desires early. Tactics such as asking for more than you can get and never saying YES to the first offer are very effective. You should also avoid confrontational negotiation whilst playing the role of either reluctant buyer or reluctant seller. Additionally, consider dealing with less emotional issues first. Mid stage negotiation tips: When interacting with others, tactics such as silence management, flattery and intentional delay can be utilised in your favour. Make sure to handle the person who has no authority to decide and never offer to split the difference. Impasses (stuck at a certain point), stalemates (willing to find a solution, but not sure how) and deadlocks (refusal to change positions) should be identified and handle with due care. These important points can make or break a negotiation. End stage negotiation tips: Despite being clichéd, the Good Guy / Bad Guy routine can work effectively, as can employing missing man tactics in order not to decide in hurry. Throughout the negotiation process, you should ‘nibble’ (getting more after the deal is made) and ‘taper’ concessions (the method of narrowing down or reducing concessions).

You should also always remain aware of time, use the deadline to your advantage and make the last hour a time to decide tactics.

RULE 9 ▪ AVOID KNOWN MISTAKES There are many recognised mistakes that have been proven to hinder the negotiation process and these should be avoided at all costs. Expecting result without an established relationship and demanding to be understood without understanding others are two mistakes many are guilty of. Don’t ever be too uncompromising either, by all means stick to your demands but if a deadlock occurs, you may have to budge! Emotion always seems to be a factor in negotiations. Although it is important, it should be used wisely in order to no have a negative effect upon your plans. Emotion can be helpful when demonstrating empathy and promoting a positive as opposed to aggressive stance but don’t let it get in the way. Being too reliant on emotion can blur your focus and distract you. A decision made under an irrational or emotive mindset can potentially be destructive to the strategic plans you have laid out.

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capital perspective. Many companies already have CSR departments coordinating short evening or weekend volunteering opportunities. However, such things rarely build upon the unique capabilities a company might have. Of late, interestingly, we have seen a new form of social engagement emerging - one that recognises that the social impact might be much larger if employees apply their existing skills from their commercial activities to social issues. At the same time, these projects also offer a chance for extending these skills in ways that might also be commercially relevant.

Corporate Social Impact Initiatives Make Employees More Loyal By Jasjit Singh, INSEAD Associate Professor of Strategy and The Shell Fellow in Business and the Environment | August 27, 2015 An opportunity to give back to society without having to give up a promising business career turns out to be a major incentive for valuable employees to stay. Companies are realising that, in order to have a sustained and largescale social impact, their societal agenda has to be integrated with their core business. Creative think-

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ing can help generate innovative business models for social engagement without undermining commercial objectives. The key is to take a long-term perspective, and to consider a broader-than-usual set of performance drivers. Of particular interest to forward-looking companies are the potential benefits from a human

Having the opportunity to give back to society, while maintaining the privileges of a corporate job, ought to be something that employees value both personally and professionally. We should expect this to ultimately help companies improve their ability to retain top talent. However, existing academic literature offers few empirical studies that test this proposition in a rigorous fashion. To fill this gap, I have been working on a study analysing more than six years of employee data from a leading global management consulting firm. The results have been published as the article “Corporate Social Initiatives and Employee Retention� (forthcoming in Organization Science, co-authored with Michelle Rogan and Christiane Bode). We found a strong link between retention rates and participation in a corporate social initia-


tive (or “CSI” for short) being run by the firm as a business integrated with the rest of the organisation. Since employee turnover is often cited as the top challenge facing HR departments, our findings hold major significance for companies, especially for would-be “social intrapreneurs” looking to buttress the business case for proactive social engagement.

SOCIAL INITIATIVES AS A BUSINESS The consulting firm in question offers its employees the option to step away from commercial client projects for a few months, and put their well-honed consulting skills to work for a project with an NGO, development agency or another organisation explicitly prioritising social impact – often in a developing world context. Importantly, the projects are not pro bono, as the company feels that such an approach would be neither scalable nor sustainable. Instead, clients are asked to pay, albeit at lower than commercial rates in order to ensure affordability. A really novel aspect of the model is that consultants are also asked to accept a salary reduction (up to 50 percent) and go without customary consulting perks (business-class travel and luxury hotels) for the duration of the project. Despite this requirement, there continues to be a long waiting list of employees keen on being staffed on a CSI project.

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Overall, we studied a database of 10,634 employees, including both those who participated and those who did not. Our analysis found that consultants who participated in CSI were up to 32 percent less likely to leave the firm relative to their non-participating counterparts. On digging deeper into employees’ reasons for leaving as well as their performance record, it emerges that voluntary departures were indeed what made the difference and that the individuals retained due to CSI are also exactly the kind of high-performing individuals worth retaining.

FOR THE SCEPTICS A sceptical reader might wonder whether the kind of individuals who opt into CSI would be more likely to stay with the firm anyway. That possibility occurred to us as well, and we addressed it in two ways. First, the stringent research criteria used ensure that our sample of participants and non-participants is comparable, at least on dimensions we observe. In addition, we surveyed current employees who had not yet participated in CSI in order to compare their interest in CSI with their stated enthusiasm for their day-to-day responsibilities. The survey revealed that, if anything, the employees most keen on CSI were slightly more likely, not less, to consider leaving their current role. In other words, innate, pre-existing differences between participants and non-participants in CSI are unlikely to be

the full story behind the observed retention benefits. The transformative effect of the CSI experience also came up over and over again in our numerous interviews with participants. Here are some representative quotes from the interview transcripts: “Once I settled back into commercial practice, I realised that I really enjoy this kind of work… I was making more of a difference… Doing CSI was one of the reasons I wouldn’t move from [the firm].” “I certainly came back refreshed from my experience… It helped me stick around for another two years.” “I think it flips a switch in your brain that even if development isn’t for you, you’ve had that experience… I feel very loyal toward [the firm] for providing me this opportunity.”

TRANSITION MANAGEMENT AND RE-INTEGRATION While the retention effects were positive on average, not all CSI projects were equally beneficial for retention. The retention effect was significantly stronger for participants in shorter CSI projects than for those whose CSI projects lasted six months or more. Moreover, the increase in retention rate disappeared entirely when we considered employees who served in far-afield emerging markets. This

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suggests a boundary condition for the overall finding: that there is such a thing as too much time away from business-as-usual and too much distance. The explanation is that, beyond a certain point, an employee’s connection back to the company’s commercial activities might become too weak. This is consistent with what we found in the interviews. Employees found that the transition back into their normal work routine after CSI could be a challenge, especially when they had lost touch with their commercial peers. They noted that not enough effort went into re-integrating them back or applying the new skills gained from their unique experience into commercial work. These points imply that in order to derive the full business benefit from initiatives like CSI, companies would have to more carefully design the processes around the transition into and out of projects as well as maintain communication with the employees during such projects. While there would certainly be some employees that still feel the need to leave as their career goals just do not align with what the company can offer, the companies would still be better off doing their best to retain a subset that can see their continued relevance at the firm.

DOLLARS AND SENSE Our paper does not argue that mandatory participation for em-

ployees in initiatives like CSI would increase retention. The benefit, instead, comes from giving employees with an inherent interest in social impact the chance to participate. Firms that offer something like CSI provide a new kind of career track that the more socially-minded employees value and are willing to stay for: one that allows them simultaneously to pursue a business career and engage closely with societal issues, rather than having to make a stark choice between one or the other. It’s hard to know the exact cost of replacing a highly skilled executive such as a management consultant, but some reports have placed it at over 200 percent of the executive’s

annual salary. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude that this particular firm saved millions in turnover costs as a result of CSI. Therefore, despite the fact that CSI projects are not as profitable as commercial projects in terms of direct financial contribution, there starts to be a persuasive business case once broader considerations are taken into account. At a minimum, it certainly seems worth exploring whether initiatives like these might be a better way of spending the “CSR dollars” that a company would otherwise be spending - often on projects unrelated to where their competitive advantage and unique value creation lie.

