Page 1

Abu Dhabi






Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Al Jarman, General Manager of Emirates Transport lends his insight on key infrastructural trends, both locally and globally


Local Enterprise

Yousef Al Nabhabi, founder and CEO of Taeen Training and Consulting, takes us on a tour of his successful start-up business



Good practices in public transportation adopted by other leading global cities


Established in


Arab Development (ARDECO) is one of UAE’s leading business enterprises with operations covering a wide range of industries: Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Power & Water, Engineering& Contracting,Energy & Industry. Following a “Partners of Success” policy, ARDECO always ensures long term success and growth of its companies. ARAB DEVELOPMENT - ARDECO PO Box 2761 Abu Dhabi, UAE T: +971 2644 7373 D: 644 9499 , F: +971 26444 066 E: ardeco@emirates.net.ae



Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Al Jarman, General Manager of Emirates Transport lends his insight on key infrastructural trends, both locally and globally











Denise Daane, PSP Managing Editor, provides an overview on Issue 2

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


Good practices in public transportation adopted by other leading global cities

PROJECT MANAGEMENT AT A GLANCE The art of Project Planning

Issue 2 - february 2015


Nigel Roberts, Knowledge Contributor to INSEAD University discusses “The ‘People’ Part of Successful Strategy Implementation”

The young and talented Abdullah Al Mehairi from the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport offers his insight on Abu Dhabi’s public transport sector

An Emarati Abroad

Empowering Excellence The Excellence Enablers: Strategy


Abdulla Al Mazrouie - Tokyo Drift: Abdulla takes us on a tour of his life in Japan










An in-depth look at the present and future status of Abu Dhabi’s public transport sector Yousef Al Nabhabi, founder and CEO of Taeen Training and Consulting, takes us on a tour of his successful start-up business


Get to know the project cloud and how technology is changing the way we manage projects today


How public sector organizations are gaining by using social media: Facebook and the public sector Abu Dhabi’s most popular traditional and local heritage events and places


Issue 2 - february 2015

information centER

OUR UPCOMING ISSUES Stay updated with our upcoming issues. Every month we will take an in-depth look at the key Abu Dhabi public sector industries that are shaping the city today.

march 2015

Learn about the initiatives that are helping to restructure Abu Dhabi’s education system in our March Education edition.

april 2015

may 2015

Discover how oil & gas revenues has helped transform Abu Dhabi into the modern capital that it is today in our Oil & Gas edition.

In May, PSE’s Health edition will take readers inside the capital’s state of the art healthcare and prevention system.

How to Contact Public Sector Excellence EDITORIAL:


Managing Editor Denise Daane denise.daane@psemagazine.com Senior Editor Paul Cook paul.cook@psemagazine.com Copy Editor DeMar Southard demar.southard@psemagazine.com Art Director Randy Wells randy.wells@psemagazine.com

COMMERCIAL SALES: General Manager Khalid Mohammed Tel: +97150 3188891 khalid.mohammed@psemagazine.com Sales Manager Peter Mushington Tel: +97152 7297978 peter.mushington@psemagazine.com

PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION: Group Production & Distribution Director

Faisal Chareuf Tel: +44747 2011995 faisal.chareuf@psemagazine.com

Please visit our website www.psemagazine.com

for more information and visit our Knowledge Centre for useful Project Management and Business Excellence Templates and Resources!

YOU CAN ALSO FOLLOW US ON facebook.com/psemagazine www.linkedin.com/company/pse-magazine @PSEMagazine

Public Sector Excellence is published by Public Sector Publishing FZ LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or in part, without prior written permission of Public Sector Publishing FZ LLC. is expressly prohibited. Public Sector Publishing FZ LLC, PO BOX 769365, Office #41, Blue Building, Sheikh Zayed Street, Eastern Ring Road, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Issue 2 - february 2015



N OUR ISSUE TWO we take a look at one of the integral parts of Abu Dhabi’s Infrastructure Vision 2030, Public Transport. The Surface Transport Master Plan is undoubtedly among the many ambitious plans that have set the bar for the vision of Abu Dhabi. In this issue, you will read about the current transport system in the capital and some of the future plans that will keep the city moving in the future. In the “Benchmarks” segment, we explore the key components of world-class transportation systems and observe cities around the globe that have set exceptional benchmarks in public transport. In this month’s “Sharing Excellence”, Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Al Jarman, General Manager of Emirates Transport, tells PSE of Emirates Transport’s history and achievements since inception. In an exclusive interview, PSE were privileged to spend time with a young and very talented Emirati who is committed to changing the mindset of commuters in a society where private transport is preferred over public. Heading the Public Transport Planning Division, he enlightens us with his vision on how he aims to mobilize the expected 2.5 million residents by 2030. This month’s “Empowering Excellence” features the art and science of Strategy—one of the key enablers for empowering excellence. Also supplemented in this section is an interesting intellectual contribution from INSEAD Knowledge Contributor Nigel Roberts, titled “The People Part of Strategy Implementation.” In “Project Management at a Glance”, we continue from where we left off in our last issue’s project initiation article, and dive into the project planning process. The article on “Local Enterprise” takes us on a tour of Taeen Training and Consultancy with founder and CEO, Yousef Mohamed Al Nabhani, who sets an admirable example for local entrepreneurs with his start up success. In PSE’s first “Emarati Abroad” segment, we meet up with the talented and very artistic Abdulla Al Mazrouie who takes us through his 10 year adventure in Japan and his quest to bridge the gap between Japan and the UAE.


Update yourself on the latest public sector news and affairs, as well as our monthly “Idea Watch” segment in which we explore Project Cloud; and for lighter entertainment discover Abu Dhabi’s most popular traditional and local heritage events in our “Off Topic” article. Your opinion counts. In our quest to continuously improve and achieve excellence, we welcome your thoughts and comments as we strive to become more interactive with our readers. For additional articles, downloads, and professional resources please check out our website on: www.psemagazine.com Best regards Denise Daane Managing Editor

Issue 2 - february 2015


Public Sector News and Affairs S GENERAL GOVERNMENT NEW



His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, issued a resolution pertaining to the powers of the Council's Executive Committee. Sheikh Mohamed also issued four resolutions on the formation of sub-committees reporting to the Executive Council. These sub-committees comprises the Infrastructure, Economic Development, Social Development and the Security, and the Justice and Safety Committees, with each committee including members from numerous government departments.

RESTRUCTURING OF ABU DHABI FOOD CONTROL AUTHORITY Abu Dhabi – ADFCA’s first meeting of the year 2015 was headed by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who welcomed the newly appointed board of directors. The reshuffle of the board took place after the resolution issued by H.H General Sheikh Muhamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Dr. Mugheer

Issue 2 - february 2015

Khamis Al Khaili was appointed as the managing director, while Mohammed Omar Abdulla was appointed as the chairman of the Internal Audit Committee.

UAE GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES “TARAHAMO” CAMPAIGN Abu Dhabi — In accordance with the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the “Tarahamo” campaign was initiated to send urgent relief shipments of blankets, winter clothes and food supplies as humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, in addition to those affected in Gaza and other countries. The Tarahamo campaign was launched by The UAE Red Crescent, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment, and aims to reach one million refugees.

fourth quarter of 2014 driven by lending, wealth management and trade finance. The only thing that is expected to be affected by the decline in oil prices is investment income.

ABU DHABI BANKING SECTOR EYES NEW OPPORTUNITIES Abu Dhabi — After a successful year, the Abu Dhabi banking sector is now expanding beyond the UAE borders to foreign markets as domestic markets become more and more competitive. This move is lead by what is referred to as Abu Dhabi’s ‘big five.’ The collective data shows that the combined assets of these five banks; Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, First Gulf Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Union National Bank totaled AED942.4bn, which amounts to US$256.5bn.



FOURTH QUARTER EARNINGS RESULTS EXPECTED TO DEFY DECLINE IN OIL PRICES Abu Dhabi-Despite the 46% drop in oil prices in 2014 and the fall in equity prices, banks are expected to report positive earnings for the

SLUMP IN OIL PRICES WILL NOT IMPACT UAE’S ECONOMY The UAE Energy Minister, H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei, says the UAE will move ahead with plans to boost its oil and gas production capacity. The minister also affirms that the UAE economy is strong and will not be negatively affected by the recent decline in oil prices,

PUBLIC SECTOR NEWS AND AFFAIRS and each year the UAE is reducing its dependency on oil revenue by diversify its economy.

DR. SULTAN AL JABER WINS “MAN OF THE YEAR” AWARD Abu Dhabi — H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chief Executive Officer of Energy at Mubadala and Chairman of Masdar, was presented with the award “Man of the Year” by Minister of Energy, H.E. Suhail bin Mohamed Faraj Fares Al Mazrouei. The award was presented to him for his contribution in developing Abu Dhabi’s sustainable energy initiatives. The event, Oil and Gas Year Abu Dhabi 2015 was launched at the Etihad towers hotel and was followed by a discussion, chaired by Al Mazrouei, to review both local and international co-operation in increasing the supply of natural gas, and brought together executives from renowned establishments operating in Abu Dhabi's oil and gas industry.


AFGHAN PRESIDENT ASHRAF GHANI MEETS ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE Abu Dhabi — Abu Dhabi Crown Prince H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan received the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani at Al Mushrif Palace and a 21-gun salute was fired in his honor. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, hoped that President Ghani's visit would contribute towards further enhancement of relations between the two countries. The two leaders agreed upon bolstering ties in economic, developmental and social fields amongst others. President Ghani updated H.H. Crown Prince Mohamed on the efforts being made by his government to achieve development and build national institutions.

ABU DHABI HOTEL RATES TO REMAIN THE SAME THIS YEAR Abu Dhabi — Abu Dhabi hotel rates remains the highest in comparison to its neighbors, a trend that is not likely to change any time soon according to Omer Kaddouri, chief of Rotana Hotel Management Corporation. Abu Dhabi currently has 22,320 hotel rooms, spread across 92 hotels. Kaddouri, who will be inaugurating two new hotels this year in Abu Dhabi also said that several new five star hotels are opening up in Abu Dhabi due to the increase in demand, which has triggered relatively high prices in comparison to previous years.


THREE ROAD IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS COMPLETED \Abu Dhabi-The Abu Dhabi Municipality has announced that three road improvement projects were completed at a cost of AED16 million in the Mafraq Hospital, Al Shamkha City, and Khalifa Bin Zayed city areas. The projects are part of Abu Dhabi Municipality’s plan to upgrade roads in the Emirate to meet international security and safety standards to ensure sustainable development.

MONITORING OF FORESTS Abu Dhabi – The government of Abu Dhabi has taken up the monitoring of 228,000 hectors of forests in the emirate using smart technologies. The monitoring initiative will help establish improved standards in the agriculture and forestry management. The forests will be monitored by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi EAD to promote biodiversity and the overall need for a greener Abu Dhabi. It will help in the protection of the forest’s infrastructure and its irrigation management, while improving water management.


ADEC ANNOUNCES RECRUITMENT OF 1,500 EDUCATORS Abu Dhabi – According to ADEC’s recent announcement, 1,500 new Emiratis have been hired to fill educational leadership roles including teachers and administrators. The influx will provide a healthy boost to Abu Dhabi’s public school infrastructure. The initiative taken by the government is part of ADEC’s plan for the Emiratization of education based jobs.

TEACHERS IN ABU DHABI HELP SHAPE NEW EDUCATION POLICY Abu Dhabi — For the first time in Abu Dhabi’s history, public school teachers were given the go ahead to introduce policies which will directly affect the local education system. Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), invited 1,200 local teachers, principals and school staff to participate in the event “Shaping the future”, a first of its kind, which was held in the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center. Teachers and school staff discussed more than 30 topics related to the schooling system and developed some pragmatic solutions.


ABU DHABI POLICE TO ORGANIZE FIRST INTERNATIONAL KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE Abu Dhabi- Under the patronage of Lt. General H.H. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the Abu Dhabi Police will be organizing the first International Conference on Knowledge Management in security institutions next April.

Issue 2 - february 2015


PUBLIC SECTOR NEWS AND AFFAIRS Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of H.H. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, explained that the Abu Dhabi Police will be achieving an international milestone by organizing the first forum designed to share knowledge between policing institutions worldwide. This in turn would promote the growing position of the Abu Dhabi Police as a leading world-class policing institution.

MOI HONORS DISTINGUISHED STAFF OF THE UNDERSECRETARY DIWAN Abu Dhabi — A ceremony was hosted by Brigadier Mohammed Khalifa Al Marar, Director General of Undersecretary Diwan at the Ministry of Interior in honor of a number of distinguished officers, constables and civilians. The event was organized in recognition of their efforts to improve various work processes in the ministry. The ceremony was also attended by heads of departments and chiefs of sections, including a number of


Issue 2 - february 2015

officers from the Undersecretary Diwan at the Ministry of Interior.

TOURISM ABU DHABI NAMED AMONG TOP DESTINATIONS FOR 2015 Abu Dhabi – Abu Dhabi was ranked among CNN’s top 10 tourist destinations for 2015. The emirate was named next to popular destinations such as Los Angeles, Milan and the Bahamas. The honor represents the government’s initiative in creating Abu Dhabi the cultural capital of the Middle East.

ARTIFICIAL REEF Abu Dhabi – The Emirate Nuclear Energy Corporation ENEC announced the completion of the artificial feel off the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant. The reef will enhance the overall marine life and encourage biodiversity in the region. It project will also further enhance the quality of the

environment and the beautification of the region. The reef is almost 6,700 square meters and roughly equates to the size of a football field; the complete project is constructed using green practices.


