Innovation- A Way Of Life In UAE

Innovation has long been recognized by UAE as most instrumental in socio-economic development and the nation officially embarked on its innovation journey in 2014 with the launch of the National Innovation Strategy by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai to make the UAE one of the most innovative nations in the world. Since then, the country has accomplished several notable achievements in the field of innovation encompassing all areas of life. In 2018, the UAE approved an updated National Innovation Strategy named National Strategy for Advanced Innovation focusing on seven main areas namely exploration, future skills, quality of health, living and life, green power, transport and harnessing technology to serve humankind.

UAE National Innovation Strategy defines innovation “as the aspiration of individuals, private institutions and governments to achieve development by generating creative ideas and introducing new products, services and operations that improve the overall quality of life.”

The biggest thrusts were put into developing the education systems and enhancing the usage of computers and other smart devices in schools and colleges. Many new electronic education establishments have been set up and several technological research institutes were established for boosting innovation including Dubai Science Park, Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academy of Scientists, Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, Arab Institution for Science and Technology in Sharjah, Technology and Innovation Centre in Ras Al Khaimah and the Mohamed bin Zayed Artificial Intelligence University. All over these years, the country has continually strengthened its innovative capabilities and created an infrastructure most conducive for new generation innovative minds.

The innovation policy of UAE centres around the human capital and prioritizes investments in enhancing the scientific and technical knowledge of its citizens and developing research facilities in 3D Printing, AI, ML, NLP, AR, IoT, nuclear power, space science, renewable energy, genomics and many such innovative fields. UAE has made innovation a way of life for accomplishing sustainable social and economic development, increasing competitiveness and creating new employment opportunities. The country has adopted eMOA and eAOA systems during the business registration and licensing process and made business setup in Dubai UAE easier and more convenient.

State of innovation in UAE the global perspective

In the Arab World, UAE has been the flag bearer of innovation that always believed in a knowledge-based economy by developing the systems of innovation. INSEAD, a leading European business school ranked UAE as the most innovative nation in the Middle East in light of its modern technological infrastructure, available research facilities and high-quality education system.

Dubai leads UAE in the country’s innovation journey and stood 20th globally in the Dubai Innovation Index released on 24th November 2021. The index surveyed 39 cities and ranked the emirate on top of many global cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Sao Paulo and scored highly in the areas of governance, funding, infrastructure, business environment and society. Now considered as a global innovation hub, foreigners are increasingly lured for Dubai company incorporation as the recent survey unfolds and highlights its ability to support innovation-led development and provide a robust regulatory and legislative framework.

Dubai topped in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) as investors flock for doing business in Dubai.  It is also the frontrunner in technology transfer in Robotics and AI. Innovation is high on the emirate’s agenda and is establishing an experimental testbed for live testing in Hyperloop technologies and flying manned transport.

The UAE also ranked 33rd globally and 1st regionally in the Global Innovation Index 2021 and moved ahead of many technologically advanced countries.

Business and Innovation In UAE- Recent Milestones and Events

Hitech Test Lab Facilities

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, UAE started utilizing innovative technologies to address the challenges and successfully ensure business continuity in core economic sectors. The country relentlessly focused upon the highest standards of safety for its citizens through cutting edge technologies at its disposal.

Science, technology and innovation came to the rescue and UAE established one of the largest coronavirus testing laboratories for genome sequencing of viruses. The country also set up several world-class testing centres to effectively counter the health menace and keep businesses running.

Revised and Shorter Working Week

After carrying out deep feasibility studies and benchmarking, the UAE government has introduced a shorter working week of four and a half days, with the weekend running from Friday afternoon to Sunday. The new working week has come in force from 1 January 2022 for public sector employees and school students. The new four and half days working week Monday to Friday will help the businesses to align with global markets and improve productivity.

Industrial Strategy – Operation 300bn

Operation 300bn focuses on promoting the UAE’s industrial sector and enhancing its role to boost the country’s economy. Increased contribution of industries to the nation’s GDP from AED 133 billion to AED 300 billion by 2031 is the primary objective of this strategy and is aligned with international commitments and UAE’ long term objectives. AED 300 billion budget allocation for five years till 2026 is designed for deploying clean energy solutions, driving industrial innovation, promoting responsible consumption and production and accelerating sustainable economic growth.

Projects of The 50

The ‘Projects of the 50’ comprises several developmental and economic projects that focus on promoting UAE’s development to transform the country into a comprehensive hub for all sectors and establish its status as an ideal destination for talents and investors. It includes several key sectors such as advanced skills and technologies, entrepreneurship, digital economy and space.