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Hospital in Abu Dhabi. Healthpoint is a fully integrated, world-class, multi-specialty hospital located in Zayed Sports City; it is a business unit of the Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala Development Company.



ashid Buhari was twelve years old when his father had a work injury that left him unable to walk. Doctors told the family that the father would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. But, thanks to physiotherapy – and determination – Buhari’s father was able to walk again. From that moment on, the young Buhari was inspired to become a physiotherapist. “My passion for physiotherapy was born out of my personal experience as a young boy, seeing my father spending his days in bed or in a wheelchair,”

Buhari recalls. “Physiotherapy made a huge difference to my father and my family. It’s such a great privilege to have the capacity and the skills to make a significant difference in someone’s life, that’s why I’ve decided to became a physiotherapist. I wanted to help people get their lives back on track.” Buhari, who has more than 17 years experience in musculoskeletal strain physiotherapy with a special interest in spinal rehabilitation, now heads the Spine Unit in the Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation at Healthpoint

Before joining Healthpoint in 2013 as one of its very first staff members, the Finnish-trained Buhari was the Chief Physiotherapist at Wooridul Spine Centre (also part of the Mubadala network) in Dubai. Buhari now splits his time between Wooridul Spine Centre and Healthpoint Hospital, which hosts the newer, flagship location of Wooridul Spine Centre and its physiotherapy centre. However, his story begins away from the UAE. “I helped in setting up two clinics in Kuwait, one in Saudi Arabia, one in Jordan, and two clinics in Iran,” he says. “I was responsible for delivering the medical education and guidance to the staff, setting up quality assurance mechanisms, hiring new staff, and making sure the clinics are achieving their full potential.” Now, at Healthpoint’s physiotherapy and rehabilitation centre, one of the largest physiotherapy centres in the UAE, Buhari is putting all of his experience to work by managing a team of 17 dedicated spine physiotherapists. The entire team of approximately 40 physiotherapists spanning orthopaedics and spine care treats about 350 patients a day. The centre offers a wide range of physiotherapy treatments including: electrotherapy, electrical muscle stimulation, hydrotherapy, spinal rehabilitation, back and neck pain management and sports injuries, in addition to other treatments and services to improve joint mobility and body alignment. “Healthpoint’s physiotherapy and rehabilitation centre is catering to the needs

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of the UAE population,” says Buhari, noting that around 70-75% of the centre’s patients are UAE Nationals. “Our aim at the centre is to reduce the need to seek physiotherapy treatment outside the UAE, a goal we share with Healthpoint Hospital and Mubadala Healthcare as a whole. We are also targeting patients from across the GCC and the Middle East region.” Buhari stresses that Healthpoint’s physiotherapy centre is the only specialised centre in the UAE that caters to spine and joint related injuries. He adds that the centre has some of the most advanced equipment and devices for spine and joint treatments in the UAE. Some of these revolutionary treatments are: red cord slings, a new technique to address musculoskeletal pain, and underwater or hydro-treadmills, which help patients return to full function after injury and improve muscle strength. “On top of our experience, great services and state-of-the art facilities, we’re passionate about applying our unique expertise to the domain of healthcare,” Buhari says.

A CHANGE IN PERCEPTION Not long ago, physiotherapy was a fragmented sector, with a general perception that it was all about massage and exercise. Things have subsequently evolved over the last decade though, and physiotherapy is now catching up with the healthcare market with the demand for physical therapists expected to grow in the UAE. The sharp increase in obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases are considered among the main factors for the greater demand for physiotherapy treatments. According to recent statistics, around 19 per cent of people in the UAE suffer from diabetes, while more than 66% of men and 60% of women in the

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UAE are obese or overweight- a major risk factor for developing musculoskeletal disorders, according to the World Health Organisation. “Obesity and low physical activity can result in many muscular disorders and could cause pain or injury to the body’s joints, muscles and nerves. Physiotherapy treatments can treat many of these problems and restore movement and normal body function,” says Buhari in response to this, noting that people are increasingly recognising the role physiotherapy plays in improving the quality of their lives. Buhari, a founding member of the Emirates Physiotherapy Society and head of its scientific committee, says public awareness is helping to change previous perceptions about physiotherapy. “We at Healthpoint Hospital have undertaken many initiatives to promote physiotherapy and healthy practices. This year, we organised school tours to the centre and we had the chance to introduce some of the school kids to physiotherapy,” he recalls fondly. “We have two female UAE Nationals working as physiotherapists at the centre and two female UAE National administrative staff on the team. This says a lot about the kind of changes that are taking place in physiotherapy in the UAE,” he says, stressing that Healthpoint has a special relationship with these universities. (Both UAE National physiotherapists at Healthpoint graduated from the University of Sharjah program.) “Every year, we go and meet physiotherapy students; we talk about Healthpoint and the kind of services and treatments we offer. We also offer some career advice for those interested in building a career with us,” he adds. Despite the increasing awareness, a

OUR AIM AT THE CENTRE IS TO REDUCE THE NEED TO SEEK PHYSIOTHERAPY TREATMENT OUTSIDE THE UAE Education also plays a crucial role in raising awareness about the importance of physiotherapy and how it can improve our quality of life. According to Buhari, fifteen years ago, studying physiotherapy was tougher, both in terms of being able to find schools that offer such programmes and due to a general lack of interest. Now, the UAE is home to three universities that offer five-year physiotherapy programmes: the Gulf Medical University in Ajman, University of Sharjah, and Fatima College of Health Sciences in Abu Dhabi.

porting on the recommended changes. “We have a number of partnerships with public and private institutions in the UAE including Etihad and Emirates Airlines,” Buhari says. “We come in and assess their work environment and provide recommendations regarding adaptations to work equipment (office chair, keyboard), workstation lay-out, and task design.” He adds that the centre is also targeting oil and gas companies, which is a physically demanding sector that involves a lot of lifting and bendingactions that could cause spine or back injuries.

lot of people are still reluctant to see a physiotherapist about their aches and pains— although there are so many more reasons to seek such treatment today. Obesity and sedentary lifestyles are the main reasons for lower back pain, a common health problem, with one out of ten people worldwide suffering from back pain. “If you have a toothache, you go and see a dentist; this is not the case when it comes to back or neck pain. Many people just ignore the pain,” says Buhari, adding that in many instances, those suffering with back issues could end up with more serious problems if they continue to evade physiotherapists. “The sooner we are exposed to the problem, the faster the recovery will be,” he adds. “Early intervention is best.”

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE Another cause for a multitude of musculoskeletal problems, according to Buhari, is a bad workstation. This could be associated with a number of risk factors including poor working posture, the set up of the work area or even the work equipment design. To prevent the development of back and neck problems and to reduce work injuries, Healthpoint’s physiotherapy centre offers workplace assessment services tailored to specific roles or industries. These assessments are provided by physiotherapists who carry out worksite visits, which consist of observing and evaluating the workplace and then re-

When asked what advice he could provide to our office-based readers, Buhari responds by saying: “Many suffer neck and back pain as a result of spending long hours sitting at their desks or typing on their computers. Such pains can be prevented or alleviated by adopting good work postures. Repeated physical movements while using keyboards or mouse can cause repetitive strain injuries. So, employees need to take regular breaks, stretch and relax from time to time”. Before wrapping up, Buhari leaves us with one final piece of advice: “Keeping yourself adequately hydrated all the time is important to prevent muscle aches and pain. Exercise is also important for maintaining your core fitness. These things can be easily performed and could make a big difference. But the most important thing is to never ignore body pains”.

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ABU DHABI AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE The Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance (ADAEP) was introduced in 2006 through resolution no. 45. It was initiated by H.H General Shiekh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander in Chief of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chairman of the Executive Council. The Secretary General to the Executive Council, Mohammed Ahmed Al-Bowardi, chairs the Award committee and the criteria for award selection is based on the EFQM Model for Excellence. The Award was created specifically for the Abu Dhabi government organizations and SOEs as part of a vision to improve their performance and place Abu Dhabi in the top five governments of the world. The Award is not meant to segregate winners from losers, but to provide a

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comprehensive framework within which firms can evaluate themselves, and shine a light on where improvements can be made. It provides a guide for agencies on their journey to excellence, and is built upon years of experience and specific knowledge. This combination of experience and knowledge creates a type of organisational and operational wisdom that can aid in every aspect of business. In essence, the awards operate as a tool for the implementation of the EFQM Excellence Model that is designed to motivate the Abu Dhabi Government to make improvements toward its goal of excellence. Through the adaptation of Total Quality & Excellence principles, government organisations can develop effective leadership that will rally their staff to deploy strategies through efficient management of processes and re-

sources. Furthermore, the Awards serve to create a philosophy of excellence across government entities, promoting high quality ethics and transparency among managers and employees.