Abu Dhabi — The Ministry of Interior (MoI), in corporation with the Security Media Department, has launched the first awareness council in Abu Dhabi for this year. The event was presided by Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Salah Obeid Al Ghoul, Director of the Law Respect Culture Bureau, in which he said that after the success of the MoI’s Ramadan Councils, the ministry are examining new ways to make a larger number of Abu Dhabi residents benefit from its services. According to Al Ghoul, the MoI councils offer a venue to brainstorm ideas on some of the most pressing issues in the local scene. It is a venue where citizens are invited to contribute their opinions in order to find the best solution.


Our Expertise, Your Edge Delivering Excellence in the following domains: Capability Building: Training and Develop International Benchmarking 360 Degree Leadership Assessments Tailored Training Solutions

Management Services: Business Process Improvement Quality Management and Excellence Consulting Knowledge Management HR Consulting

Strategy and Marketing: Strategy Development and Implementation Corporate Performance Management Marketing and Corporate Branding


Contact Level 4 Al Mamoura Building, Block B Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates PO BOX 46400 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 02-659 4030 02-659 4292

www.solidusmc.com | info@solidusmc.com

Issue 2 - february 2015


The Art of

Project Planning


Issue 1 - JANUARY 2015


The process—better stated, the art—of project planning begins with the development of the Project Management Plan. This is one of the main deliverables of the project management team, and is composed of all relevant information concerning how the project will be planned, executed, monitored and controlled, and closed. The Project Management Plan is iterative, especially in the planning stages of the project, and is a very fluid document. Developing this document is the result of documenting the steps necessary to define, prepare, integrate, and coordinate its subsidiary plans. The key process above is integration, which is why development of the project management plan falls under the PMI heading of Project Integration Management.



PROJECT, DEFINED BY THE Project Management Institute is “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” There may be aspects of a project that are repetitive, such as a software upgrade that occurs periodically. However, the project itself, by definition and in practice, is unique. In some large organization software upgrades is often the work of a dedicated professional though every upgrade project deals with different systems, different end users, time frames, levels of exposure to mission critical systems, and a practically infinite combination of other factors. A project’s purpose is normally the creation of an entity or process that will continue, and only once formed can the project be released to others and run in a “business as usual” environment. The combined experience of uncountable individuals over the course of several decades has given us many methodologies for suc-

cessfully running projects, each one tailored for a general end result. For example; a project’s purpose to design a protein molecule-based computer system will be planned and managed entirely differently from one which is created to erect a building. All projects have one thing in common: They Begin, and therefore, must be planned. To continue on from our Project Initiation article in our previous issue, the next step: The Art of Project Planning is briefly outlined below and describes this stage of the Project Management cycle and the people and processes involved.


No project can be planned if its end result and full effect on other people and processes are ill-defined. Therefore, logically, the next step in project planning is Scope Management. From a well-executed project initiation phase, the project manager should have a Project Charter, a Stakeholder Register, and a Requirements Document. With that information in hand, the project team can collect requirements to fulfill the project objectives. However, as the team drills down into specific requirements, they may discover effects on other processes and the need for additional stakeholders which will cause modifications to the initial Project Charter and Stakeholder Register. The Project Planning Phase is designed to reveal shortcomings in the Project Initiation Phase. Discoveries at this stage should be expected and even welcomed. After gathering the required data, the project team, including key stakeholders, is in a position to refine the initial Scope Statement from the Project Initiation Phase. The team should now have a detailed description of the project sufficient to create a Work Break-

Issue 2 - february 2015


PROJECT MANAGEMENT AT A GLANCE down Structure, also known as the WBS. The WBS, as its name implies, documents large, high-level work packages and breaks them down to manageable units and defines those units so that their completion criteria are understood and can be agreed upon by all project team members and stakeholders. At this time the project team is ready to “baseline” the Scope Statement, meaning that it is complete, and agreed-upon by all stakeholders and used as a reference point for any future scope change requests. This is a requirement, as the next step in our planning process is defining the activities and resources required to complete all project objectives included within its scope.



Using the Scope Statement and the WBS, the project team undergoes the arduous task of defining activities that will be required to complete the project’s deliverables. The team will take into account organizational assets and processes to complete the list of activities and its dependencies in order to sequence them properly. Once the activities are sequenced and the dependencies understood, the team can create a Network Diagram, a graphical representation of each activity with its corresponding input and output processes and activities. The team then has to estimate activity resources and the duration, ie: delegating responsibility for each activity, and evaluating the time to complete each and calculating if any other resources are required. As an example: Task Y will take one software engineer two weeks, working

Issue 2 - february 2015

four hours per day and will require root access to a specific UNIX test and development server, with the ability to reboot at any time. He cannot start his work until Task X is complete, and Task Z cannot start until the software engineer completes Task Y. Even a relatively small software development project can easily end up with a task list in the hundreds; evaluating each task’s dependencies and estimating its duration is not a trivial task. It is exactly here that a lot of project planning shortcuts are made, and it is exactly from here that many projects finish behind schedule and exceed their budgets. In developing the detailed list of required project activities, the project team may discover unforeseen dependencies. By examining the details during the planning phase, the project team can uncover risks and issues that would otherwise go unnoticed in an earlier phase of the project. The project manager ensures that the activity list is complete before developing the schedule—setting time frames for each task and delegating them to a team. Based on this information, cost estimates for personnel and material required to complete the project can be determined for the budget.


revisit the original assumptions, including the “preliminary” budget, for a reality check. If, at this initial phase, it is discovered that the original estimate and new budget requirements are significantly different, revising the project scope or considering cost reductions are not big hurdles. At this stage, changes in the project are relatively inexpensive, and there are a number of solutions that can be employed if the expected project costs are higher than acceptable. In short, the budget can be decreased in several ways - by reducing the scope, extending the project timeline, utilizing lower grade personnel, and other specifics to the project. One method of affecting budget that does fall within the Planning Phase is in Quality Management.


The Quality Plan is the process and output of identifying the specific quality requirements for the project and its end result, and also describes how quality standards will be met. The quality of a product or process that will be the result of a project is specific to that product or process, however, the quality of the project is normally measured in terms of schedule and cost. Schedule and cost variance measurements are topics of not only uncountable articles, but entire books and will not be written in detail here. The Quality Plan document should include checklists of what characteristics of the project and its end product will be measured against, and also clarify how quality will be defined and measured. For a product to meet quality standards there must be well defined and understood expectations of measurable results since expectations cannot be fulfilled if they are not known.

HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT In many cases this estimate can vary from the original budget and the project team would have to

With the estimate of resources and durations, the project team can prepare the Human Resource Plan which documents who will be in-


volved in the project, but when, and also provides invaluable information in determining resource constraints. For instance, if a specific Engineer A is required on a full time basis for an identified period, the project manager may find that Engineer A is also required for another project at the same time. It may be discovered that additional contract resources will be required at a point in the project, or a new software package installed and the team has to undergo training, resulting in a loss of scheduled time.


The three most important aspects of successful project management are, in this order, Communication, Communication, and finally, Communication. There is not an experi-

enced project manager this side of Alpha Centauri who will not have a horror story to tell concerning miscommunication. Designing and holding to a Communication Plan that all stakeholders have agreed to is, to understate the matter, absolutely, positively vital to the smooth operation and success of a project. A Communication Plan includes what information is provided, and to whom, when, and in what format. A common format for this document is a grid, with documents, including frequency and delivery formats in rows, and the stakeholders who will receive those communications across the top. Check marks in the grid indicate who receives the specified information. The Communication Plan also includes information on standing project meetings and who is expected to attend.

RISK MANAGEMENT Despite meticulous planning and armed with vital knowledge from the Project Management Body of Knowledge book from the Project Management Institute (all 506 pages in PDF!), there are still unknown factors that can cause problems to a well-run project. That is why project planning is crucial and frequent brainstorming and risk analysis meetings are important. Risk, in project terms, is any factor that might negatively, or even positively, affect the project. A Risk Management Plan lists and categorizes all risks that the project team or stakeholders can perceive. Once a risk is identified, the project team will list it on a Risk Matrix document and categorize it according to its probability and effect on the project, should it occur. Armed with this information, the project team can then devise a mitigation strategy—how to react if the event occurs— and a risk reduction strategy if possible. Project management best practice also identifies another type of “unknown” risk, which of course is not listed on the Risk Matrix but should be included in the budget

as a line item although the effect on the budget is not known, many organizations use a rule-of-thumb percentage of the planned budget as a holding place for costs associated totally unforeseen risks. With experience, a mature organization can predict that X percent of projects would need to use their “unknown unknowns” risk budget and in this manner, budget overruns, for this purpose at least, will be kept to a minimum.

PLAN PROCUREMENTS The final part of the project planning process is Procurement Planning when the scope, personnel, work packages and task lists are completely understood and equipment requirements are apparent. Thereafter, in the last phase, the project team evaluates the purchasing requirements from the standpoint of make or buy decisions, purchase or lease, time for order processing, vendor selection, and all other criteria for bringing new equipment and services into the equation.

MOVING ON Indeed, it is rare that a project can complete the planning process and simply close the books. Experience shows that even with the best-planned projects there is still the need to revisit each planned item at some stage during the process. Multiple evaluations should not automatically be considered as indicative of incomplete planning as today’s standard operating procedure, can easily be tomorrow’s relic, and this sudden change can cause havoc amongst all current processes and procedures. A good project manager and team will accept these events as normal, revisit the affected process, budget, timeline, or any other part of the project, and adjust, re-baseline then continue toward the objectives of the project. After all, that’s what change is all about!

Issue 2 - february 2015


Let’s Benchmark!

Public Transport:

A Global Look


Public transport, or public transit, is a shared passenger-transport service available for use by the general public. Different modes of public transport offer a variety of travel options via public buses, trains, ferries and rapid transit (metro or subway).

Issue 1 - JANUARY 2015

Let’s Benchmark!


UBLIC TRANSPORT, both diverse and expansive, provides a needed service for commuters, families, students, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities. When efficiently designed and managed, public transport systems can expedite growth and development for cities. These systems can reduce the strain on road networks and reduce congestion problems. They can also decrease pollution, road accidents, and other health and safety problems.

How Important Is an Effective Public Transport System? PUBLIC TRANSPORT BUILDS A STRONG ECONOMY

Investment in public transport has yielded enormous indirect economic benefits. It is estimated that every dollar of capital or operating expense invested in public transport yields triple that amount in increased business activity. Public investment in mass transit also has a very positive effect on the creation of sustainable jobs. Better public transport helps employers to access a larger pool of workers with increased opportunities for personal growth and decreased private transport expenses. Further, public transport connects economic activities in industrial, suburban, and remote areas. As most of the workforce resides in suburban areas, an optimal public transport network opens access to different industrial zones, metropolitan cities, and even rural areas.


The UAE is one of the major oil producers in the world, and Abu Dhabi boasts the largest share of oil production within the Emirates. Abu Dhabi’s ambitious plans for increasing oil production to 3.5 million barrels a day by 2017 would further benefit from energy conservation and reducing local oil consumption, thereby increasing the amount available for export. Since the turn of the century, more attention is being paid to rapid environmental changes. The secret to fast-paced economic growth and development lies in a highly-developed, well-utilized public transport system. However, this is the area wherein Abu Dhabi faces its greatest challenge. We must change public opinion about using public transport for routine commuting; this trend has not yet been fully embraced by the residents of the city.

CONGESTION RELIEF Both the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the city have seen phenomenal growth in population: from 58,000 in 1952 to an estimated 2,210,700 in 2012. Such a massive increase strains the transport network. With the population expected to continue to grow, increased public spending for a public transport infrastructure would not only take the pressure off the already-overloaded road networks, but would also provide easier access to workplaces without traffic congestion, ultimately reducing road-related accidents and increasing convenience for commuters.

Good Practices Elsewhere

MADRID, SPAIN The public transport system in Spain is considered one of the most developed and well-integrated systems in the world. The Spanish capital Madrid, boasts a widespread transport system, including 13 metro lines, over 130 bus lines, and 10 local train lines. The system efficiently connects the centre of the city with the suburbs, and is both highly affordable and cost effective. The buses, metro, and trains are clean and convenient modes of travel in any part of the city. Recently, a member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, H.E Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, (Chairman of Transport Authority) visited Madrid to discuss Public Works and Transport. The Department of Transport (DoT) of Abu Dhabi has identified Madrid’s public transport as a model to benchmark in the coming years. Particularly, Madrid-style bus and metro systems will be implemented in Abu Dhabi to provide better public


transport for residents. Madrid’s metro, buses, and commuter trains run frequently to facilitate public transit. Abu Dhabi aims to operate a similar system, particularly for buses and the metro, to reduce traffic congestion in the city. It hopes to provide a comfortable experience to encourage more people to travel, primarily via public means.

Issue 2 - february 2015

Let’s Benchmark!

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA The Seoul Metropolitan Government currently has the most advanced public transport hub in Asia. The transportation boom traces its origins from the era of the Korean Empire, when Seoul and Incheon were linked by railroad and the first street car lines were laid. The Seoul Metropolitan Government takes public transport seriously, as evidenced by numerous improvement initiatives beginning in the early 21st century. Seoul restructured its bus route in 2004, replacing the previous routes with a hub-and-spoke dual system of trunk and feeder lines. The city also introduced an exclusive median bus lane, another major milestone contributing to the success of the public transport system. Since then, the bus system has become much faster, and currently the network covers a total of 115.3kms with plans to expand to 210.5kms in the coming years. Since the implementation of the median bus lane, bus speeds have increased by an average of 30%, making public transport the more desirable option for Seoul residents. Another successful initiative by the Seoul Metropolitan Government was the integration of all public transport into a transit fare card system covering the entire Seoul metropolitan area, considerably lowering transportation costs. The transit fare card is called the T-Money, a form of digital currency used to pay for various transport services, and can also be used in lieu of cash or credit

NEW YORK CITY, USA With a total population of approximately 8.3 million, New York City is constantly growing. The region’s railroads, subways, parkways, thruways, expressways, and highways were built to transport people and goods into and around the city.