UAE Innovates Award 2022

Originally announced in 2016, ‘UAE Innovates’ is one of the world’s largest innovation festivals in Dubai. The UAE Innovates Award was introduced in 2021 February and the 2022 edition is set to be launched on February 3rd, 2022.  Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation (MBRCGI) is organizing this event and it will run parallel to Expo 2020 where interactive live sessions and workshops will be conducted from February 11 to 16 to educate and appraise the Expo visitors on the innovation drive of UAE.

UAE Innovates supports the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy and focuses on enhancing its position as one of the most innovative countries in the world by developing innovative ideas and capabilities, through a series of events and a prestigious awards programme for creative organisations and individuals.

World Future Energy Summit 2022

The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) is a leading annual global event and aims to accelerate sustainability and the global transition to clean energy. It is a powerful sales platform and connects world manufacturers and suppliers in future energy, cleantech and sustainability. It also acts as a global hub for business, innovation and knowledge exchange.

WFES 2022 was held in Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from 17 to 19 January 2022 and organized 7 country pavilions including Japan, Germany, China, Italy, Korea, France, and Switzerland.

The event promotes innovative technologies in the renewable energy field and addresses climate change challenges. It included Waste management technologies and automation, Smart Cities, Solar and Clean Energy, Water Technology, conversion of CO2 to energy and digital technology adoption to improve efficiencies of solar energy facilities.

Innovation in UAE- Industry-Specific Events

Banking and Finance

One of the leading banks in the UAE, the Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) opened its Digital Lab at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Innovation Hub, the largest innovation ecosystem in the banking sector. The digital lab is an R&D facility and will serve as a collaborative ecosystem for integrating FinTech start-ups and financial institutions.


UAE’s Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology plans to boost digital capabilities to keep pace with the Fourth Industrial Revolution and many companies such as Adnoc, Edge, Honeywell, Microsoft and Siemens will support this movement by providing technological know-how to thousands of local companies.

It announced Industry 4 announced in October 2021 to increase productivity and develop innovative products. Enhanced digital capabilities will increase manufacturing output by 30 per cent and add AED 25 billion to the country’s economy by 2031.

Real Estate

The real estate sector plays a vital role in the economy of UAE and the country has embraced Proptech to transform property operations and nation-building construction activities. UAE has adopted smart building practices and data-led software tools across the entire gamut of property operations and facilities management to improve productivity, profitability and sustainability. Dubai, the smart city emphasizes smart buildings with data-driven operations through a software platform.

As UAE Federal Decree-Law on Electronic Transactions and Trust Services is now rolled out, two reputed real estate businesses namely Majid Al Futtaim Properties and Aldar Properties are working jointly to establish online sales systems and implement digital sales platforms to unlock online businesses opportunities on the back of new legislation.


The transportation and logistics sector in UAE is one of the main areas of smart technology applications for establishing a seamless connection between the digital and the physical world and ensuring a transparent and visible supply chain. E-commerce, last-mile delivery and autonomous transport systems have undergone tremendous transformation due to extensive usage of AI, AR, Big Data and IoT in recent times.

Innovation in Logistics & Transportation Summit was held on September 14, 2021, at V hotel Dubai where world leaders from the logistics, transportation and technology sectors assembled to explore future innovation roadmap for optimising consumer experience and evaluating environmental impacts. Integrating drones into supply chains and transportation networks was one of the main topics of brainstorming during this summit.


Dubai Tourism Innovation Hub was opened in Dubai Media City by Accenture as the first innovation hub in the MENA region. This is a digitally mediated and artificially created virtual reality platform to engage tourism enthusiasts through demos and interactive sessions. Smart innovative solutions can be developed through digital technologies including ER, AI, IoT that can help transform businesses in the tourism sector.

The Takeaway

The UAE government adopted more than 20 tech innovations across various departments and ministries, reported Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation (MBRCGI). Main innovations include FEDLIMS, UAE PASS, DED BLOCKCHAIN INITIATIVE, CRIME MAPPING, DONATION CARDS, DISTRIBUTED ACOUSTIC TECH, HR PULSE, HIVE and many more. UAE is pursuing the most active role amongst the GCC nations in the era of digitalization and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As data has become one of the most important features of the digital era, the country is gradually shifting its focus on understanding, analysis and deployment of data for governance and decision making and transforming the country towards a knowledge economy. The launching of the Fourth Industrial Revolution Strategy, the National Innovation Strategy, and other national plans are living testimonials of the country’s ever-growing commitment to innovation and technology for alleviating challenges and increasing the happiness of its citizens.