AWARDS BREAKDOWN The Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance (ADAEP) is built on a pyramid structure that places the award categories in a hierarchy of ascending levels. It is based on the concept that an organisation can only achieve excellence through their human resources and their ability to deliver top quality results in all projects. Fifty-one government entities in Abu Dhabi competed over the first category awards, which included

SECOND CATEGORY PROJECTS AND TEAMS The second category of excellence awards is aimed at projects and teams and features five awards related to the application of leading practices in project management and team excellence. The first award in this set is the ‘Transformational Strategic Projects’ award, which goes to the government team that


Dev elo pt h

dd Plan an evelop OACHES R P P A

Required RESULTS

Def ine




A Ap S S E S S A ND R E FI N E pro aches me and De plo y


This subcategory includes five awards reflecting certain priorities of the Abu Dhabi government. The first of these is the ‘Excellence in Knowledge Management’ award, which is awarded to the body that successfully provides tools for knowledge management, spreading, employment, investment and utilisation. Second up is the ‘Emiratisation Award’, which is awarded to whoever most effec-

Sub-awards focus on key areas in the institutional system to support excellence. The ‘Excellence in Leadership’ award reflects the importance of leadership and its role in inspiring and building a culture of excellence. The ‘Excellence in Services Provision’ award, which was

This year, government entities were awarded for their efforts in making significant strides towards bettering their work. The ‘Excellence in improving performance’ award was given to those entities that demonstrated the greatest improvement in performance from the previous cycle.

DEPLOY Approaches



launched to ensure that customer satisfaction is at the centre of the government work, it is awarded to the company that exceed expectations with the optimal use of resources. The ‘Excellence in Developing Human Resources’ award, places emphasis on the human resource sector and concerns the care, development and appreciation of all employees.


The main award is assessed by external evaluators using a concept known as RADAR Theory (Results, Approaches, Deploy, Assess, and Refine). The RADAR theory offers a framework for the assessment of ‘Enablers and Results’. For the Enablers, assessors analyse the Approach, Deployment, Assessment, and Refinement of each entity’s efforts with regards to the development and improvement of excellence enablers. For Results, the assessors’ primary criteria are Relevance, Usability, and Performance Outcomes. A firm will be awarded points based on these attributes, turning the criteria for excellence and the RADAR theory into a scorecard for the assessment of the entire firm.

NE REFI d an

The highlight of the award ceremony and the most sought after prize, the Main Award, is given to the entity that achieves the highest levels of government performance. The awardee demonstrates the principals and concepts of the Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance, and is therefore considered the most distinguished entity in the Abu Dhabi government.

The third incentive award is the ‘Financial Excellence’ Award, which addresses the best practices in financial planning. Next up is the ‘E-excellence’ award, which is given to the entity with the best performing e-services platform. The 5th and latest addition to this category is the award for ‘Excellence in Risk Management and Business Sustainability’. This prize was launched to consolidate the risk management and business sustainability culture that is characterised by the ability to identify, evaluate, manage and address risks.

ASSE S S imp a


tively builds the competencies and capabilities of Emiratis, whilst also actively encourages the engagement of Emirati employees by developing their abilities to prepare future leaders.

N PLA he Yt

the excellence incentives awards and sub-awards. Both of these prizes focus on key areas in the institutional system to support excellence. Also on offer is the Main Award, which is the ultimate prize at the ceremony.

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People Results


Leadership Leadership

Strategy 10%


Processes, Products & Services

Partnership & Resources




Learning Creativity & Innovation

Customer Results 25%

Society Results 10% Key Results 15%

ernment performance, two medals are dedicated to recognising efforts in serving customers, the medal of ‘Excellent Employee in Supervisory Customer Service’ and the ‘Excellent Employee Medal in non-supervisory Customer Service’. The last two awards in this category are the ‘Excellent Employee medal in the site field’, an award dedicated to all the employees of Abu Dhabi government whose job specifications require fieldwork, and the ‘Excellent New Employee’ Medal, awarded to new government employees who have quickly become rising stars and champions of organisational excellence.

“AND THE WINNER IS”… has successfully implemented a strategic project with clear and sustained benefits. The ‘Outstanding projects/teams’ award is the second prize in this category and focuses on projects delivered through the successful collaboration of more than one governmental entity with a focus on promoting teamwork. Thirdly, we have the ‘Excellent technical project/ team’ award that is presented to the project team who successfully deliver a technical government project. The ‘Excellent customer service project/team award’ is another prize that emphasises the importance of delivering exceptional customer service to citizens and residents by recognising innovative and customer-centric projects. The final award in this category is the ‘Excellent internal improvement project/team’, which aims to recognise the most effective government excellence projects and teams that actively empower a high level excellence in their organizations.

THIRD CATEGORY PEOPLE POWER The third category of excellence awards is all about the people. This category is aimed at recognising the individuals

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who have demonstrated their exceptional commitment to serving the Abu Dhabi government in various capacities. Among these awards is the prestigious, long-service ‘Dedicated Employee’ medal awarded to employees who have worked for more than 20 years in the government of Abu Dhabi. The ‘Executive Director’ medal is also on offer, which celebrates excellence in executive government leadership. Additionally, the medal of ‘Excellent employee in the administrative supervision field’ is awarded to employees from different administrative levels that perform supervision roles, and the medal of ‘Excellent Employee in the Administrative Support Field’ is given to employees who perform important administrative work. There is also recognition for employees who have dedicated their time to specialise in the respective fields. The two awards are: the ‘Distinguished Employee’ medal that is reserved for specialised professionals, and the ‘Distinguished Employee medal in the Technical Field’, an award allocated to technical professionals. Given the importance of customer service in achievement excellence in gov-

The 4th cycle of the award was launched at the end of 2014 with the participation of 51 Government entities in Abu Dhabi competing for the esteemed prizes. H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Chairman of the Executive Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor and Vice Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, honoured the winners of the fourth edition of Abu Dhabi Award for Excellence in Government Performance in a ceremony held on the 17th of November at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). The prestigious Main Award was handed out to Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation who also picked up other awards in different categories. Another big winner on the night was the team at Etihad Airways that managed to pick up four awards, including being honoured in all three of the major categories. Congratulations to all the winners!

Winners of the 4th Cycle 2015



1. Excellence in Knowledge Management Award: Abu Dhabi Education Council

1. Excellence in Leadership Award: Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation 2 . Excellence in Services Provision Award: Al Ain Distribution Company 3 . The Excellence in Developing Human Resources Award: Etihad Airways 4 . The Excellence in Improving Performance Award: Abu Dhabi Ports and Abu Dhabi Education Council



2 . Emiratisation Award: Al Ain Municipality 3 . Financial Excellence Award: Abu Dhabi Ports Company


Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation

4 . E-excellence Award: Abu Dhabi Retirement and Pensions and Benefits Fund 5 . Excellence in Risk Management and Business Sustainability Award: Abu Dhabi Retirement and Pensions and Etihad Airways




1. The Transformational Strategic Projects / Teams Award: “The Reading and Remote Control of Smart Meters” project, Al Ain Distribution Company

1. Long-service “Dedicated Employee” Medal: Dr. Abdullah Essa Zamzam, Environment Agency -Abu Dhabi (EAD) 2 . “Executive Director” Medal: Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Environment Agency -Abu Dhabi (EAD) 3 . “Excellent Employee in Supervisory Customer Service Award”: Jassim Abdulrahman Al Ali, Department of Transport 4 . “Excellent Employee Medal in non- Supervisory Customer Service: Maitha Rashid Al Shamsi , Department of Economic Development 5 . “Distinguished Employee” medal in the specialized field: Dr. Abdul Majeed Breik Al Zubaidi, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) 6 . “Distinguished Employee medal in the Technical Field”: Mohamed Abdullah Al Kathiri, Etihad Airways 7 . “Excellent employee in the administrative supervision field”: Dr. Hamid Ali Al Kendi, of the Environment Agency -Abu Dhabi (EAD) 8 . “Excellent Employee in the Administrative Support Field” Medal: Noura Fahad Al Zaabi, Abu Dhabi's Regulation and Supervision Bureau (RSB) 9 . “Excellent Employee medal in the site field”: Fatima Hassan Al Baloushi, Al-Ain Municipality 10 . “Excellent New Employee” Medal: Asmaa Mustafa Al Shanqeeti, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation

2 . The Outstanding Projects / Teams Award: The US Customs office and border patrol project, Abu Dhabi International Airport 3 . Outstanding Project/Team Award: The Department of Transport and Etihad Airways 4 . Excellent Technical Project /Team Award: “Strategic transport model” project, Department of Transport 5 . Excellent Customer Service Project /Team Award: “the consultation services” project, Al Ain Distribution Company 6 . Excellent Internal Improvement Project / Team Award: "The performance management utilizing the behavior of winners" project, Etihad Airways.