As a result, it has the most extensive mass-transit network in North America. Data from the 2000 US Census reveals that over half of New York City households do not own a car; this figure is even higher in the borough of Manhattan (around 75%). Although over 90% of Americans drive vehicles to work, mass transit is the primary form of travel for New Yorkers.

Issue 2 - february 2015

cards in some convenience stores and other businesses. In addition to South Korea’s environmental sustainability policies and objectives, the Seoul Metropolitan Government began operating electrical buses in 2010 to lessen exhaust and noise pollution. Also worth noting is TOPIS, Seoul Metropolitan Government’s integrated transportation management centre which collects and delivers information to the city’s traffic management system. This act has drastically improved road and public transport management. The Seoul public transport system has proven that collaboration between public-sector entities can lead to great results.

This uniquely high rate of public transit makes New York City the most energy-efficient city in the world. In 2007, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg released the PlaNYC, an initiative to strengthen the economy and infrastructure, combat climate change, and enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers. The PlaNYC introduces sustainable forms of mass transit by innovative programs that have been successfully implemented elsewhere. The Solar Sailor—a hybrid ferry running on solar, wind, and diesel energy—is one such initiative. It is currently operational in both Sydney and California and has proved successful and energy efficient. The Bike Share program is another trending public transport program adopted under the plan. The program is a technologically enhanced version of free public bicycles. Program members can pick up bicycles by swiping their membership card at designated kiosks and returning the bicycle to another. Similar programs in Barcelona and Paris have been highly successful. Tramcars or street cars have been introduced as a viable option due to significantly less infrastructure requirements. Other successful implementations can be seen in Goa, India, and in Dresden and Wuppertal, Germany. Real-time information screens are to be introduced at all stations along with mobile phone apps and interactive text messages to provide time-sensitive information to public transport users and improve efficiency. The PlanNYC also includes numerous considerations for accessibility. Wheelchair-accessible subways and trains will accommodate the disabled, and Universal Access Turnstiles will replace the typical bars, making public transport more accessible for commuters in wheelchairs, using crutches, pushing strollers, and those who have injuries or other special needs.

Let’s Benchmark!

Key Considerations To improve its public transport system according to these international standards, Abu Dhabi has great opportunities to improve its existing transport network. Some possible practices that can be observed by the government are:

INCREASING THE NUMBER OF TRANSPORT SERVICES Currently, the transport system in Abu Dhabi is dominated by private cars, preferred by commuters for comfort and accessibility. This emphasizes the need for the DoT to increase transport services generally—and the number of buses in particular—and enhance overall accessibility to public transport in the city. Since a network of well-connected roads already exists in the city, the use of buses is the most viable area of development. In lieu of this fact, the DoT has recently added nine new bus services to its public transport network. It has also rerouted and extended several existing routes, changing stops and frequencies to upgrade the entire system. The initiation of the Dalma Mall road projects has significantly impacted the public-transit system and current changes.

ENSURING A FULLY-OPERATIONAL METRO SYSTEM With Madrid as an international model of public transport, Abu Dhabi must ensure the implementation of a fully functional metro system to develop its public transit. The city has already enacted plans to introduce Metro and Light Metro projects to meet the demand for increased mobility, which is expected to increase fivefold by 2030. The Abu Dhabi Metro system

BERLIN, GERMANY As one of the oldest systems in place, the public transport system in Germany is highly efficient and utilizes a wide network of buses, trams, trolleys, and underground trains, and offers its commuters a comfortable and affordable means of transport. The underground metro system, the U-Bahn, is particularly famous for its efficiency and timely schedules and is well connected to the railway system, the S-Bahn, and other transportation routes throughout the city. The best part about public transport in Berlin is that buses, trolleys, and metros are available throughout the city. Commuters rarely find themselves looking for public transport, as they are available at

should considerably reduce traffic congestion on highways and connect the city to various suburbs such as Saadiyat Island, Al Raha Beach, and Yas Island. The ticketing system should be user friendly, and routes must connect to various parts of the city and link with other transportation routes for better accessibility. These changes are important to successfully replicate systems like the Metro and Light Metro plans in Madrid.

PROVIDING A COMFORTABLE EXPERIENCE If the government is to fully embrace an efficient public transport system, it should ensure the various transit mediums provide both convenience and comfort for commuters. Without these two major factors, the trend towards public transport may not be realized. Since their introduction in 2008, the bus systems in Abu Dhabi have improved considerably. New, state of the art bus fleets have replaced older bus models and and modern bus stops have been built to improve passengers’ experience. However, change is gradual and there

virtually every street corner. The transport system uses automated sign boards to inform commuters about the estimated wait time for every station on the route. This efficiency has earned Berlin’s public transport system worldwide recognition and a reputation for some of the best practices in public transportation.

is still lots to be done. The high temperature in the city dissuades many from using public transit. With our climate, it is necessary to provide air-conditioned buses, a step the DoT has already begun to implement in the capital. Lack of climate-controlled facilities causes current users of public transport to seek other alternatives and makes attracting new users even more difficult.

CHANGING PERCEPTIONS Changing perceptions among middle to high income earners is a probably one of the biggest challenges in promoting the use of public transport in Abu Dhabi. In a city where car financing, gas, and parking prices are still considered extremely cheap compared to the rest of the world, it’s going to take a lot of effort to convince residents to get out of their cars and hop on the bus or metro. Nevertheless, if the existing and future public transport services are marked by efficiency, comfort, and reliability; and the right messages are communicated to the public, residents are bound to change their perspectives sooner or later.

Issue 2 - february 2015



Enablers: The Excellent Strategy • Understanding the Needs and Expectations of Stakeholders • Understanding the Needs and Expectations of the External Environment • Understanding Internal Performance and Capabilities


• Developing, Reviewing and Updating Strategy • Communicating, Implementing, and Monitoring Strategies • Case Study: Strategy Excellence in the Abu Dhabi Government

Issue 2 - february 2015


UNDERSTANDING INTERNAL PERFORMANCE AND CAPABILITIES An excellent organization knows its core strengths; even more, its
















Excellent organizational strategies are devised with the needs and expectations of various stakeholders in clear sight, conscious that the strategy must ultimately benefit all groups involved in the business. The organization should understand stakeholder needs and gather input from these groups when devising a strategy. Stakeholder needs are a key influencing factor on forming company policies. Organizations ought to be aware of any changes in trends and stakehold-


Any changes an organization makes to its strategic plan must take into account legal, political, regulatory, and compliance requirements, as well as all other external indicators, including the potential impact future changes may have on the business and its stakeholders. A firm cannot exist in a bubble; the ramifications of its actions and the complex reciprocal relationship it has with the external environment must be addressed and accounted for in maintaining a sustainable organizational strategy.



er requirements, and revise existing policies accordingly. For example, customers’ expectations of the company are constantly evolving with changing market trends, therefore, the organization should be proactive in requesting feedback using relevant tools at their disposal, including customer satisfaction surveys, focus groups, crowdsourcing, and various other tools using traditional and social media channels. Constant interaction with stakeholders is important for devising sound strategies for sustainable excellence.



RGANIZATIONS in the public sector of the Abu Dhabi government are continually striving for excellence, and one key criteria that enables them to achieve sustained excellence is an excellent strategy. This Excellence Enabler, as defined by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Model, plays a major role in achieving success as it provides organizations with a set of goals and targets in line with the needs and expectations of various stakeholders. Much like all other enabler criteria, organizational strategy needs to be well-integrated with other enablers to achieve the desired results; the leader develops the mission, vision, and value of the firm, which then translates into the company’s strategy. This must be deployed with the help of the organization’s people resources and partnerships to develop and produce quality processes, products, and services. The importance of a well-defined and well-communicated strategy cannot be stressed enough. Simply put, strategy is the starting point to any organization’s journey to excellence. The Government of Abu Dhabi uses the Abu Dhabi Excellence Awards in Government program based on the EFQM Model to encourage entities to develop sound strategies to attain success. This is achieved through a complex framework of analysis criteria that evaluates every aspect of an organization and guides the development of strategies for improvement.

LEGAL A thorough understanding of external factors—political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental (PESTLE)—is an integral input to the development of a viable and sustainable strategy. Commonly referred to as a PESTLE Analysis, the process leads to a thorough understanding of these factors providing the organization’s leaders and strategists with a clear view of the company’s “playing field”, which is an integral step to setting the stage for an excellent strategy.

weaknesses. Reality checks are important, and so an organization must carry out regular performance and capability assessments and verify and validate results from those assessments to establish their current performance levels and identify areas for improvement. Performance management models such as the balanced scorecard are effective tools for measuring performance and keeping strategic goals in perspective. (Find more information on the balanced scorecard at http://bal-

Issue 2 - february 2015


EMPOWERING EXCELLENCE ancedscorecard.org/). An organization also builds excellence by understanding the performance and capabilities of its existing and potential business partnerships. This enables an organization to define and refine its strategy by incorporating within it complementary strengths and weaknesses that exist or may be anticipated in current and future partnerships. An excellent organization is cognizant of not only its own strengths and weaknesses, but those of the firms it does business with. It mitigates the weaknesses and employs the strengths to maximize the benefits of the partnership. Performance data should also be analyzed from a technological perspective, carefully considering potential technology investments that could improve specific processes and overall company performance. Increasing technical knowledge and acuity can provide strategists and decision makers with insightful new ways to operate the business—to increase efficiency through the use of technology that might add value in serving the firm, improving the efficiency of current processes in place. Constant analysis of information is paramount in ensuring a sound strategy, and this data should always be compared to relevant benchmarks which can help gauge the firm’s competitive advantage and future


Issue 2 - february 2015


DEVELOPING, REVIEWING AND UPDATING STRATEGY The excellent organization always keeps its vision and mission in mind, develops strategies to support them, and policies to maintain its strategies. These strategies and policies must be clear, thorough, and wellthought-through to take into account various aspects mentioned above. To judge whether the strategy truly reflects the company’s vision, it must undergo constant review by validating whether it is advancing the firm toward the desired results. These results must be in accordance with the vision and mission and benefit all stakeholders involved. Understanding and finding solutions to any discrepancies that may arise is essential so that the strategy can be revised accordingly. The strategy should work to generate benefits for all stakeholders, including the broader society in which the enterprise operates. Businesses that are only concerned with their narrowly-defined self-interests do not endure in today’s environment. A business that demonstrates concern for society and the environment is on the right path to success and recognition. As a member of the EFQM, Abu Dhabi Gas Industries Ltd, (GASCO) is a good example of a government organization that strives for excellence in all aspects. As part of their strategies and policies, GASCO aims to be a socially responsible organization with a sustainable and green strategy that envisions the organization as trustees for the future. GASCO are continuously seeking ways to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and explore new technologies that can further help

reduce the environmental impact of their operations. Seeking a balance between current production and growth on the one hand, and environmental protection on the other; to reduce the rate of depletion of natural resources so they are preserved for future generations. For these considerations, GASCO has won the Shiekh Khalifa Excellence Award on numerous occasions. Such organizations show their ability to look ahead into future scenarios and adjust their strategies so they can balance future risks and current rewards. By understanding the nature of the materials they work with and molding their strategy to help preserve and sustain the natural resources extracted from the earth. An organization’s strategies should be forward thinking so that sustainable excellence is achievable. Such principles lead the many organizations within the Abu Dhabi government to work toward promoting economic and societal sustainability and are among the key pillars of the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030.

COMMUNICATING, IMPLEMENTING, AND MONITORING STRATEGIES An organization’s strategy must be effectively communicated at all levels, a task that can only be accomplished through the use of active leadership and communication skills. As the famous economist and business guru, Michael Porter, puts it, “the best CEO’s are teachers, and at the core of what they teach is strategy”. Every level and every aspect of the organization must have this strategy ingrained within its core systems, and employees should adopt this as their guiding force. Employees should feel that they are part of, and responsible for, the successful implementation of an organization’s strategy. Unless an organization’s vision and strategic goals are shared amongst its human resources who feel empowered to contributing to the strategy and to achieving the goals set, a success story is an unlikely outcome. Excellent organizations are always evaluating their operations with a critical eye, to determine whether

EMPOWERING EXCELLENCE they are capable of meeting targets and goals in ways that maximize their overall value to all stakeholders. Key performance indicators must be established to judge the performance of the organization, and measurements against those indicators must be detailed enough for the organization to thoroughly and honestly evaluate whether they have been met. Benchmarking is another useful technique that may be used to gauge performance. Comparing your organization’s performance measures with peers can help identify performance gaps and set new and challenging targets. An excellent organization deploys strategy in a systematic manner, keeping long and short term objectives in mind, whilst effectively man-

aging resources to achieve them. Processes need to be designed and developed using a top-down approach to ensure alignment with strategic objectives and add value to the organization. Stakeholders, including customers and employees, should be satisfied with the strategy implementation and its end result. Innovation is a key factor that sets excellent organizations apart from the rest. The organization must set goals to encourage innovation; constantly evaluating and refining strategies to encourage and clear the way for innovative ideas. Any successful public sector strategy must allow room for new ideas that react with and may even redefine the economic environment in which the organization operates. In an effort

to become one of the top governments in the world, the Abu Dhabi government has taken great strides to promote innovation in both the public and private sectors through numerous initiatives and awards. The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development put forth an innovations policy that aims to achieve sustainable economic growth—one that will help propel the nation into a prosperous future. More recently, the Ministry of Interior also launched a new website to promote a culture of innovation and encourage the sharing of creative ideas. These are just a few examples that demonstrates the importance of innovation in the public sector and the necessity of keeping one’s creative juices flowing!


