James Piecowye thinking out loud

Ideas, inspiration and a bit of random.

A Dubai State of Mind

Posted on | May 21, 2011 | No Comments

I have lived in Dubai for 11 years and I have seen many changes.

There has been exceptional growth and there has been an exceptional reset.

But there is no question in my mind that Dubai is a very interesting case study of success.

Of course the term success is open to many different definitions.

And of course there are imperfections, blemishes, with any success story.

But when I sit down and look at Dubai I still marvel at the change that has taken place and the ability of the public policy process to very quickly adapt and change with the evolving circumstances.

It was interesting to sit down and have a conversation with Mark Beer the Registrar of DIFC courts and the former Chairman of the British Dusiness Group.

It was interesting to hear Mark’s take on the success of Dubai as a brand and as an idea.

What I found particularly interesting, in my conversation with Mark Beer, was the idea that Dubai really needs to embrace the knowledge economy.

Yes there are free zones dedicated to ideas and yes there are many government and private universities in Dubai, but does that equate to an investment in an knowledge economy?

And if a knowledge economy is to be successful, in the long-term, it is going to have to be locally anchored.

But the question of local is problematic in a country with 80% of the population originating from elsewhere.

It is my feeling that if the knowledge economy is to be championed definition of local has to be expanded to include those expatriate that are here as well.

If you are working on ideas for Dubai but are the citizen of Canada, in my case, my ideas are local to Dubai not Canada.

Yet there are segments of society that would suggest my ideas are not local even thought they are fueled by the local experience.

Mark and I had an interesting discussion that I think frames Dubai in a different light to that we are becoming accustom to reading about in the broadsheets.

And the idea of the knowledge economy is particularly interesting.



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