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UAE looks to go Pollution Free How UAE’s Energy Market is Fairing The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the world’s sixth-largest oil producer in 2014, and the second-largest producer of petroleum and other liquids in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), behind only Saudi Arabia. As the prospects for major new oil discoveries in the UAE are low, the UAE is relying on the application of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques in mature oil fields to increase production. To help meet growing internal natural gas demand, the UAE has

increased imports from Qatar and plans to further increase domestic natural gas production. However, the UAE’s natural gas has a relatively high sulfur content that makes it difficult to process, making it difficult for the country to develop its extensive reserves. Using EOR techniques, the government plans to expand production 30% by 2020. EOR is an expensive process, and at current prices, these projects may not be economic. The Upper Zakum oilfield is one field that has been targeted for further development. The field is the second-largest offshore oilfield and the fourth-largest oilfield in the world. It current-

ly produces about 590,000 barrels per day (b/d). The UAE has almost the highest rate of energy consumption per person in the world. To offset this ever- growing strain on local natural resources, the UAE government has recognised the importance of focusing on renewable and alternative energy sources to build a sustainable economy in the future. The country aspires to become the hub of renewable energy and sustainable technologies in the coming few decades. The momentum for renewable energy began in 2008- 09, when Abu Dhabi, in a first for the region, set PSE Magazine • 29


a target to achieve 7% renewable energy power generation capacity (approximately 1 500 MW) by 2020. Dubai then also announced a target of 5% renewable energy power consumption (approximately 1 000 MW) by 2030. Despite regional and international doubt about the renewable energy vision in the oil rich state, the UAE’s deployment and promotion of renewable energy speaks for itself.

Alternative Energy Boom As of 2014, renewable en¬ergy is cost-competitive in the country for the first time – and possibly even the cheapest source of new power supply. Based on current incremental energy prices, the UAE could achieve at least 10% use of renewable energy in its energy mix by 2030 (and 25% in its power genera¬tion mix) with estimated net savings for the economy of USD 1.9 billion annually. This is before considering health and environmental benefits or the potential to export hydrocarbons liberated from domestic consumption. The country’s pioneering push into renewables – based on longer-term, ‘patient capital’ goals like economic diversification, sustainability, and job creation – can now be justified by short-term economics. The UAE’s largest push in incremental energy supply is its USD 40 billion investment in 5.6 GW of civil nuclear energy, with one 1.4

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GW reactor coming online each year between 2017 and 2020. The plant is expected to meet around 20% of national power demand and eliminate a commensurate amount of gas demand and greenhouse gas emissions. The Abu Dhabi government initiated the project in light of concerns about gas dependency and climate change. The project has been recognised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for its transparent development approach. As for renewable energy, this sector is on an upward trajectory. Power generation has been the main focus of activity, led by solar, waste-to-energy, and wind, although there are pilot projects in thermal cooling and transport fuels. Solar power in particular has been the primary focus of UAE renewable ef¬forts to date. Abu Dhabi saw the commissioning of the 100 MW Shams 1 CSP plant, the largest-ever renewable energy project in the Middle East, and Dubai inaugu¬rated 13 MW of solar PV as the first phase of the even¬tually 1 000 MW Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. In August 2014, Dubai issued a tender for 100 MW of PV, also in the Park. The results of the tender, published in November 2014, broke world records for cost-competitiveness, with the lowest bid at US 5.98 cents per kWh and many below US 8 cents per kWh. Some 10+ MW of rooftop PV is also scattered across the

country, and may expand further with new metering regulations in Dubai and approval of wiring regulations in Abu Dhabi. Generally speaking, solar PV is increasingly seen as the most attractive technology in the UAE in the near-term due to cost and resource availability. CSP with thermal energy storage, however, remains attractive for its po¬tential to provide base load power. Other notable renewable energy initiatives come in the form of investments in wind energy along coastal areas of the UAE. These initiatives focus on commercial quality wind resources, transport fuels, or biofuels as well as renewable cooling and waste-to-energy projects that could see the UAE’s waste turned into energy that could fuel industrial processes across various sector.

Taking the Lead The UAE is leading the Arabian Gulf region in renewables projects, driven by ambitious targets to diversify the energy mix in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The UAE’s investments in green energy will reach $35 billion (Dh128.5 billion) by 2021 as the country aims to reduce its reliance on natural gas for power generation, according to Suhail Al Mazroui, the Minister of Energy.


by 2021...

$35 billion (Dh128.5 billion) Investment

the desalination. The project looks to research how renewable energy can be used to power desalinated water. GEOTHERMAL GETS THE GO-AHEAD

renewable energy in UAE energy mix



low-carbon target


saving USD 1.9 billion annually



Top Alternative Energy Sources





to supply 20% of national power demand

Some of the $35 billion investments have already been put in nuclear energy, solar energy, and other forms of green energy, while the remaining sum will be invested over the next five to six years. In the UAE, Abu Dhabi is leading the renewables drive with a target to derive 7 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2020. The capital is also home to the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), the multilateral organisation set up in 2009 to promote renewables. Abu Dhabi has also set up the green-energy organization Masdar, which is building a low-carbon, zero-waste city and

Masdar is planning to build a geothermal energy facility in Masdar City. The project will cost around $11 billion. When completed, the geothermal power plant will generate 5 MW for powering the city’s 5 MW air conditioning system.

has a number of renewable energy projects in the UAE and abroad.

Here are some of the big alternative energy projects underway across the UAE: MASDAR WATER IS LOOKING FRESH

The Masdar water program is one of the biggest and most important initiatives in the region. It looks at water conservation as well as possibilities to use new fresh water sources. With water currently obtained from desalination, the issue is that oil is used to power

Hydrogen Power Abu Dhabi (HPAD) is a joint venture between Masdar and BP with stake of 60% and 40% respectively. It will be the world’s first commercial scale hydrogen fuelled power plant utilising CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) and fossil fuel feedstock. The project will cost around $2 billion that will fulfil more than 5% of Abu Dhabi’s power requirement. The Hydrogen power plant will also generate more than 400 MW of low carbon electricity through conversion of natural gas into hydrogen and CO2. THE SUN IS SUSTAINABLE!