STRATEGY EXCELLENCE IN THE ABU DHABI GOVERNMENT The economic policy of the Abu Dhabi Government embraces a forward-thinking strategy for economic growth. Their Vision dictates a shift away from the oil and gas sector, and development of non-oil industries to contribute a larger percentage to the Abu Dhabi GDP. In this spirit, the Economic Vision 2030 visualizes an economy based on sustainable, knowledge-based industries, rather than relying on a natural resource which has fickle production rates and prices and an uncertain future, all of which combine to create an economic landscape difficult to anticipate and manage. As evidenced by the steady growth in the Abu Dhabi GDP, the government has been able to successfully deploy this strategy. The contribution to GDP of non-oil based industries increased 6.7% in 2011 and 7.7% in 2012. The goal of the Economic Vision is for non-oil based industries to contribute 25% of the total GDP in 2025 from 16.2% recorded in 2009. This all-encompassing vision is implemented through various government organizations. The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED) put forth its Innovations policy and developed an Abu Dhabi Innovations Index, prepared in collaboration with INSEAD, one of the world's leading graduate business schools.

This produced positive results, placing Abu Dhabi in a position to gain access to information necessary for innovation. The results showed that compared with other economies reliant on natural resources, Abu Dhabi stood out as being highly capable and very efficient in the adoption and positioning of knowledge, new technologies, products and services across its entire economy. DED attributed this success, in part, to the policies established by the Abu Dhabi government. The Abu Dhabi Innovations Index offers a comprehensive set of guidelines which can help an organization develop strategies that will garner excellent results. Allowing an organization to assess every aspect of its operations and environment and consider its strategic requirements from multiple dimensions so that strategies developed yield results that benefits not only the organization, but all of its stakeholders as well. Taking into account all of the organization’s responsibilities—internal and external, employees and customers, social, environmental, legal— and helps the organization to thoroughly evaluate itself, encompassing all these factors into consideration in order to develop a strategy that leads to excellence. The Abu Dhabi government achieves excellence using this model and supports other organizations do so as well.

Issue 2 - february 2015



‘People’ Part of The

Successful Strategy Implementation Nigel Roberts, Knowledge Contributor to INSEAD University

Most strategies fail to be implemented correctly. The companies that succeed are those that concentrate on creating strategy with people and implementation at its heart, rather than having annual planning exercises masquerading as strategy.



HE WORLD OF BUSINESS took on a new level of complexity in the 1980s with new analytical approaches to management and regulations which meant managers had even more to think about. With that came the march of the strategy consulting industry. Consulting boffins sprung up to find solutions and efficiencies for the leaders of the day. While the big consulting firms were making their mark and fighting over business, Chris Outram (INSEAD MBA ’77), started a strategy consulting company that thought a little differently than the competition. “We were the new guys on the block, we’re insurgents, we’ve always been insurgents and we act like insurgents” he tells INSEAD Knowledge from his office in London. Outram purposefully set out to offer a different kind of consultan-

Issue 2 - february 2015

cy to the big players. Almost 30 years on, with 500 employees in 10 countries, he claims that OC&C is probably the only pure play strategic consultancy left. OC&C has been outrunning the competition in strategic consultancy since it was founded in 1987 by turning the mainstream thinking on its head. He says too many companies fail to realise that implementation is as important, if not more important, than the development of the strategy, something that has recently been empirically proven by INSEAD research. He argues that much of what passes for strategy nowadays is nothing more than annual planning and says that 75 percent of companies don’t have an explicit strategy process which talks about strategy and how it ultimately depends on people and the way they will implement strategy.


“I wouldn’t say that their strategies are useless, but if they added a separate ‘people’ process on the strategy process they would be a lot more effective.” That process is execution, which many consultants and academics have largely ignored because it is seen as merely tedious detail. Yet Outram argues that the only successful strategy is one that can be implemented and having the right people in place is key to that implementation. The firm he founded, OC&C, makes extensive use of a technique called ‘End-Gaming,’ in addition to

KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE conventional strategic tools. “That’s a process where we take the defined strategy, project it forward a couple of years, define what the company will do and look like at that stage and then say: ‘have we got the people who are going to do all of this?’ And if you’re not sure then you need to do an awful lot of thinking about getting the right people in the right place at the right time.” OC&C has developed new theories about the best way to ensure that strategy is implemented effectively.

nicate it out to the rest of the organisation.” Outram believes that there is a dearth of formal training of managers and CEOs in leadership and communications – ensuring that the key strategic messages get out to the whole organisation. The conventional model for disseminating that strategic vision to the company is to cascade the messages down from the executive suite. Chris Outram prefers the less hierarchical ‘ripple effect’ model. “I am going to communicate explicitly with differ-

ing very articulate about what they need to do help me and the company make it real.” With people playing such a vital role in the implementation of strategy, Chris Outram believes that putting up with a mediocre team will make strategy unachievable or sub-optimal at best. Companies have to be ruthless when recruiting and retaining staff. “It doesn’t make sense to have mediocre people implementing outstanding strategy, so you have to often make hard decisions to make

The ‘conspiracy theory’ of management is key to successful design and implementation of strategy. “CEOs who gather two or three serious confidantes around them with whom they can kick concepts around, express vulnerability and debate it really do come out with better answers.”

ent constituencies throughout the organisation, as distinct from hoping that it will percolate down through the organisation and drip feed in the right way. I’m not willing to take the risk that the ‘whispering’ will transform the meaning over time.” The ripple effect starts in the centre of the pond with the top team where the CEO communicates strategy in great detail. To management generally there needs to be a balance between a reasonably succinct outline of pure detailed strategy and a greater emphasis on how they will implement strategy. “By the time I get to the front end of the organisation, say the people working in stores, I need to give them a very crisp elaboration of strategy and then spend much more time be-

sure that you attract the right people and ‘Go for Gold.’ I often see CEOs sticking with mediocre people for too long, but frankly they are doing the company a disservice.” He also warns against the pitfall of overconfidence by CEOs. Even in difficult and challenging markets companies can overestimate the value of their business model, customer base and ways of doing things. He cites the example of failed ‘Blockbuster’ which failed to spot that its business model of DVD rental stores would be overtaken by digital downloads. “You need to be externally very confident about your strategy, but every now and then a bit of paranoia is a very healthy thing.” Agility and awareness of the changing external environment are also vital if you are to avoid the ten pitfalls that he outlines in his book and which can trip up even the best of strategies.

THE RIPPLE EFFECT Then having defined the strategy in a ‘magic circle of executive conspirators’, “it is vital that they live that strategy and commu-

Issue 2 - february 2015


Mr. mohammed Abdullah Al Jarman

General Manager of Emirates Transport 26

Please could you begin by broadly describing the history of Emirates Transport since its founding in 1981, highlighting any major milestones in the company’s development? We are a federal corporation, of course, and as such we have a certain responsibility towards the state and the nation. This was reflected in our principle role as the sole provider of student transport for government schools, a role we still fill over 33 years later. We currently transport more than 200,000 students to and from schools on a daily basis. It is a big responsibility that we take very seriously and, thankfully, we have succeeded in creating a school transport system that is recognised as, probably, the best in the region. Over the last 10 years, however, the corporation has witnessed considerable growth after venturing into more commercial avenues. We managed to achieve this by diversifying our services, particularly in the fields of transport and auto

Issue 2 - february 2015

maintenance and repair, and targeting both public and private sector entities. Thankfully, we managed— in a short space of time—to develop our business model to meet the demands of the market. This was achieved through the ET Group of Business Centres, which were set up to provide a better, more focused approach for each service. More recently, this commercial trajectory of the corporation has taken a sharp upward turn, as we went through a rapid expansion period. We now have 27 business centres and units, eight associate companies, and hundreds of public and private sector clients, including most of the major federal government entities and a number of leading multinationals. How would you describe the responsibilities and duties of Emirates Transport today? How do these activities contribute to the country’s national development?

We are a commercial federal corporation and as such we have responsibilities and duties to the state, as well as to our clients, who come from both the public and private sectors. Our profits go directly to the government which helps to boost the national economy. Therefore, we believe we can best serve the state by providing the best services to our clients and being the best at what we do. This includes maintaining high operational standards for all of our government sector clients and helping them, in turn, to achieve their own targets. Our corporate strategic plans are based on the long-term strategic plans of the government, such as the UAE Vision 2021, an ambitious charter which aims to elevate standards across all economic, social, and environmental fields to make the UAE among the best countries in the world. We have a duty to support the national interests of the UAE and we do that by a number of ways including

Sharing Excellence giving our support to national and community events and initiatives by way of sponsorship and any other means. This comes under our corporate social responsibility charter, which, to us, forms a very important part of who we are as a federal corporation. A strategically key event for us will be the Dubai Expo 2020, which will be a chance to support a major national event as well as being an important business opportunity. Can you please tell me about the company’s facilities and equipment? Have there been any recent improvements, upgrades, or expansions in this regard? We enjoy a comprehensive presence throughout the country through nine branches, covering all emirates and areas of the state. We find that, with our ongoing growth, particularly over the last couple of years, we have to invest

more in our expansion plans for commercial facilities and infrastructure. Currently, we are in the midst of a one billion dirham infrastructure development plan, which entails the upgrade and construction of new administrative and service buildings across the state. All of our buildings and facilities undergo regular upgrades and maintenance and, increasingly, this means introducing green elements to their structure. New buildings already adhere to green practices. In terms of our equipment, we have a strategy of insisting on the best quality from our suppliers to maintain the high standards that our clients have come to expect. This extends to all assets ranging from our buses to the equipment we use for our auto maintenance and repair services. Is the company engaged in any collaborations, partnerships, or agreements with

similar organisations and/or governing bodies in the UAE or wider GCC? Long-term collaborations and partnerships form the basis of our strategic business plans. Over the 33 years of our existence, we’ve had numerous such working relationships with both public and private sector entities. Our successful track record and vast experience gives us a major advantage in that sense, as we can use our extensive business and client portfolios to generate new commercial opportunities. Some of our major long-term partners include the Ministry of Education, the Abu Dhabi Education Council, the Ministry of Interior, Abu Dhabi Police, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), and Etisalat. From the private sector we have strong working relations with a number of major players from the auto industry such as Toyota and Hyundai.


Issue 2 - february 2015

Sharing Excellence On the regional level, we have recently agreed to a new venture, our first in the major Saudi market, for the establishment of the Saudi-Emirati Transport Company which will aim to provide transport and auto mechanic services. Internationally, we strive to keep pace with the latest business-related best practices and trends by participating in major events and awards. We are also members of a number of international bodies such as The National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and the International Association of Public Transport (UITP). Regarding your regional expansion, after the formation of the Saudi-Emirati Transport Company, how would you describe this step? And would we see more similar moves in the future?


As we mentioned before, the successful business model created by Emirates Transport, particularly in the school transport sector, has made it stand out as a leading example in the region and this has attracted attention from market players in neighbouring countries. Expanding regionally is something we’ve had in mind for some time and, in 2013, the official approval was given by the board of ET to pave the way for regional investment. After this we entered into talks with the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) and the two sides agreed to form the Saudi-Emirati Transport Company. The company is based in Riyadh, and was registered under a

Issue 2 - february 2015

50/50 share basis between the two companies. We are excited by this project and we feel confident it will be followed by similar ventures in the future. Are there any notable projects underway that you wish to highlight, or any upcoming developmental projects that you will be undertaking? As we mentioned previously, we are constantly growing as a company and have expansion projects planned ahead, but at the moment we have three major notable directions: 1. Providing access to our services through online and smart phone applications. 2. Targeting private sector schools. 3. Expansion and specializing in auto mechanical and logistic services. The company is no stranger to awards podiums. Tell us about some of the most prominent awards that you have won. We take pride in pursuing excellence in the work we do, and in the recognition this work receives. One of the most recent of these honours was the Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport— First place in the category of school transport. It was the sixth consecutive year in which ET was recognised in various categories. Notable awards for environmental and sustainable transport practices include: 1. The BGreen Award 2013 – Most Sustainable Govern-

ment Department. 2. Green Middle East Environment Excellence Awards – Natural Resources Conservation category – 2012. 3. Emirates Energy Awards 2013 – CNG conversion projects. We were also the first, and only, government entity to win the Dubai Chamber CSR Label – 2012, 2013. For our services we won a number of awards including: 1. The UITP Award in Customer Services – MINA Region, 2013 2. The Emirates Government Service Excellence Award – 2010, 2011 Also recently, Emirates Transport secured a major achievement when we were named among the best companies to work for in Asia; this follows on the footsteps of being named among the best places to work in the UAE. It is something we feel very proud of as we invest a lot of time, effort, and finances into our human resources and we strive to create the best working environment that will contribute to high rates of job satisfaction and increased productivity. How is the company structured in terms of divisions and subsidiaries? We have seven main divisions, which are: Support Services, Corporate Services, Business Development, Logistics Services, Technical Services, Transport & Lease, and

Sharing Excellence School Transport. We also have eight associate companies (50/50 ownerships) offering taxi, facilities management, and security services. How many people does the company employ? How does Emirates Transport train its workforce? We currently have 16,500 employees representing 44 nationalities, making us one of the largest and most diverse employers in the UAE. We strongly believe that our employees are our most precious asset. Therefore, offering them the right training and working environment is regarded as top priority. We offer training and skill development opportunities for all our employees, but certain categories of employees, such as drivers and school bus supervisors, follow a strict regular training system as part of their job requirements and to maintain our high standards. We also strive to offer career growth opportunities to the corporation’s own employees and we are proud to say that many of our senior executives and managers have made their way through the ranks. Some of them, in fact, started as trainees a long time ago. What do you feel has been most crucial to the company’s continued success? A number of things, I think. First we put great emphasis on excellence and quality throughout all our operations by adopting best international practices and strongly promoting a culture

of professionalism at the workplace. We also put a lot of effort and thought into our strategic planning and follow-up and rely on a close and accurate reading of the market in achieving this. Flexibility and diversification of services are also two important concepts that have served us well. And last, but not least, we have a highly capable and motivated work force that can meet targets and even exceed expectations. How do you ensure quality and safety standards are maintained across your diverse operations? Ensuring quality and safety standards is, ultimately, the responsibility of management, but, of course, it requires the cooperation of all employees. As a corporation we invest heavily in establishing a culture of quality and excellence throughout all our business practices and have put in place mechanisms and policies to ensure this. Our Operations and HSE departments lead the way in this field, but, as mentioned before, we try to spread a culture of high standards among our employees and this, for us, is the best means of reaching our targets. Are there any key infrastructural trends, both locally and globally, that your company

wishes to pursue? What action have you taken towards these goals? Two of our major trends, at the moment, revolve around introducing sustainable practices and smart services across the various operations of the corporation, including internal (employees/work systems) and external (clients) platforms. Is there anything else about Emirates Transport that you would like to include in the article, or anything that we have already discussed that you feel requires greater emphasis? We would like to highlight the fact that one of the most attractive features of ET—from the client’s point of view—is that we provide integrated services that include transport and leasing (including hire of vehicles and drivers), auto repair and maintenance, fleet management, as well as used car auctions and complimentary services such as car cleaning services. We also want to highlight our trend towards implementing sustainable practices and policies according to international standards. It is something we take seriously and see as part of our responsibility towards the local and global community. Finally, we would like to shed light on how we have recently moved towards having more of a commercial approach with emphasis on financial results. But it’s important to stress that such a move will in no way diminish our role as a socially responsible corporation.

Issue 2 - february 2015


Sharing Excellence

Abdullah Al Mehairbi

Department of Transport



T ONLY 29 YEARS OLD, Abdulla Al Mehairbi already carries the weight of the future of Abu Dhabi’s public transport network. He heads a team of eight experts—all older and more experienced than he—in the Department of Transport’s (DoT) public transport planning section for future needs. “We tend to work as a team, and they’re all real professionals,” said Mr. Mehairbi. “They know what it takes and what needs to happen, so they make my job really easy. But no matter how hard I try, I could never claim to be as experienced or as knowledgeable as they are. So I always rely on their knowledge.” “I think my job as the leader of the

Issue 2 - february 2015

section is to make sure they can do their jobs properly and make it easy for them,” he explained. “I never see my job as to control or monitor them. Whenever they face any problems, I should be there to support them to overcome these issues.” After graduating from Abu Dhabi Men’s College as the Department’s first trainee, Mr. Mehairbi joined DoT in 2008. “We weren’t more than 40 people at that time, including the chairman. And now? I stopped counting when I got to 900!” he laughed. His first project was the Surface Transport Master Plan, which was also the Department’s first major project. The plan demanded the expertise of the world’s best transport

visionaries to assess Abu Dhabi’s transportation needs up to 2030. “It was a very exciting time and I consider myself extremely lucky,” said Mr. Mehairbi. “I don’t think a lot of people in the world get such chances in life, and even if they do, it’s usually people who have years of experience. So this was a great opportunity for me to get in the midst of all of this.” The project involved challenges, and Mr. Mehairbi also noted, “It was difficult to absorb all of it at the time—I had to keep up, so it pushed me towards learning. Even if there were areas that didn’t interest me, I had to actually get into the details in order for me to understand what was happening. The team put together to

Sharing Excellence

lead the project were experts from the U.S., Europe, and East Asia, so all this knowledge put together gave me a really good opportunity to see how things are done in other parts of the world.” Mr. Mehairbi realizes that he and his team were fortunate as much of the land around Abu Dhabi was

undeveloped, allowing the team to start from scratch. “In other countries, where cities are already developed, they have an existing transportation system which brings difficulties trying to adjust to the past system, and the infrastructure that already exists,” he said. “In Abu Dhabi, we have so many new islands being developed at the moment, so there’s an opportunity to plan it all together. And to have these new developments built around transportation was something.” Trying to encourage people to understand public transport challenges and the need for plans to implement changes can seem overwhelming, and Mr. Mehairbi acknowledged that patience is an essential requirement in his line of work. “There are challenges convincing people about the necessity for public transport, because everything is focused on fast development, and people want to put their businesses first. For example, if we go to a developer and ask him to spare a piece of land to put a metro station in place, it takes them a lot of time to think about it, and sometimes they don’t agree to it. So you end up putting a station away from their development. They don’t see the benefits that having a public transport station at their doorstep would bring them, like the footfall and the fact their land value goes up once there’s a public transport station there.” Public reactions can also seem discouraging, said Mr. Mehairbi. “At exhibitions where we present our plans, people come up to us and say ‘this will never work’ and ‘people will not use it.’ You have to have patience and try to understand where they’re coming from. I am privileged to be involved in these projects, so I under-

stand the need for all these changes,” he explained. “Once we have this understanding in place, things will get easier. Mindsets are changing, but slowly. Any infrastructure difficulties we may face will be overcome once everyone believes in the need for public transport.” Of the many public transport plans Mr. Mehairbi has worked on within the past six years, his favorite is the LRT project (the tram). He hopes to see the tram up and running before the end of his career. “In some places, these projects take about 25 years just in planning. In this part of the world, things can happen at a much faster rate, so I would hope to see it actually get implemented,” he said. “We have 2030 as the tentative date, but it’s not set in stone. We’re still finalizing the preliminary engineering stage, and when that’s finished, we’ll have an exact picture of when we will see it completed.” As a result of this progressive project, “Abu Dhabi should be a more pleasant place to walk in, and the


Issue 2 - february 2015


Sharing Excellence



LRT will change the whole street scale. Whereas a metro is elevated or underground, totally separated from the urban eye, the thing with the LRT is that you interact with it personally. So that’s what I’m most excited about. It will change how downtown Abu Dhabi looks.” Mr. Mehairbi recently worked on the Walking and Cycling Master Plan, which is already being implemented in some parts of the city. One of which happens to be near his home, along the road leading to Emirates Palace (34th Street), recently named King Abdulla bin Abd Aziz Street. Mr. Mehairbi’s face lit up when explaining the new layout. “There are two cycle lanes on each side of the road, and there’s a bus lane colored in

Issue 2 - february 2015

red—the first bus lane in Abu Dhabi and the first DoT bike lanes,” he said. “Whenever I drive along there, I slow down my car, just to keep looking at them. It makes me feel so proud that we are making changes, and you can see it happening. This is the best part of my job: getting to see the impact of what we’re doing.” Nowadays, Mr. Mehairbi finds himself contemplating transportation issues even when he’s on holiday, as he is keen to learn how other countries have planned their cities. “Before joining the DoT, I travelled, but I never really thought about how people got from one place to another. Now, after being engaged in this field, I have started noticing every lit-

tle detail, even when I’m crossing the street,” he explained. “I notice the height of the curbs or if they’re flushed to allow wheelchair access, and whether they have tactile flooring for visually impaired people to be able to traverse freely. So you start noticing all these details and taking notes of them. Recently I was in Madrid and thought they have an extensive system there and an excellent metro. Singapore is always a good example too and is held up as a benchmark, as it’s such a well-integrated system.” When he is not traveling, Mr. Mehairbi finishes work between 5:00pm and 6:00pm on most days, but remains in his office— which he calls his “other room”—

Sharing Excellence

in the evenings to research for the EMBA (Executive Master of Business Administration) he’s currently pursuing from Zayed University. “It gives me the title of ‘workaholic’ amongst my friends—they keep calling me that! But if I didn’t enjoy my job, I wouldn’t commit myself so much to it,” he said. Mr. Mehairbi credits his strong work ethic to his mother’s influence, who raised three children alone after his father passed away when he was five. “She had a tough job working with Etisalat, and watching her as a kid was always inspiring,” he said. “She taught me to always push myself, no matter what. That’s what always makes me push myself now, even in tough circumstances.”


Issue 2 - february 2015




Public Transport Sector Abu Dhabi has experienced a remarkable transformation in transport infrastructure systems over the past five years. This rapid development has been fueled by the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 to develop a world-class transport system. Launched in 2007 under the visionary leadership of H.H Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vision 2030 marks a new era for government and public sectors in Abu Dhabi. One of the key pillars of this plan is to develop a premium transport infrastructure in Abu Dhabi to attract an increasing number of people, businesses, and investment to the city.

Issue 2 - february 2015

The arduous task of developing an international-standard transport system in the capital rests with the Department of Transport (DoT), with the support of key stakeholders from across Abu Dhabi’s public sector. The DoT’s vision is to deliver an effective transport system that contributes to the economic growth, quality of life, and environmental sustainability to the Emirate. The Department works with many governmental stakeholders to coordinate strategies, plans, and initiatives to meet the increasing demand for efficient public transport in the city.

EXPANSION OF MASS PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN ABU DHABI Since its inception in 2008, the Abu Dhabi DoT has focused on enhancing the quality and coverage of its bus services at all levels. At present, the DoT operates around 575 worldclass buses for more than 170,000 commuters within different regions of Abu Dhabi Emirate. The DoT’s Strategic Transportation Evaluation & Assessment Model (STEAM) estimates the demand for public transport in Abu Dhabi, and according to the data provided below, this is on the rise. The most im-

IN FOCUS portant statistic to note is the 24.4% increase in demand for cargo transport. In 2014, in response to growing requirements from commuters for bus services in the western and eastern regions, the DoT announced nine new routes to service these areas. Amongst other expansion plans, the DoT has also launched new highway interchange projects to upgrade the road network around the new airport terminal complex. The objective of these projects is to provide world-class sustainable and integrated transport infrastructure in accordance with the Abu Dhabi 2030 Vision and its Surface Transport Master Plan (STMP). Plans for an Abu Dhabi Metro Rail System as well as an LRT (light rail transit, better known as a tram) are in the pipeline and will aim to serve a substantial proportion of passengers and improve the interconnectivity of the public transport network. Once live, these systems are expected to help relieve traffic congestion on highway networks by providing optimal connectivity between Abu Dhabi Island, its suburbs, and communities such as Saadiyat Island, Yas Island, and Al Raha Beach.

use of public buses in Emirate, the DoT introduced a group of cards and passes at extremely affordable rates in November 2012 called the Ojra Bus Passes and have recently begun the installation of automated card systems in prime locations. More recently, the DoT has also introduced a free Park-and-Ride service for all commuters coming from areas off the island including other cities. The service, which has been running for just over a year now, encourages drivers to leave their cars at Zayed Sports City and catch a free shuttle bus to various parts of the city center. The buses, which are equipped with Wi-Fi, run every 15 to 20 minutes from 6am to 9pm, Sunday to Thursday. Surprisingly enough, this great free service is still highly underutilized. It looks like it will take some more time and effort to change people‘s perceptions about public transport and get people to see the benefits in this excellence public service.

INTRODUCTION OF OTHER PUBLIC TRANSPORT MODES The DoT has proposed an extensive plan to expand the public transport network using various other modes. The timeframe for the implementation of this plan spans the next five to ten years, and parallels the growth of public transport in the Emirate. Specifically, the DoT plans to develop rail, metro, and tram services that will connect inner areas of the region, as well as public taxies, to support ever growing transport demands. Finally, the DoT has completed a comprehensive water transport feasibility study in Abu Dhabi which includes the assessment of all aspects required for a modern water transport system. This is a viable alternative given the Emirate’s geographical setting and high degree of flexibility, and the system’s low operational costs in comparison to other transport modes, with an additional ad-

THE PUBLIC TRANSPORT NETWORK AT A GLANCE Abu Dhabi boasts an extensive bus network which has increased under the STMP; currently, low-income workers and tourists utilize public transport, but local residents rely primarily on private modes of transportation. Internationally, the currently accepted target, for public transport usage is around twenty percent, however, in the Middle East this is difficult to achieve due to the intense summer heat. Here, public transport usage comprises just nine percent of all travel, well below the international benchmark. As of the end of 2011, the Bus Office at the Department of Transport in Abu Dhabi operates around 650 buses on over 95 service routes within the different regions of Abu Dhabi. In an effort to further facilitate the


Snapshot from the Surface Transport Master Plan (2009): Diverse forms of transportation complement each other and allow greater regional access. The STMP has been subject to change as revised demand and planning data come available.

Issue 2 - february 2015


vantage of its appeal to tourists. Snapshot from the Surface Transport Master Plan (2009): Diverse forms of transportation complement each other and allow greater regional access. The STMP has been subject to change as revised demand and planning data come available.