Masdar in cooperation with foreign companies has established Shams 1, a 100MW solar power plant in Western Region of Abu Dhabi. Shams 1, which generates enough electricity to power 20,000 homes in the UAE, is Masdar’s second solar plant, after launching a 10MW solar photovoltaic (PV)

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power plant to provide electricity to Masdar City, with excess power fed to the Abu Dhabi grid. Down the road in Dubai, the emirate is building the Dh10bn Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park, which is forecast to generate 1,000MW. The first project in the park is a 13MW solar PV plant, the biggest such facility in the Middle East and North Africa, according to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa). NUCLEAR FUTURE

With the recent start on the fourth nuclear reactor at the United Arab Emirates' Barakah power plant, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) nuclear ambitions are well on their way to being realised, aiming to deliver power to the UAE by 2017. By 2020, 25 per cent of UAE electricity demand is

expected to be met by nuclear energy. GOING GREEN

The UAE currently generates 100 per cent of its energy from natural gas, and aims to reduce the figure to 70 per cent by 2021. The UAE is also looking to activate new fields currently under development with Adnoc (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) that will supply more gas, as well as to expand the country’s options in terms of importing gas and expanding LNG. The remaining 30 per cent of energy generation will come from nuclear energy, which will contribute 2025 per cent (5,400 megawatts) by 2020, and solar energy. In terms of going green, the United Arab Emirates has announced a target to significantly increase its

share of low-carbon energy over the next few years. Through its submission to the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced its target to achieve 24% of low-carbon by 2021. The target is central to the Intended Nationally-Determined Contribution (INDC) that all countries were required to submit by 1 October this year in the run-up to the Paris climate change summit. As far as adaptation measures are concerned, the UAE will take initiatives in waste management, water conservation and desalination, wetland and marine environment conservation, after having already launched a process to build an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions. TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

It is evident that the UAE is taking the right steps towards a more sustainable future with innovative and progressive green initiatives such as the water programme in Masdar and the effective harnessing of solar power with Shams 1. The established IRENA headquarters also signals that the UAE is striving to continue to make the planet a more inhabitable place for future generations, and with rising costs of natural gases, a focus on green energy will also be financially effective.

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The world is slowly beginning to focus on sustainability and this is a great thing. Many cities are now ‘Going Green’. Proof of this is the continued and growing list of the green cities in the world. But, what makes a city Green? How does one determine which is greener than the other? And how do worldwide organisations come up with the greenest of them all? If you think of a green city in terms of recycling programs, bike lanes, ample green open and public spaces like community gardens and parks, then the list below is surely going to amaze you. These top greenest cities have made it onto this list because they have been responsible for fighting the battle against climate change to the highest level. These cities do not just claim that they are ‘Going Green’; they do so through numerous large-scale efforts that set good examples to the rest of the world. According to the Global Green Economy Index (GGEI), “green cities” can be measured by 32 indicators in four broad categories: ‘Leadership and Climate Change’, ‘Efficiency Sectors’, ‘Markets and Investments’, ‘Environment and Natural Capital’. Although some of the cities mentioned did not make it on the GGEI 2014 Top 10 list, cities in our list have been chosen for 2015 because of their commendable utilisation of renewable energy, promotion and support of green lifestyles, endorsement of green laws for the protection of the environment, and their use of innovative strategies to accomplish their goals for greener communities.

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R E S U LT S :


T E N 10 OSLO, NORWAY Impressively, Oslo managed to be the greenest in the Norway despite the fact that it is also one of the most populated. Oslo, is indeed a very attractive city for tourists and despite the continuously increasing number of residents, it still manages to sustain its objective to stay green and make use of innovative sustainable methods. Oslo was even named the world’s second greenest city in 2007 and many other European cities are following suite and adopting true sustainable practices for better quality of life, not just for their local residents but also for their visitors. Long before the other cities decided to join the wagon for sustainable earth, Oslo had already made its own mark on worldwide environmental concern. When it comes to greenhouse gas emission, it is a well-known fact that Oslo has the lowest in Europe. This is thanks to the full cooperation of the population and the guidelines given by the government for each new building developed to promote energy efficiency. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that 85% of the school children in Oslo either walk or ride their bikes to and from school. Local commuters also make use of hydroelectric-powered public transportation. In continuing with their green efforts, the Norwegian capital is aiming to effectively and completely phase out fossil fuel use by the year 2020.

9 STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN In 2010, this Swedish city was named as the European Green Capital due to its high commitment to sustainability and has always been renowned for its green efforts. Stockholm’s very first attempts to be environmentally conscious started during the 1960s when a big campaign to clean the abundant waterways was launched. Today, rivers have been revived as proven by the edible salmon that swim in the city river. Just like Oslo, Stockholm is also one of the European cities with very low carbon emissions at a mere 3.4 tons/capita, where the average is 10 tons/capita in other European cities. Stockholm is always working to better its green initiatives with plans to prioritise other sustainable-inspired programs like encouraging people to use their bike or walk, lessening noise levels, increasing eco-food product purchase, reducing carbon emissions from 3.4 tons to less than 3 tons per person, and to combat incorrect recycling processes.

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8 COPENHAGEN, DENMARK Making it to number 1 on the Global Green Cities Index Report of 2014, Copenhagen is already a famous tourist destination because of its stunning sceneries, wonderful castles, and ample attractions. Just like the other top green cities, Copenhagen was chosen due to its dedication to high standards of quality living by efficient environmental means. Additionally, this city is also a European Green Capital title-holder due to the government’s and the citizens’ efforts to achieve and sustain a very clean and hygienic environment. Therefore, Copenhagen can indeed be considered amongst the most remarkable green cities in the world and is worthy of its frequently title as ‘one of the most liveable cities in Europe’.

7 FREIBURG, GERMANY Freiburg in Germany is one of the cleanest cities in the world thanks in part to its uniqueness as a car-free city. We aren’t kidding! In this modern day when almost every city road is congested with heavy traffic due to the increasing number of fossil fuel powered vehicles, Freiburg has remarkably managed to steer clear of motorized vehicles. Freiburg is also proud of its abundance of solar panels that can be seen scattered across the tops of its buildings including schools, local churches, and even the City Hall. One of the city’s main objectives is to continuously cultivate solar energy and to efficiently reduce its carbon emissions by 40% by the year 2030.

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6 MALMÖ, SWEDEN The capital of Sweden, Stockholm, was actually rated the 3rd greenest city in the 2014 GGEI Report. However, in our list we shift our attention to Malmö, the third largest city in Sweden, and a good model of urban sustainability because of its promotion of renewable energy solutions its abundant green and space. The city is considered one of the greenest in the world because it is home to the world’s third-largest wind-energy park. Malmö also has an important objective to make all of its city operations climate-neutral within the next five years. Additionally, the Western Harbour, a district within Malmö, effectively runs on 100-percent renewable energy gathered from the sun, the wind and through hydro power. The neighbourhood also uses biofuels that are efficiently produced from organic waste. The buildings here are constructed using sustainable materials and have been designed and planned to be energy-efficient. Western Harbour is also powered entirely by locally produced renewable energy and it makes use of vacuum waste chutes to keep the streets garbage truck-free. With all the sustainable plans and energy-efficient projects that Malmö is focusing on, the city is aiming to be climate neutral by the year 2020.

5 VANCOUVER, CANADA Vancouver is Canada’s greenest city and the 4th greenest city in the world according to the 2014 GGEI Report. This city aims to be the world’s greenest city by 2020. It is certainly a good option for a sustainable destination as it is a centre for clean-technology innovation such as the solar-powered garbage compactors that can be found within the city. Each of these compactors are measured just like a regular trash-can but can hold up to five times the waste. This means fewer emission-spewing trash trucks, low-carbon emissions and increased generation of renewable resources for up to 90 power. One truly enticing green fact about Vancouver is that it has over 200 open clean parks; making it possible for residents and tourists to really enjoy the fresh Canadian air.

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4 SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA San Francisco, California has always been voted as one of the cleanest cities in North America and there are plenty of reasons why. Firstly, San Francisco was the first US key city that banned the use of plastic bag. Furthermore, in October of 2009, the city launched a mandatory recycling program enabling it to keep 77% of discarded water materials safely away from the landfills — this is the highest diversion rate in the US. San Francisco is also striving to demonstrate that zero waste is a very attainable and environmentally responsible objective. It has been the city’s pride to announce that the trash collection campaigns have been highly successful and this is thanks in part to the staff that have effectively reached out to educate the residents and business owners on the importance of recycling and compost use in the efforts to create a zero-waste city.

3 PORTLAND, OREGON On the number three spot is another US city, Portland in Oregon. This city does not need too much introduction as – time and again – it has continuously beaten all the other US cities. Being Green has long been on the agenda in Portland, and now the city is focusing more on embracing nature. Local residents are now making it a popular practice to eat locally produced products, to carpool, to recycle and to make the buildings LEED-certified. Portland has efficiently utilised renewable energy resources for up to 20% more than what is being implemented nationally. Just like San Francisco, Portland was also one of the first US cities to ban the use of plastic bags. It also has about 250 miles bike lanes, trails and paths. As a matter of fact, Portland is even named as the United State’s ‘most bikeable city’.