Road congestion is a major problem in many Gulf cities, and Abu Dhabi is no exception. The availability of lowcost fuel in addition to the influx of foreign cars has led to a large num-

Issue 1 - JANUARY 2015

ber of private vehicles on the roads, resulting in overcrowding. Pollution, heat, blowing sand, and dust all pose a significant challenge to public transport use in the Gulf States. The flourishing tourism sector in Abu Dhabi has resulted in an increased demand for regional transport, although current public transport fleet and routes are effectively catering to these needs, they must expand further to meet anticipated future demands. The DoT has an exceptional role in meeting transport sector challenges to deliver an effective system that

contributes to the economic growth, quality of life, and environmental sustainability of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

TRANSPORT SECTOR IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVES To meet increasing demands, the DoT has undertaken a number of initiatives such as the STMP, a detailed strategic plan for roads, public transport, parking, and other transportation considerations to interlink various parts of Abu Dhabi through trams, rails, and buses. Projects to improve and expand the transport

IN FOCUS infrastructure in the region include the establishment of new routes connecting the Emirate’s Eastern and Western regions. This move will bolster economic development in the more isolated Western Region and improve mobility. In early 2014, at a cost of AED100 million the DoT has started introducing 360 air conditioned shelters throughout the city. An AED13-million project is also underway to install traffic signals to relieve congestion and allow drivers easier access to malls and other high-traffic areas. The upgrading of the road network around the new Airport Terminal Complex has already commenced in anticipation of increased flow. Additional to these projects, in 2014 the DoT also launched nine new services, and modified 26 existing services to

improve satisfaction among public transport users and attract additional business. The DoT also initiated its Pedestrian and Cycling Master Plan to create a safer and greener city by doubling the number of dedicated pedestrian and cycling paths by 2020. The plan also has provisions to promote and encourage healthier mobility options of walking and cycling by introducing shaded pathways, bikeshare services, and convenient parking stations close to public transport terminals. An efficient public transport system is a vital contribution to Abu Dhabi’s economy. Whilst expansion is necessary for the creation of a sustainable city, as detailed in the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, its implementation poses a considerable

challenge. Major effort is required to change existing perceptions and cultural barriers to using public transport. Citizens and residents must be encouraged to switch to public transportation through creative campaigns that demonstrate individual and community benefits, and planned in such a way that it saves travelers time and money, while offering comfort and convenience. Improvement and expansion of the public transport infrastructure, via careful planning will continue to provide jobs within the city, however, the key outcome is to support the sustainability directives of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. Government entities must continue to collaborate to make better public transportation a progressive reality.

ABU DHABI TRANSPORT HIGHLIGHTS Data obtained from the Department of Transport Sustainability Report 2013



95% of buses ran on time 49 new air conditioned shelters 214,746 customer transactions

28% Fewer Pedestrian Fatalities Reduction In Taxi Speeding Fines

CONGESTION RELIEF 53,000,000 Bus Passengers 115 Bus Routes In Operation



Aviation And Maritime Sector Fatalities


455 Buses During Peak Travel Times 99,809 Parking Spaces Operated By MAWAQIF

66,163,815 Taxi Passenger Trips



Taxis Converted to CNG, Hybrid, or Electric Vehicles

Buses Achieved Euro 4 Standards For Efficient Use Of Diesel Fuel

Issue 1 - JANUARY 2015



Yousef Mohamed Al Nabhabi Founder and CEO, Ta’aeen HR Training & Consulting


n Yousef Al Nabhabi’s desk there’s a framed photo of a rather fetching green Lamborghini; he smiles broadly as he tells me it’s not his car, but one that he hopes to own some day. The other item on his desk reveals more about his priorities; a book on leadership excellence. For this is an Emirati who is always striving to improve his skills, and inspire the young nationals he comes in contact with in his line of work. Yousef is CEO and founder of Ta’een, an HR consultancy which was established

Issue 2 - february 2015

to help provide UAE organisations with Emirati candidates, and to train Emiratis for better employment. His main obstacle is trying to persuade young Emirati graduates to work in the private sector, when the widely held perception is that conditions are better in government organisations. Emiratis comprise only 0.5 percent of the private-sector workforce, but 60 percent of the public sector. “In western countries, people in

most cases prefer to work in the private sector because they know there will be some kind of career path for them, or because there are too many rules and too much bureaucracy in the public sector”, says Yousef. “But here in the UAE, 99% of graduates want government jobs. Even if I tell them I have a position that offers the same money, or even more than they would get in the public sector, they will not agree to come.” Yousef does not however, blame


the young Emiratis for preferring public sector jobs. Government jobs offer attractive perks and less working hours—a normal workday, Yousef says, is between 7.30am and 2.30pm, with approximately 12 public holidays a year. “It’s a big challenge for private companies to try to compete”. “I tell young Emiratis: ‘If you’re a graduate and you can’t find your dream job, come and work for the private sector for a year or two. It might not be as much money as you wanted, but it’s a learning environment. Instead of being a fresh graduate with zero experience, you will learn to do things for yourself. Maybe you will love it, then you can go and open your own business as I did.’” Yousef started his degree in HR management in Boston, USA, but after the 9/11 incident he decided to return to the UAE where he completed his studies at the American University in Dubai. His first job title was recruitment clerk at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, where he swiftly worked himself up through the ranks. At that point, the government had started introducing Emiratisation policies to persuade private companies to employ Emirati staff, which would ensure that a percentage of

nationals worked in all sectors of the rapidly developing economy. Emiratisation was still the least of Yousef’s worries. “At that time, there was no pressure because almost everyone had a job. So to be honest, it wasn’t much of a concern for me. “ In June 2006 he was headhunted for the position of senior recruitment officer for National Bank of Abu Dhabi, after he was spotted at a conference where he delivered a speech on human resources. “They had 129 positions that needed to be filled before the end of the year. So I came up with the idea of holding a series of three open-interview days, to interview as many people as possible for the jobs. We advertised in the newspapers, and by the third day, we had closed up about 100 positions, even though some of those positions weren’t opening up until later in the year. I got awarded a prize and an appreciation certificate.” In his next role, as HR journalist for the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Yousef witnessed early signs of Emiratisation being enforced. “We had about 120 air traffic controllers from all around the world, whose job was to control the airspace of the UAE. To be an air traffic

controller, all you needed was to be medically fit, have gained at least 70% in high school science, good English skills, a good personality, and a passion for the field. So we started targeting Emirati high school graduates. We conducted assessments to find the best, and sent them abroad to study air traffic control. Hamdullah, ten years on, about 40% of the UAE’s air traffic controllers are now Emiratis.” Yousef was made head of recruitment at the GCAA, a role that brought him into regular cont act with Abu Dhabi’s recruitment agencies. “I faced some good recruitment agencies, but also some bad ones. So I was able to evaluate them. I kept hearing the same complaints—that people were struggling to find agencies who understood their needs.” By 2013, the unemployment rate for UAE nationals had risen to 40,000. The government’s goalposts were moved, and Emiratisation was set in full motion. H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, named 2013 the year of Emiratisation and announced objectives to double the number of Emiratis employed in the private sector. More recruitment companies were needed to help place Emiratis in the

Issue 2 - february 2015


Local Enterprise


workforce, and to equip them with the training their needs. That is when Yousef saw a gap in the market: “I got to the stage where I recognized that I would never get to drive my Lamborghini as an employee, on Dh40,000 a month, because the bank would not give me the loan. Only successful entrepreneurs can do this. So, in May 2013, I quit my job and set up Taa’een.” To establish his new business, Yousef could have requested a loan from the government’s Khalifa Fund, which assists Emiratis in starting up their own businesses. “But I didn’t want to do that. We are self-funded, and I squeezed myself to open my company because I really wanted to feel the pride of self-success.” “But the Khalifa Fund helps us in other ways—they open doors for us by writing letters recommending our services to companies. I am very grateful to them for that.” As well as employing his brother as the company’s PR Officer and five permanent staff, Yousef also relies on 15 to 25 freelance corporate trainers to teach the 20 training courses Taa’een is offering. The management and leadership skills courses are particularly popular.

Issue 2 - february 2015

“Organisations can’t always wait until they find the right Emirati. Let’s say you have a key position and you have to hire an Emirati, but you don’t have a suitable candidate. What you should do is take the Emirati you have in mind and fill in his skills gap to qualify him for the position.” “If you have a low performer, it doesn’t mean he is a bad employee. Maybe he just needs direction and he might then become one of the best employees. It’s about seeing the potential in people.” he explains. Yousef also realises the importance of nurturing talent in his own household: “I have four-year-old twin daughters, and I’ve just discovered that one of them is amazing at painting—I can’t paint like her. But she might lose interest if no one encourages her, and she will then lose that kind of talent. With the correct

advice, maybe she will be one of the best artists in the UAE.” “Emiratis need to find the right job to suit their personality and their passion. The mentality is changing. Before, it was ‘I’ll just get whatever job—the oil and gas sector pay a good salary so I’ll go there.’ But now they’re realizing there’s more competition. They have to work on themselves and develop professional certificates as well as their degree certificate.” As a successful young entrepreneur, Yousef hopes to inspire young Emiratis to challenge themselves in their professional lives. “Some people have money because of their father, but they’re not really happy. I know a guy who has millions. He has the best cars, a nice villa, a boat, and his own jet skis. But he doesn’t go out at all anymore. He says ‘Khalas, I’ve done everything. I don’t know what else to do now.’ “ “One day soon, I’ll be able to buy my Lamborghini. But money isn’t my priority. To be a successful person—that gives me a self-satisfaction that money can’t buy.” “And in my field, the sky’s the limit. Once I’m successful in Abu Dhabi Emirate, I’ll expand to the entire UAE.”

Local Enterprise

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.

Emirati Abroad


Abdulla Al Mazrouie

Issue 2 - february 2015

Renaissance Man

Emirati Abroad EARLY LIFE Abdulla Al Mazrouie identifies himself as a “citizen of the world”, and as his story unfolds, you’ll understand why. At the time Abdulla was ready to make his entrance into the world in 1984, his father was studying and living in Los Angeles with his wife. His mother travelled back to the UAE where she gave birth in the family’s hometown of Al Ain, then returned shortly thereafter. As Abdulla puts it, “as soon as my neck got a little stronger, they shipped me back to Los Angeles.” There he attended pre-school and learned English, which he identifies as his first language. Although he was very young at the time, Abdulla says he has many fond memories of his time in LA where he enjoyed his early childhood and made great friends, some of whom he is still in contact with today. Abdulla returned to Abu Dhabi at the age of six, where he was faced with the challenge of entering a public school system that, from his viewpoint at the time, seemed foreign. He says it was hard for him to adapt to the public school system, especially having to learn Arabic at that level. Four years later, and just when he began to get accustomed to his new life in Abu Dhabi, his family moved to Washington, D.C. where his father earned his master’s degree. During this two-year period, his father worked for the UAE embassy in Washington while Abdulla attended middle school. Once his father’s studies and mission were complete, the family moved to the United Kingdom where his father attended the University of Wales in pursuit of a PhD. The family lived there for two years before returning yet again to the U.S. for another three years. At the age of 17, in August 2001, Abdulla returned to Abu Dhabi to complete his high school studies just before the fateful September 11 terrorist attacks. That incident had a major impact on him as he realized that the U.S. he knew and had grown to love would never be the same, especially for Arabs. Funny as it may sound, Abdulla recalls feeling somewhat out of place

in his own homeland during the first few months after his return. “Abdulla Al Americani they used to call me. People would think I was an American or another Arab who watched too much American TV because of my American accent, style of dress, and attitude,” he says with a laugh. Although he adapted quickly and was able to make new friends easily, he found himself struggling to conform to the norms of the Emirati culture and society. “We have a beautiful culture. Emiratis are a kind, hospitable, and respectful people,” Abdulla says. “But I have experienced and immersed myself in so many different cultures in my life that I find it hard to fit into a particular stereotype or cultural image.” Abdulla graduated from high school in 2002, initially wanting to return to the U.S. to complete his post-secondary education, but deciding that with the economic and security issues present at the time, this would have to wait.

THE NEXT CHAPTER: JAPAN After graduation, Abdulla knew that his passion for experiencing new cultures and learning new languages meant that he had to set off on a new adventure. “I wanted to go to a place where I would have to start from zero; Japan popped into my mind right away. Since the U.S. was now out of the question, I decided to venture to the other side of the world. I had visited Japan previously and was very intrigued by the Japanese society and work ethic. So why not, I thought. Japan it is.” He adds, “Most people try to stay within their comfort zone. I have never been comfortable in a comfort zone. I wanted to learn a new language that was going to prove useful for me, my country, and for my life—something that was my choice and not taught in a standard curriculum.” Abdulla took a three-month Japanese language course in Abu Dhabi during which he visited Tokyo to assess the possibility of moving there. Abdulla moved to Tokyo two years after graduating to pursue a double major in digital media and political science with a focus on U.S., Middle

Eastern, Russian, and Chinese politics. He says that the 9/11 attack played a major role in his decision to pursue the academic path he selected, stating that he wanted to learn more about how media can affect people and how politics can play a large role in shaping the messages we receive from commercial media channels. He refers to the response that Western news coverage provoked after 9/11 as a kind of “mass psychosis” that created animosity and caused a huge division between Arabs and the rest of the world. He asks, “Why do all Arabs and Muslims have to answer for or be made to feel responsible for the actions of a few mad men? How are the narratives used by media channels designed? I want to know more about what is going on behind the scenes and to be able to critically analyze digital and traditional media.” Besides his core studies, Abdulla has had a passion for photography since he was 16 years old. He attended numerous courses and workshops over the years and has had the opportunity to showcase his work at galleries and exhibitions, something he describes in more detail over the course of the interview. During his time in Tokyo, Abdulla was able to learn the language and integrate into Japanese society fairly easily, as he has done so many times in the past in other countries. He soon made many new friends and was able to meet up with like-minded individuals through university and social gatherings. Today, he speaks Japanese fluently and is learning how to write the language. “Learning Japanese was a necessity for me. I knew that if I didn’t learn the language well, I wasn’t going to get very far there. In fact,” he says, “now I am more comfortable speaking in Japanese than in English. Sometimes speaking in English can actually be irritating, as I cannot express myself as well as I can in Japanese.” When asked what Abdulla thought of the Japanese people and culture, he says, “Once you open up to them, they open up back. They are very humble, respectful, and honorable people and these qualities make dai-

Issue 2 - february 2015


Emirati Abroad ly life in Japan much easier. You are not in conflict with people over insignificant issues. People have a strong sense of self-awareness and self-discipline and this keeps a natural sense of order in Japanese society. People work hard and service quality is a matter of honor.” Abdulla sums up his view of the orderly Japanese society by referring to a proverb commonly used in Japan: “The nail that sticks out gets hammered.” Abdulla’s first major opportunity to explore his creative talent came in the form of an idea to make a short film with a few new friends who shared his creative passion. With a target production budget of 80,000 USD, the team set out to get funding. They posted their project on Kickstarter.com, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects in film, art, theatre, games, design, and photography. “Our main goal was 80,000 USD, but we were able to raise 114,000 USD, a sum to be used primarily for visual effects.” Five years later, Abdulla’s baby is ready for the world to see. He describes this experience as one of his proudest accomplishments. With a small team, a relatively small budget, and a semi-professional Hollywood film crew, Abdulla was able to create something truly amazing. The short film held its first official


Issue 2 - february 2015

screening in Los Angeles in October 2014 and the trailer is now available online at www.dustthefilm.com. Abdulla and his team now hope to introduce “Dust” to other countries and international film festivals. Since the screening, he and his team have been approached by large multinational companies including Microsoft and media production companies including Fox Searchlight and Warner Brothers who would like to turn the short film into a full length feature and even a video game! It seems Abdulla is quite the busy fellow. Between juggling his film production ambitions and pursuing the master’s program in media and governance at a Tokyo university, he somehow still finds the time to fit in his commitments as an intern for the UAE Embassy in Tokyo. He says that serving his country in any way possible has always been one of his biggest priorities. Abdulla’s role with the UAE embassy involves creating and designing art galleries and exhibitions aimed at building and strengthening the “culture bridge” between the UAE and Japan. Three years ago, Abdulla was tasked with arranging an arts exhibition for the embassy in celebration of UAE National Day. The exhibition featured a “live painting” on a two-meter wall as well as various photographs of the

UAE taken by Abdulla while on one of his visits home. Ambassadors and diplomats from embassies across Japan attended the event which was seen as a great success. Another gallery that Abdulla was able to contribute to was at the Mori Building in Tokyo where all of the Arab embassies were invited to showcase their native art and culture. Abdulla says, “Even though we live in a globalized society, we are still generally quite ignorant about foreign cultures and traditions. Such events are a great opportunity to bridge gaps and improve cultural awareness among nations and people.” He says, “Art culture can always make a conversation more vibrant and is a great icebreaker that enables people from different backgrounds to connect.”

AFTER JAPAN? When asked what other projects are in the future, Abdulla responds, “My ten years of experience and learning in Japan has opened up a whole new horizon for me. Hamduli Allah, I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity to develop new skills and receive practical experience in a field I am very passionate about. With the support of the Abu Dhabi government, Insha Allah, I plan to bring our small production team to Abu Dhabi soon and feature our films at the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Film Festivals before going global.” He adds “If we can accomplish what we did, given the limited resources we had, imagine what we can create with the right tools and support.” Abdulla is very enthusiastic about coming home and building a world class film production studio equipped with state of the art technology and facilities. He says, “The art and media scene in the UAE has exploded since I have been gone. The UAE government provides great support to local media and production companies in its aim to create a world class media, arts, and culture hub and I want to be part of this promising new industry.”

International FZ-LLC Specializes in the design and construction of exhibition stands. Our team consists of diverse specialists who are able to cater to your marketing needs. the combination of standout’s creative departments, in-house designers, and state of the art production facilities allows us to handle all requirements from concept to delivery.

For Design Consultation, please contact us at: P.O. Box 487 151 Dubai, UAE T : +971 4 428 0779 / +971 4 428 0780 F : +971 4 429 3236 Email : info@standoutme.com www.standoutme.com

Idea Watch

the future is up5

I 46

F WE WERE TO COMBINE fact with humor, we could say that cloud computing seems to be taking over the world in the form of an operation called “project cloud.” An internet-based method of storing and processing data, cloud computing has become an intrinsic part of our daily lives. From texting and emails to annual reports and streaming video, we use the cloud in our everyday lives without even realizing it. The cloud is convenient and easy, but it is not without its risks. Neither an individual nor a business can afford to use the cloud without understanding both sides of this two-edged sword.

WHAT IS CLOUD COMPUTING? The term “cloud” is an artifact of network design drawings in which designers would draw the company’s resources—computers and their associated internal network components—reaching out to the computing resources in the remote

Issue 2 - february 2015

location to which their computers were connected. In between, they would draw a nebulous shape of a cloud. The cloud represented that part of the network connectivity that was managed by external entities, normally a large telephone service provider. So the cloud basically refers to the internet, and therefore is associated with the many facets of such an omnipotent medium. Cloud computing is simply a term to designate not only the computing infrastructure, but the process of sharing and storing content and data on the internet. Cloud computing is an alternative to on-site physical storage devices and expensive servers. From largescale super-computers and highspeed fiber optic communication lines to something as simple as a smart phone, cloud computing is the answer to data transmission, collection, and efficient processing to suit the modern needs of a world

constantly looking for ease of access to information. Cloud computing is now extremely common and the most preferred method of data storage and distribution as it provides an ease of access reminiscent of sci-fi novels. Cheap, yet fast and easily accessible through any portal that connects to the internet, it is the method of choice for the current technologically advancing world.

HOW DOES IT WORK? Cloud computing utilizes networks of servers to create an infrastructure of connected systems. In simple terms, one rents a server or servers for much less than the cost of purchasing. Connection to the cloud computing service is via internet, with transmission speed and bandwidth tailored to the requirements of the user. For example, if the company has to store large amounts of data, but without the need to rap-



A conglomerate of multiple clouds—private, community, or public. Used and internally hosted by a single organization and accessed through a private intranet.



Provides restricted communal access to the infrastructure. Used and internally hosted by a single organization and accessed through a private intranet.

idly access and process that data, the company can minimize data link costs by using a slower connection to large storage devices. Conversely, if the application requires real-time, constant, rapid access, but little data storage, redundant, high-speed links to a fast processor would be required, but the user would not have to pay for massive storage. Typically, with cloud computing, usage is monitored and data link speed, processor speed, and storage can all be easily reconfigured as user requirements change.

BENEFITS OF USING PROJECT CLOUD IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR The shift towards a cloud computing environment in the public sector means that the public can expect and enjoy a more agile service, one that makes dealing with government and associated entities easier, faster, and more convenient. From the public’s viewpoint, cloud computing can reduce the time spent accessing government services, and results in a lot less paper usage and reduces the cost of fuel and time that would otherwise be spent going to and from offices and waiting

for personal service. For the business entity, cloud computing can also provide lower labor costs, resulting from the reduction in the need for internal information technology support personnel, and lower capital and expense costs as computing hardware is no longer on site and the responsibility of the entity to maintain. Further, a shared pool of interconnected computing resources makes it easier for interdepartmental data sharing and more efficient resources usage. All good governments are incorporating software that provides more rapid software deployment and upgrades that also protect and support existing e-government applications without incurring further expenditure for hardware and hardware maintenance. From a public safety standpoint, computer operations will become more useful and cost-effective. For example, by synchronizing real-time data and applications, various modes of public transport can be linked to an automated system to warn of disasters and other emergencies so commuters may avoid them, and emergency workers can

Advantages of Cloud Computing • Increased workload without any negative impact on the performance quality of the system. • No need to install hardware or software on premises. • Lowers capital, and may lower expense costs as no proprietary servers and fewer IT maintenance personnel are needed. • Provides economies of scale for organizations with smaller ICT budgets. • No hardware or software maintenance costs. • Less or no time required for updating large scale data. • Speedy access to information. have better and faster access when needed. From the employee’s viewpoint, cloud computing can improve the workplace environment. With data and applications accessible from anyplace that is connected to the Internet, work may be performed from anywhere from multiple devices. A virtual work environment reduces the stress on public roads and can promote employee efficiency.

WHAT IS “PROJECT CLOUD” ALL ABOUT? “Project Cloud” is a progressive shift towards a more convenient and efficient way of storing and sharing resources. Large scale and high speed data collaboration becomes the norm on a global level. Faster access to a greater quantity of information is possible even as costs come down. Cloud computing architecture is broken into three service models that cater to the needs of different user groups and ways in which software and hardware interoperate. The organization that wants to proceed with a cloud computing solution needs to decide which of the service models is most appropriate to their needs.

Issue 2 - february 2015


Idea Watch SOFTWARE AS A SERVICE (SAAS) Software as a Service is the most comprehensive of cloud computing arrangements. The clearest example of SaaS is email. The computing hardware and network infrastructure are all part of the cloud; the end user has only a simple client connection to access the service. How the software and hardware operate is of no practical concern to the end user, and they have no authority to modify any part of the infrastructure except for narrowly-defined configuration settings that are allowed by the software package being used.

INFRASTRUCTURE AS A SERVICE (IAAS) Using Infrastructure as a Service, the end user is not concerned with the physical computing infrastructure, but still has control over the operating system and applications that run on it. In this case, the cloud provider simply provides and maintains the hardware for the end user, with the end user having virtually complete control over the software and data storage.



Platform as a Service is a middle ground between IaaS and SaaS. This service model allows the end user control over the applications and the host environment, but they do not have any control over the computing infrastructure—network, servers, the operating system, and storage devices. Using PaaS, the end user can deploy purchased (off the shelf) or proprietary software and work with them using tools and programming languages and utilities supported by the cloud provider.

CLOUD COMPUTING IN GOVERNMENT TODAY USA.GOV The United States’ official government website hosts a multitude of options and information regarding taxes, jobs, voting, and other topics of interest to the public. The site was hosted on multiple servers, requiring constant major and minor updates as laws and regulations changed. Providing up to date information and reli-

Issue 2 - february 2015

able access to the entire country was expensive and time consuming. Some updates would cost millions of dollars; the average time to implement an update was nine months. After transitioning to cloud computing, the time required to update the website has been drastically reduced from nine months to just one day. Along with that amazing time reduction, the cost of an update also decreased a whopping 72%. After transitioning to a cloud computing architecture, maintenance time has decreased substantially and the site now boasts a 99% uptime from a previous average of slightly more than 90%. As the data indicates, the shift to cloud computing has benefited the USA. gov website from every aspect, and is an example of technological progress to the rest of the word.

RISKS OF CLOUD COMPUTING LOCATION OF DATA The cloud, that nebulous place on an engineering drawing, is only a mental concept of course. The physical computers and storage

devices that handle your priceless information are physically located someplace. Because of the ease and speed of transferring data, computing resources can be virtually anywhere in the world. It is in the client’s best interest to know where, and to ensure that the location suits that client’s particular needs for security and accessibility.

SHARED DATA Data in transit, if not encrypted, is open to anyone with the knowledge of how to intercept it. Further, data stored on someone else’s computer or mass storage device is available to the provider. Contractual agreements maintain privacy, but many companies reserve their most sensitive data to their own internal computers and networks. Privacy should be high on the list of considerations when deciding on whether to transfer computing operations to the cloud.

SHARED ACCESS A cloud computing configuration can mean that the end user is sharing

Most Popular Cloud Applications • Gmail Email in general is a form of cloud computing, as it can be accessed from absolutely anywhere through the internet. What sets Gmail apart is that is provides its users with maximum free storage services through its Google Drive. Google Docs and G+ photo storage are just two examples of the cloud services Google offers, allowing collaboration on any type of data from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. • Dropbox Dropbox provides efficient cloud storage services, such as automatically synchronizing data from any connected device. • Evernote Evernote is an application that can be downloaded very easily. Evernote stores data ranging from tickets and notes to multivolume documents, spreadsheets, and audio-visual files. Access to data is easy because it is stored on the internet and thus is available from anywhere a user has connectivity.

Idea Watch physical hardware with other users. Should an attacker find a way to exploit a security weakness in another user’s environment, the attacker may have access to the data of other users on the same hardware platform, or even those using the same network.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY Further, if an end user is on the same physical platform as another user that finds itself in litigation, it is not unusual for that server to be seized during the length of the investigation, or even permanently. Depending on the cloud computing provider’s operational policies, this may or may not cause a disruption in service for all users of that hardware.

RECOVERY Backup and recovery—a common phrase that many people tend to forget. Even more important and worse, they tend to forget that the important part of that phrase is RECOVERY. If your organization is moving toward cloud computing, make sure you have a complete understanding of your provider’s backup, and more impor-

tantly, recovery procedures. Data loss can destroy a company. With modern backup and recovery methods, properly executed, that should never be a problem.

WHAT WAS OLD HAS BECOME NEW AGAIN We are in an evolution in computing that is nowhere near an end. Early computers were monstrous machines consuming entire rooms in only the largest and wealthiest organizations. As technology improved they became smaller and more powerful, but were still relegated to stand-alone existence connected to their human operators via terminals creating paper tape or cards for data entry; processed information was printed on large green bar paper. Fast forward to the development of a way to connect one computer to another via telephone lines. Now that small terminal in an office in one city could be connected to a massive computer in another, and a new business, the service bureau, was born. In effect, this was the start of cloud computing.

But with the ever smaller and even more powerful mini- and micro-computers, with improved interfaces for simpler operation, and just as importantly, without the availability of ubiquitous high-speed telecommunication service, computing moved back in-house. But a company’s Information Technology department is a cost center, and as such, it is under constant evaluation for cost reduction. With the development of the internet, high-speed communication lines circling the globe, and just as important, standardized communication protocols, it is again practical and cost effective to connect the human interface in your office with a computer in… Who knows where? Somewhere in The Cloud. Cloud computing can facilitate a large reduction in expense for data management, but it is not for everyone, nor is it necessarily appropriate for all of an organization’s data processing and storage requirements. The information provided in this article is a good starting point for evaluating whether cloud computing is appropriate for you.