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2 AMESTERDAM Renowned as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world, Amsterdam has achieved its green objectives largely due to its investment in public health, sustainable urban codes and policies, and a planned transformation of the transportation system. The city has leveraged its naturally flat and compact urban space (similar to Abu Dhabi), and has heavily invested in enabling green infrastructure (one that reminds and guides people to change their ways in the public space).

1 REYKJAVIK, ICELAND On top of the list as the number one greenest city in the world is Reykjavik in Iceland. Iceland, in itself is a truly unique and charming country with a unique culture. It is no mystery then that one of its cities will make it into the list, and getting the top spot is something to be truly proud of. Reykjavik runs virtually totally on renewable energy. This island state utilises geothermal activity by effectively converted into renewable clean energy. The city also uses only 0.1% of fossil fuels in providing power for electricity. Now, that is a number that has yet to be matched by any other city. Presently, Reykjavik gathers its energy for electricity, hot water and heat from geothermal resources and hydro power. By 2050, it is estimated that the city will be almost entirely independent from using fossil fuel. For those who are not familiar with Reykjavik or Iceland itself, it is worth knowing that being the greenest city in the world, also makes this city one of the most coveted destinations today and for years to come so why not give it a visit?

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The Third Place Trio

This month, PSE meets with up with Hala Zainal, managing partner and one of the three homegrown entrepreneurs that form The Third Place Cafe trio. Hala, Ahmed and Dalal are a tightly knit group of friends that have worked hard to carve out a new destination in Abu Dhabi’s food, beverage and entertainment sector… PSE Magazine • 42


“The Third Place is a very old concept coined by Ray Oldenburg. He describes a place that is not your home or office; a place in between; a place where you can meet and greet; a place to unwind; a place to escape. That’s our concept!” – Hala, on picking the name.


Born and raised in the UAE, Hala is an architect by trade. She received her Masters Degree in Sustainable Design in New Zealand before returning to Abu Dhabi to apply her skills with a large consultancy firm. Then, in mid-2014, Hala decided to leave her 9 to 5 job and dedicate her efforts on building The Third Place. “I always had this vision that one day I would have kids that I would pick up from school and go to this café I own”. Says Hala. She adds: “I am all about the vibe and ambience. If the coffee is ok but the vibe is good, I will keep coming back because I love the ambience.”


Ahmed Bashkeel is the second member of the trio. One of the first and youngest Emarati Physiotherapists in the UAE, Ahmed returned to Abu Dhabi after receiving his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and now manages Cleveland Clinic’s state of art Inpatient Therapies and Rehabilitation Centre. Ahmed is the coffee connoisseur of the group. He is really into coffee and appreciates that taste matters! He’s really engaged with service and has a more functional approach to the business.


A Kuwaiti national, Dalal graduated from the American University of Sharjah with a degree in Interior Design. She worked for a construction company in Dubai before moving home to Kuwait and continuing in the design and construction industry. Dalal, being an interior designer, is all about how people feel in the space. She is focused on aesthetics and brings her invaluable design experience into the fold by creating a space where customers feel welcome and comfortable.

JOURNEY TO THE THIRD PLACE “All three of us are huge café culture enthusiasts. We have always gone to study at coffee shops and each have different ideologies about the café culture.” – Hala, commenting on how their three personalities combine to create a unique and complementary synergy.

BUILDING THE DREAM Hala had known Ahmed since high school, where they both attended the Abu Dhabi International School, and has kept in touch over the years. She met Dalal at university where they went to the same school of design. “One day I was at a coffee shop with Dalal when I received a phone call from Ahmed. He joined us at the café where we

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all started talking, basically bashing one of the coffee shops in Abu Dhabi.” Hala says with a laugh. “This then turned into a conversation where we each shared our ideas about what the perfect coffee shop would be like. We all agreed that there just weren’t any great places where you could go to relax, read a book, or do your work around Abu Dhabi.” Needless to say, this casual conversation over coffee soon grew into a serious idea to create their perfect coffee shop.

A HELPING HAND “None of us had a clue what we were doing”, admits Hala. “I guess we just thought – Oh, a Coffee Shop, how difficult can that be? That might not have been so smart, because it turned out to be much bigger and more complicated than any of

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us expected!” During the planning phase, the three partners were juggling full time job commitments while taking on their assigned tasks for the project. Back and forth emails and frantic site visits after work marked this phase of the project. “It was a big mess!” Hala exclaimed. “Somehow we became organised over time. We assigned roles and stuck to them. We were able to admit that we didn’t know a lot and sought advice from friends and family. Fortunate for us, our network was full of resourceful and knowledgeable people who helped us along the way.” Financing came in the way of pooled personal savings and financial support from family who believed in their vision. “I think that receiving the support from our family was a great push for us. Being able to sell the dream to our parents was a huge boost and also a responsibility to make it work!” Hala reflects fondly.

ON THE RIGHT TRACKS Looking back at their journey, Hala talked to us about some of the major challenges and critical success factors of setting up their business. “The biggest challenge was probably not dedicating the full amount of time and effort at the start. We didn’t understand how involved the construction and contracting work would be, especially since we all had full time jobs. Not assigning roles and responsibilities was another big challenge that we had in the beginning, and we see now how important this is in creating an efficient system.” In terms of critical success factors, Hala adds: “Separating friendship from business is very important. This is one of our biggest successes. We are all closer than ever now and this is normally not the case with start-up partners. Admitting when we don’t know and seeking

expert advice from our network was also another big success factor. And as mentioned before, assigning roles, responsibilities and delegating tasks amongst partners and more importantly to members of staff is crucial. You can’t do everything. We have a manager for a reason and have learned not to be such control freaks!” Hala says with a laugh. “Our staff are great. We are more of a family than a work team and we try to maintain that balance between being the boss vs. friendship vs. being colleagues. We started with 7 full time staff members and are at 13 today including a full time Restaurant Manager.”

also added their own unique twist by introducing original flavours like the “Pomegranate Bubble-gum Soda” and the “Mixed Grill with a twist”, which have now because signature dishes. “Today, we have people from all nationalities and demographics visit The Third Place, from our regular customers who come here for their lunch break during the week, to couples, families and students

opening their patio for “Al Fresco Dining”, and creating an events calendar for their patrons.

who frequent here in the evenings.” Hala explains. When asked what she thinks keeps people coming through the doors, Hala responds confidently: “Our service. Our staff are extremely smiley. They memorise your name and know what you want to eat. That is something that people always mention. Second, we have a constantly changing events and activities calendar. We do yoga, workshops, corporate meetings, art exhibitions, and more. This brings people in and keeps them coming. Lastly, good food and good coffee keeps them coming. You can’t go wrong!”

thing that everyone needs, it will work. But Abu Dhabi is a very trend following place and you need to create something that residents will love, something that will keep them from going elsewhere.” In terms of advice, Hala adds: “Don’t start a business for the sake of starting a business or making money. You need to be passionate. We probably won’t be millionaires anytime soon but we love what we have created and this is what any entrepreneur should strive for. Secondly, do your research! This time and effort spent before launching will pay off so well! You need to know what you are getting into. Talk to people you know and visit all the cafes in town. Figure out what’s working and what’s not. Lastly, I would say to have a support system. Starting a business is hard, so having a strong support system is great for when the times get tough and you feel like quitting!”

Last but not least, we asked Hala about her personal views and advice on starting a business in Abu Dhabi. “Abu Dhabi is my home. I can’t imagine starting anything anywhere else. I think if you start something that is missing, some-

RAPID RECOGNITION The Third Place was recently awarded 2 of the most prestigious awards in the F&B space: The ‘What’s On Award for Best Independent Restaurant’ and the ‘Time Out Award for Best Café in Abu Dhabi 2015’. “Getting to this point of awards is still quite shocking. Sometimes we talk about it when we walk in and we say: This is surreal. The place is full. We won 2 awards and only just been a year and half. It’s become a destination spot.” Naturally, we were surprised when we learned that the team did not have a marketing campaign. “We initially though that it would be the neighbourhood café that people who lived nearby could just walk to; a place you stumble upon: it’s a lost space and a found object, The Third Place. It’s now become a destination spot because people in Abu Dhabi crave somewhere that’s comfortable and unpretentious; a place where there is a corner to read your book; a place with a large table to have a meeting.” Social media became one of the main marketing tools, where the trio can share news, events, and a page where friends and customers can tag each other and share their experiences at the Third Place.

MORE THAN JUST COFFEE! The Third Place offers an international menu selection with all the usual favourites. Of course, the innovative trio

Hala tells us that the group would like to eventually expand their business, but would not be looking in franchising any time soon, as they believe that this would lead to a loss of charm that they have worked so hard to create. For now, they will focus on perfecting their service,

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The Top 10 Marketing Trends for a Successful 2016 If relevance, context, and effective delivery aren’t the topic of regular conversations in your marketing department, 2016 is going to be a frustrating year for you. Businesses need to keep a clear focus on the needs and expectations of their customers—a group that’s diverse and fragmented, with high expectations and little patience for anyone who can’t keep up. To stay competitive you need to be visible, and that’s no easy feat.

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Which trends should you be prepared to follow? Here’s a look at the 10 marketing trends that will drive conversations and conversions in 2016.

1 Embrace the Customer Experience Model It’s been a slow grind for some, but marketing departments are moving from a silo of advertising and non-interactive communication toward becoming a natural part of

the sales cycle and an extension of customer service. Marketers, using integrated tools, can engage with customers online, track the buyer’s journey, measure sentiment and loyalty, and match behaviour with outreach tailored to meet their audience’s needs and interests. But for customers already bombarded with information, a great customer experience is becoming baseline. The year 2016 will see brand ambassadors given a higher priority, more effective customer engagement—

noticed? Watch for companies to continue to create advertisements that seamlessly blend with—rather than interrupt—the browsing experience, as well as to use those customer-centric insights to drive content and social engagement. Remember, advertising should be aimed and applicable, know which demographic you are appealing to.

3 Dreams on Demand

using tactics highlighted below— and tighter collaboration with sales and support to directly affect conversion rates.

2 Advertise, Don’t Annoy As marketers and builders engage in a healthy debate about the presence of ad blockers, the truth is that if advertising isn’t, relevant it’s annoying- and consumers have little patience for anything annoying. How can a good brand get

Virtual reality literally drops people inside their favourite TV show, provides an on-the-ground preview of their next vacation, or puts them behind the wheel of their next car. Customer experience is priority number one and—although it’s still evolving—3D technology is poised to move from novelty to mainstream. It will start most heavily in the gaming industry, but as the technology to create and consume becomes more accessible, smart marketers will look for ways to bring their products to virtual life. A hands-on involvement for the customer is a unique and immersive experience and with many major companies such as Google embracing it (see ‘Google Cardboard’), it is evident that VR is going to be an integral component of marketing in the future.

4 Social Media as a Channel, Not a Strategy Social media isn’t marketing, and it doesn’t work as a “strategy” on its own—something that seems to have finally sunk into the collective marketing consciousness. Social media is one platform of

many, a tactic that does a great job of supporting broad campaigns but flounders by itself. This distinction will shape marketing strategies and budgetary considerations in 2016 as people learn to utilise social media as an interactive tool for marketing as opposed to just one big stream of adverts.

5 Omnichannel Will be Retail’s Best Friend Tweet for Pizza! Dominos has one of the catchiest omnichannel campaigns right now, but brands across the board will quickly learn that an integrated customer experience is essential—one that creates a singular, smooth interaction, rather than multiple micro events. From addressing the causes behind abandoned shopping carts to creating an easy transition between online and bricks-and-mortar locations, omnichannel will improve the bottom line for both retailers and B2B.

6 Big Data IS Big Business Big data, which includes social and unstructured data, is a goldmine for marketers. Until recently, many marketers shied away from big data because they lacked the skills—or the big budget resources—to translate it into something meaningful. Now, tools are coming to the marketplace that makes mining and managing data easier than ever. 2016 will be a banner year for incorporating big data and perhaps more importantly, analytics into marketing decisions.

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BUILD YOUR DIGITAL PROFILE campaigns that allow consumers to be the stars.

9 Content is King It may sounds like a broken record, but content is STILL king—even more so given the deterioration of interruptive tactics. But context is a stronger factor than ever. With no decline in sight for the importance of good content, the next year will see greater focus on bringing influencers on board for more organic marketing. Storytelling will also play a key role in drawing consumers in and keeping them engaged. Natural, relevant content in the right channels will drive content campaigns.

10 Data (Read: Results)

7 Move onto Mobile! Marketers who’ve been lazy about pursuing mobile are about to miss the train altogether; the number of people who do their browsing on devices surpassed desktop users a while ago. For retailers, mobile is basic; for others, it soon will be. At a minimum, this means a mobile-optimized and responsive website, and may include custom apps and mobile-targeted campaigns. The frontrunners have already moved on to other things; mobile can’t be put off for another year!

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8 Video Killed the TV Star If you want to engage with millennials, video is a must-have marketing tactic; they prefer to find entertainment and education on YouTube rather than conventional means like television. Snapchat, YouTube, gifs, Vine, and more are being consumed at a rapid rate. Streaming video takes this to the next level, and platforms like Periscope and Blab have put interactive live video into the hands of anyone with a smartphone. The next year will see video continue to shine and streaming move to the forefront of marketing, with innovative new

Will Be an Overarching Theme. It isn’t enough to think you should do it; feel good marketing is over. CEOs, CMOs, and every other influencer in the C-suite will look to marketers for data before, during, and after campaigns to validate return on their marketing investments. The last year has brought a lot of change, but these trends also prove that the driving factors aren’t new, they’ve just grown up. Focusing on the customer, delivering value, and making decisions based on data as well as good ideas are the same currents that have carried successful marketers for decades. What’s new is the creativity and innovation needed to deliver that value to your customers when and where they need it.


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The Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2016 Gartner has highlighted the top 10 technology trends that will be strategy for most organisations in 2016. The first three trends address merging the physical and virtual worlds and the emergence of the digital mesh. While organisations focus on digital business today, algorithmic business is emerging. Algorithms — relationships and interconnections — define the future of business. In algorithmic business, much happens in the

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background in which people are not directly involved. This is enabled by smart machines, which our next three trends address. Our final four trends address the new IT reality, the new architecture and platform trends needed to support digital and algorithmic business.

The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2016 are: The Device Mesh The device mesh refers to an expanding set of endpoints people

use to access applications and information or to interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses. The device mesh includes mobile devices, wearable tech, consumer and home electronic devices, automotive devices and environmental devices — such as sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT). A variety of other trends have led to an increased number of sensors embedded in many technologies and devices that we use personally and professionally. Devices be-

3D Printing Materials Advances in 3D printing have already enabled machines to use a wide range of materials, including advanced nickel alloys, carbon fiber, glass, conductive ink, electronics, pharmaceuticals and biological materials. These innovations are driving user demand, as the practical applications for 3D printers expand to more sectors, including aerospace, medical, automotive, energy and the military. The growing range of 3D-printable materials will drive a compound annual growth rate of 64.1% for enterprise 3D-printer shipments through 2019. These advances will necessitate an altering of assembly line and supply chain processes to utilise 3D printing.

Information of Everything

come smarter as they gather more data on our daily patterns. Gartner predicts that these sensors, which tend to work in silos today, will increasingly work in concert, leading to even greater insights about our daily patterns.

Ambient User Experience The device mesh creates the foundation for a new continuous and ambient user experience. Immersive environments delivering augmented and virtual reality hold significant potential but are only

one aspect of the experience. The ambient user experience preserves continuity across boundaries of device mesh, time and space. The experience seamlessly flows across a shifting set of devices and interaction channels blending physical, virtual and electronic environment as the user moves from one place to another. Gartner predicts that the devices and sensors will become so smart that they will be able to organise our lives without us even noticing that they are doing so.

Everything in the digital mesh produces, uses and transmits information. This information goes beyond textual, audio and video information to include sensory and contextual information. Information of everything addresses this influx with strategies and technologies to link data from all these different data sources. Information has always existed everywhere but has often been isolated, incomplete, unavailable or unintelligible. Advances in semantic tools such as graph databases as well as other emerging data classification and information analysis techniques will bring meaning to the often chaotic flood of information.