Issue 2 - february 2015

Build Your Social Profile

Public Sector Usage of Facebook in Abu Dhabi


resent the personal and commercial use of Facebook. Its use by the public sector still remains highly restricted, and only a handful of public sector entities are using Facebook as a communication tool. Among the most active UAE governmental Facebook users are the Abu Dhabi Police and various federal entities as depicted in the infographic below: The Abu Dhabi eGovernment Gateway, Abu Dhabi Education Council, Statistics Center Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Municipality, and a several others have recently increased their Facebook presence as well. Notable upsurges in Facebook activity have resulted in success stories, such as the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s which reported a 106% increase in its Facebook fan following over the past two years. Similarly, the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council reported a 163% rise in their Facebook following. Despite Facebook’s usefulness and multi-functionality, many public and semi-government entities are still struggling to incorporate this medium as a tool for mass communication. However, with social media



5.2M active users Abu Dhabi

Issue 2 - february 2015

1,400,000 5,200,000 73% 73% 27% 27% 2,453,096 9,200,000 58.7% 56%

% 13

11 %

44 %

Total Facebook Users Male Female Population Facebook Penetration




The use of social media has taken over all other modes of communication over the past few years. Although the use of social media for commercial purposes has been excessive, the public sector has been relatively slow in its uptake of this medium. It is only recently that governments and public sector entities are beginning to see its scope and usefulness. With one of the highest mobile, internet, and social media penetration rates in the world, it is not surprising to note that the rate of usage for Facebook is increasing steadily in the UAE. According to statistics revealed by stats.ae, Facebook penetration rate in Abu Dhabi increased by 2.4% from December 2012 to May 2013, with total users increasing by 48.5%. The Emirate is reported to have the second largest contribution to the rise in total Facebook users in UAE for the same period, as shown in the figure below: Although the statistics are impressive, they mainly rep-

Build Your Social Profile penetration, numbers are continuously increasing, and with a strong support to adopt effective e-government strategies, we may soon see more public sector entities increase their Facebook activities.

HOW CAN THE ABU DHABI PUBLIC SECTOR USE FACEBOOK With the UAE Vision 2030 in place, the use of social media, particularly Facebook, can considerably help in realizing the goals set out in the vision and sharing this vision with citizens and residents. As infrastructure and economic development continue at a fast rate, it will be important to focus on enhancing government communication and e-participation to reach out and keep UAE residents informed and involved. Facebook in this regard can be used for various purposes: • Customer Engagement and Brand Loyalty: Public sector organizations can use Facebook to improve their customer engagement and build brand loyalty among citizens and residents. This can be achieved by posting useful, engaging content that appeals to their audience and improves their brand position and reputation. Organizations can also post special offers, promotions, and share news and events with their followers to keep them updated and informed on latest developments. • Crowd Sourcing: Facebook is a great platform for public sector organizations to solicit feedback and public opinion on a variety of subjects; including policies, government services, ideas and innovation, and much more. Crowdsourcing initiatives on Facebook can be used to better understand and analyze customer needs and sentiments, and gauge public opinion on important public agendas and policies, as well as generating and evaluating policies and services. • Recruitment: More and more companies are con-

ducting recruitment via Facebook. For example, Dubai Islamic Bank, and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank post job vacancies on their social media pages to attract candidates. Public sector entities can make similar use of their Facebook pages. Particularly, given the fact that the government is en route to generating more employment opportunities for Vision 2030 and the drive for Emiratisation, Facebook can prove to be a lucrative option for candidate search and recruitment. • Online Transactions: Many companies have been using Facebook for online transactions for a long time now; the tourism industry in particular, has utilized this to their advantage. Today, there are innumerable hotels and resorts that allow people to make online reservations via Facebook. Abu Dhabi, with its recent outlook of becoming an important tourist destination, can greatly benefit in the same way.

FACEBOOK IS NO LONGER OPTIONAL From humble beginnings in 2004 as a small application limited to Harvard University students, to today’s behemoth social networking application for virtually the entire planet, Facebook is the primary social networking site of adults and businesses. Creating a professional-looking site on Facebook and using its powerful networking platform is no longer optional for businesses or government entities that want to maintain a high profile brand reputation. With proper management, it is the perfect tool to advance an organization’s vision, mission, and goals for the public, not only locally, but throughout the world. Facebook is also where customers expect to find information concerning the activities and services provided by public or private enterprises. The power of Facebook to promote your business, no matter what that business is, whether for-profit, government, or NGO is virtually unlimited.

CASE STUDIES: GLOBAL GOVERNMENTS AND FACEBOOK PUBLICITY AND ¬RECRUITMENT TOOL: • The US Marine Corp: Well known for their creative publicity and recruitment campaigns, the US Marine Corp’s Facebook page is the second most “liked” government Facebook page in the world. With 2,899,329 likes, this page is updated daily with news, pictures, and videos that attract millions of Americans to their page every day.

Issue 2 - february 2015


Build Your Social Profile AS A POLITICAL FORUM: • The US Republican Party are particularly avid advocates and users of social media in the government. Their initiatives like the YouCut, where the public can discuss and vote on ways of reducing national debt, demonstrate the wide uses to which social media can be put. Similarly, Facebook has long been used in the US as a platform for political campaigns and debates; it was used extensively during the Obama Campaign. With almost 2 million likes, this page keeps Republican Party members constantly informed, engaged, and involved in shaping the Republican Party’s policies and political campaigns. • The Russian Parliament has actively used Facebook as a forum for discussions and debates. Since its launch in Russia in 2010, Facebook users have grown more than 370%, which highlights its impressive use by public entities.

FOR INFORMATION AND FEEDBACK: • The White House: With close to 3 million followers, the U.S White House’s Facebook page is the most “liked” government page on Facebook. The page is administered by a number of members who share the burden of keeping Americans and others informed about all the key activities happening in and around the White House including presidential news and updates, public policy news, and well as various non-related social updates via article posts, videos, and pictures on a daily basis.

52 • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) runs its page on Facebook that allows people to view, comment, and discuss latest NASA policies and projects. It is something that many governments shy away from doing, but it shows the confidence public sector entities are gaining in social media. Another interesting example is how the new Facebook Timeline is being used by NASA. They’ve structured it so that you can view footage from the relevant year by selecting it on the timeline with the page including content dating back to NASA’s opening in 1958.

Issue 2 - february 2015

Most Liked Abu Dhabi Government Pages Build Your Social Profile

Page Name

Total Fans


Etihad Abu Dhabi Police Abu Dhabi Media Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority Abu Dhabi Ports Company SEHA

285,108 122,479 32,551 26,839 19,331 15,945


Emirates Youth Foundation Health Authority Abu Dhabi

15,928 15,787

Abu Dhabi Statistics


Abu Dhabi Education Council


POWERED BY- Kantar Media Fisheye

off topic

Abu Dhabi Traditional Markets (Souks) ABU DHABI TRADITIONAL MARKETS (SOUKS) Mina Markets:

Location: Mina Street – Al Mina – Abu Dhabi The Fish Souk at Mina Zayed offers quite a contrast to the professional, modern way of business in Abu Dhabi. Sharpen your bargaining skills by haggling with vendors who scale, clean, and fillet your fresh fish with master cutting and negotiating skills.

Abu Dhabi’s Most Popular Traditional and Local Heritage Events and Spots Souk Al Bawadi and Souk Al Qaws


Location: Near Bawadi Mall – Al Ain, Abu Dhabi Both are attached to the Bawadi Mall in Al Ain; Souk Al Qaws is set in uniquely, beautifully designed architecture, and offers quite a contrast to the Souk Al Bawadi’s heritage style. While Souk Al Qaws houses banks, travel agents, and over 40 service outlets, Souk Al Bawadi is known for its traditional items and souvenir shops.

Souk Al Zafarana Location: Zayed Al Awwal Street, Al Jimi – Al Ain – Abu Dhab The souk is the new home of Al Ain’s old souk and has become the one stop venue for traditional shopping in Al Ain. This could just be the best place in Abu Dhabi to explore true Emirati culture and tradition. The Souk also features the famous Mubdia Village which is completely staffed by female shopkeepers.

Issue 2 - february 2015

Walk across the road to the Al Mina Fruit & Vegetable Souk which is filled with an array of colorful produce neatly arranged outside stalls. With options to buy by the kilo or box, this is a great place to ‘get your money’s worth’ and experience a traditional souk experience. The Carpet Souk near Mina Road has a selection of shops that sell Yemeni mattresses, machine and handmade carpets, as well as Arabic majlis-style cushions.

Souk Qaryat al Beri Location: Al Maqta Area (Between the two Bridges) – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates Although a modern venue equipped with franchise restaurants and cafes, Qaryat Al Beri does offer visitors a modern “Souk” feel, with galleries and shops displaying traditional Emarati handicrafts and perfumes, cosmetics, bakhoor, clothes, and other objects d’art.

off topic


AL GHARBIA WATERSPORTS FESTIVALS www.algharbiafestivals.com/watersports/ Location: Mirfa Beach, Mirfa, Western Region, Abu Dhabi

When: April 24 – May 03 Approximately 70 minutes by car from Abu Dhabi, Al Ghariba is the home to an exceptional annual watersport event. With options for all age groups, the Al Gharbia WaterSports Festival is an opportunity to watch high-paced watersport events, or try out any one of the activities available, such as kiteboarding, kayaking, or sailing for an adrenaline rush! The festival also

features traditional and modern rowing/ boat races as well as a Kids Village which includes heritage activities, competitions, and workshops to entertain the young ones. The traditional souk on site is quite a contrast to the high paced event by generating a sense of culture in a calm setup. You can view local artisans creating traditional handicrafts and perhaps pick up some unique items and/or souvenirs.

Liwa Date Festival www.algharbiafestivals.ae/ July 17 – July 26 Where: Liwa, Al Gharbia, Abu Dhabi In celebration of the UAE’s favorite fruit, hundreds of local farmers gather annually at the Liwa Date Festival to showcase the prized fruits of their labor—freshly cut dates from local palm trees. 220 prizes worth AED6 million are awarded in competitions for a variety of dates each day of the event. Judges score the dates based on color, size, shape, texture, and ultimately, taste.

Issue 2 - february 2015


off topic

international festival of falconry www.falconryfestival.ae/ TBA Location: Al Forsan International Sports Resort, Abu Dhabi Event Synopsis: 800 Falconers – 80 Countries – 50 Conference Speakers – 51 Exhibitors and Performers – 19 Falcon Trainers – 45 Painters – 47 Photographers – 30 International Journalists - All colors and cultures of the world united in their love of falconry. Check out the unique and well preserved UAE tradition of falconry in the next International Festival of Falconry hosted by Abu Dhabi.


Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) 56

Location: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Sep 10 – Sep 13 This annual Abu Dhabi event is a key International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition. With an expected footfall of 100,000, the exhibition will showcase camel auctions, falcon saluki beauty contests, as well as various cultural and traditional performances. The event is also an opportunity for visitors to view the latest products from Falconry, Equestrian, Outdoor Sports, Firearms and Firearm Components, Ammunition and Reloading, Fishing, Archery, Shooting Sports and Hunting Gear, Surveillance Devices, Safety Accessories, Clothing and Accessories, Knives and Tools, Hunting Tourism, Industry Information and Other Services, Artistic Items etc. from the Sporting Goods and Toys and Games industries.

Issue 2 - february 2015

off topic

contests / festivals Falcon Beauty Contest

www.adihex.com/en/ competitions/ Location: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Sep 10 – Sep 13 The previous ADIHEX events have enjoyed resounding success, with the Falcon Beauty Contest drawing Emiratis in large numbers. An inspiration for traditional music, poetry, dance, and culture in The UAE and 80 other countries, falconry has been named a Living Human Heritage by the UN Heritage body. A distinctive world event, it is dedicated to the Arabian tradition that was once a significant part of hunting for food. Falcons are judged by breed as well as other criteria.


Saluki Beauty Contest www.adihex.net/en/competitions/ SalukiCompetition/ Location: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Sep 10 – Sep 13 Saluki hounds are an important part of the Emirati lifestyle; in combination with falcons, salukis were also a valuable part of everyday life in Arabian history. The saluki beauty contest is an opportunity for all proud owners to put their hounds on display at this international show. In addition to beauty, the salukis are also judged for their predominant purpose and mental condition.

Issue 2 - february 2015

off topic

Qasr al Hosn Festival www.qasralhosnfestival.ae Location: Qasr Al Hosn Fort Feb – March Interactive activities, various events, demonstrations, workshops, exhibitions, and live entertainment shows bring the oldest building in Abu Dhabi to life during the event. The festival offers an opportunity for visitors to walk through Abu Dhabi’s history and understand the key dynamics in the lifestyle of Abu Dhabi

The Al Dhafra Festival www.aldhafrafestival.ae/ Location: Madinat Zayed, Al Ghariba Dec 20 – Jan 1 The Al Dhafra Festival is dedicated to the ship of the desert. Traditionally camels have played an important part in the Arab culture; and this is the only camel beauty contest in the world. The festival features Asayel and Majahim camel shows, a traditional souk, a camel auction, and contests for traditional handicrafts, poetry, and photography.


The Al Ain Traditional Handicrafts Festival www.tcaabudhabi.ae/en/events/Pages/event-detail/nationaltraditional-handicrafts-festival.aspx Location: Souq al Qattara, Al Ain Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from October to May, UAE arts and crafts are displayed at the annual Al Ain Traditional Handicrafts Festival organized by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. A traditional crafts souk will also be at the center stage of the event. In addition to displaying the tradition and culture, the festival also aims to preserve, revive, and transfer the skills to the next generation. The festival will hold a kids Al Yola dance, traditional dishes, and craftsmanship competitions along with Al Harbiyah, Al Ayyalah, Rebaba music, Al Shillah, and Al Yola performances for the attendees.

Issue 2 - february 2015

off topic

Profile for PSEMagazine

Issue 2: Public Sector Excellence UAE  

In this issue, we explore the current and future state of Abu Dhabi's public transport system and take a look at some of the best public tra...

Issue 2: Public Sector Excellence UAE  

In this issue, we explore the current and future state of Abu Dhabi's public transport system and take a look at some of the best public tra...