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Advanced Machine Learning DNNs (an advanced form of machine learning particularly applicable to large, complex datasets) are what make smart machines appear "intelligent." DNNs enable hardware- or software-based machines to learn all the features in their environment, from the finest details to abstract pieces of content. This area is evolving quickly, and organizations must assess how they can apply these technologies to gain competitive advantage. The explosion of data sources and complexity of information makes manual classification and analysis difficult and uneconomic. DNNs automate these tasks and make it possible to address key challenges related to the information of everything trend.

Autonomous Agents and Things Machine knowledge gives rise to a wide array of smart machine implementations including robots, autonomous vehicles, virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and smart advisors that act in an autonomous or semi-autonomous manner. Perhaps the most prominent example is the autonomous driving car, which leverages information from autonomous vehicles that have been used within controlled environments for years. Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates is another example of prominent controlled environments. On the software side, VPAs such as Google Now, Microsoft's Cortana and

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Apple's Siri are also becoming smarter. Instead of interacting with menus, forms and buttons on a smartphone, the user speaks to an app, which is really an intelligent agent. IT leaders should explore how they can use autonomous objects and agents to augment human activity and free people for work that only people can do. However, they must recognize that smart agents and things are a long-term investment that will continually evolve for the next 20 years.

Adaptive Security Architecture The complexities of digital business and the algorithmic economy, combined with an emerging “hacker industry� significantly increase the threat surface for an organiza-

tion. Relying on perimeter defence and rule-based security is inadequate, especially as organisations exploit more cloud-based services and open APIs for customers and partners to integrate with their systems. IT leaders must focus on detecting and responding to threats, as well as more traditional blocking and other measures to prevent attacks. Application self-protection, as well as user and entity behaviour analytics, will help fulfil the adaptive security architecture.

Advanced Customer Architecture The digital mesh and smart machines require intense computing architecture demands to make them viable for organisations and their customers. Providing this required boost are high-powered and ultra-efficient neuromorphic

vices, this new approach enables Web-scale performance, flexibility and agility. Microservice architecture is an emerging pattern for building distributed applications that support agile delivery and scalable deployment, both on-premises and in the cloud. Bringing mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) elements into the app and service architecture creates a comprehensive model to address back-end cloud growth and front-end device mesh experiences. Application teams must create new modern architectures to deliver agile, flexible and cloudbased applications with dynamic user experiences that span the digital mesh.

Internet of Things Platforms Internet of Things ( IoT) platforms compliment the mesh app and service architecture. The management, security, integration and other technologies and standards of the IoT platform are the base set of capabilities for building, managing and securing elements in the IoT. IoT platforms constitute the work IT does behind the scenes from an architectural and a technology standpoint to make the IoT a reality. Gartner indicates that the providers of Internet of Things platforms are fragmented today, and would benefit greatly from patching together a better ecosystem where data is shared more broadly.

architectures. Fuelled by field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) as an underlining technology for neuromorphic architectures, there are significant gains to this architecture, such as being able to run at speeds of greater than a teraflop with high-energy efficiency. Systems built on graphics processing units (GPUs) and FPGAs will function similarly to human brains that are particularly suited to deep learning and other pattern-matching algorithms that smart machines use.

Mesh App and Service Architecture More apps are being built that can work together, and the value of the combination is much greater than the sum of the parts. Enabled by software-defined application ser-

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abu dhabi's TOP 10 ANNUAL EVENTS

INTERNATIONAL HUNTING & EQUESTRIAN EXHIBITION (ADIHEX) Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre When: September Contact: The Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX), promotes and preserves the Middle East culture. Visitors enjoy a variety of traditional hunting weaponry, safari, arts, antiques, equestrian activities, live performances, falcon beauty contests, coffee-making competitions and camel auctions. Attendees can enter competitions, discover the latest hunting and equestrian products and meet distributors from all around the world.

NATIONAL TRADITIONAL HANDICRAFTS FESTIVAL Where: Souq al Qattara, Al Ain When: October Emirate’s heritage heartland of Al Ain will host the first National Traditional Handicrafts Festival this October. The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority will launch the annual festival to preserve, celebrate and promote the tangible heritage of the UAE. The festival will highlight traditional Emirati craftsmanship and include a full public program with heritage competitions and specialized workshops led by experts.

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ABU DHABI FILM FESTIVAL Where: Cinemas and The Emirates Palace When: October Contact: The Abu Dhabi Film Festival attracts celebrities from Hollywood and the regional film industry. The event is now in its ninth year and a regular on the calendar of cultural elites. While cinemas participate by screening the selected films across the city, the Emirates Palace always delivers the best selection. The opening and closing ceremonies are invitation-only black-tie events. Limited tickets for all other screenings are available through the official website and its sales partners.

ABU DHABI ART FAIR Where: Saadiyat Cultural District When: November Contact: The Modern Contemporary Art Abu Dhabi is a four-day event for VIPs, modern-art connoisseurs, collectors, astute new buyers and enthusiasts. The government-sponsored platform brings together the work of some of the most innovative artists and established art galleries from all over the world. Abu Dhabi Art is a unique experience that offers a curated, artist-led exhibition. Combining an art fair, with events and an interactive program, it also offers an opportunity to interact with gallery representatives and artists for an insight into art works of special interest.

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OFF TOPIC FORMULA 1 ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX Where: Yas Marina Circuit When: November Contact: Arguably, Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the Middle East’s biggest event of the year. Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has dominated the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the recent past, but the high-speed straights may favor the Mercedes team this year. With its range of packages, the Yas Marina circuit draws elite socialites and celebrities from all over the world. Offering a unique social and sporting experience, the glamorous and lavish weekend is an opportunity to entertain special guests, clients and associates with the most extraordinary range of options.

INTERNATIONAL DATE PALM FESTIVAL Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre When: November Contact: Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) organizes the annual Emirates International Date Palm Festival in November. The event is an opportunity for a family outing, with several options for recreational activities focused on promoting the date palm.

MUBADALA WORLD TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP Where: Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi When: Jan. 01, 2015 to Jan. 03, 2015 Contact: Abu Dhabi starts off 2015 with the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. World’s top-seeded Djokovic and Nadal continue their rivalry in this elimination-style tournament, featuring just six players in single-elimination matches. To see the top-seeded players on the court, book your tickets for the second or third day. The first match starts at 5:00 pm, prior to which the players will sign autographs and interact with fans.

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ABU DHABI HSBC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP Where: Abu Dhabi Golf Club When: January Abu Dhabi hosts its 10th Golf Championship, marking a decade of excellent golf events promoted by the TCA Abu Dhabi. The years 2012 and 2013 provided unexpected surprises from England’s Robert Rock and Welshman Jamie Donaldson. With some of the golf ’s most famous names, the milestone event next year promises to be another exciting affair. Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship offers a unique opportunity for a casual meeting with a fascinating event as its backdrop.

GOURMET ABU DHABI Where: Abu Dhabi - To be decided When: February Gourmet Abu Dhabi is a star-studded culinary festival for food connoisseurs and industry elite. The top players in the food business line up their best cuisines in an event that will indulge your passion for fine food. With culinary demonstrations, chateaux dinners, themed dinners and other gourmet events, there is something for everyone in this annual epicurean festival.

ABU DHABI INTERNATIONAL TRIATHLON Where: Abu Dhabi When: March Contact: From its prestigious beginning, the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (ADIT) has grown from strength to strength. Each year the number of attending world champions, national champions, elite athletes and amateurs grows exponentially. The Abu Dhabi International Triathlon is now rated among the top five triathlons in the world. You can find your own spot on the official course to view the athletes in action.

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NEARLY 100 YEARS OF HEALTHCARE AND INNOVATION, NOW IN ABU DHABI Cleveland Clinic, consistently recognized as one of America’s best hospitals, is now available in Abu Dhabi, reducing the need to travel abroad for acute medical care.

Specializing in the treatment of Heart & Vascular, Neurological, Digestive Disease, Eye and Respiratory & Critical Care conditions.


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Whether you choose to stroll amongst the cafĂŠs of the Corniche, or savour the hustle and bustle of the Central Market, a serene oasis awaits your return. You will be captivated by Arabic splendour and tones and textures as warm as the welcome you will receive.

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