Dubai Customs has crowned its rich program of activities for this year’s inaugural UAE Innovation Week with an exciting and inimitable event, never seen at the level of local Customs administrations.
Under the effective patronage of H.E. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, Dubai Customs today Tuesday 24 November 2015 rolled out its First Government Innovation Lab – Passenger Operations under the theme “We Innovate to Make You Happy”.
The mega brainstorming event was declared open by H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director of Dubai Customs, at Dubai’s iconic Burj Al-Arab hotel, in presence of eminent government and public figures, including Mohammed Juma Nasser Boussaiba, Director General of Federal Customs Authorit, and Major General Pilot Ahmed Bin Thani, Assistant Commander for Seaports and Airports at Dubai Police, as well as around 100 government officials and professionals from various fields.
The first edition of the Innovation Lab, organized by DC Passenger Operations Department, was dedicated to generating fresh ideas and innovative initiatives with the ultimate aim of “making people happier” by boosting Customs service at Dubai airports to further enhance passenger experience. The laboratory agenda consisted of three main brainstorming themes: “Community Happiness”, “Customer Happiness”, and “Employee Happiness”.
H.E. Sultan bin Sulayem, chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said: “The UAE Innovation Week initiative is an opportunity for us to interact with a treasure of ideas from the public, experts and top officials to achieve a quantum leap in the level of service delivered to our customers, our staff and our community. We pledge the wise leadership to continue working hard to turn the initiatives presented over this remarkable innovation week into tangible realities.”
In his opening address, H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih welcomed participants at the first government innovation lab. He said that Dubai Customs wanted this extraordinary event to be a true catalyst for enhancing the culture of innovation and creativity in our community and stimulating initiatives instrumental in building the UAE’s leading experience in the region.
“The UAE Innovation Week is the cherry on top of the pioneering initiatives that were launched during the Year of Innovation. Since the cabinet declared 2015 as the Year of Innovation, following the directives of UAE President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, national initiatives that spark innovation across the society came pouring out,” said H.E. Musabih.
He added that “The UAE Innovation Week, launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, offered the perfect opportunity for ministries, government departments as well as the private sector to interact with creative minds in our society to realise the goal set by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed to “achieve a qualitative shift in the culture of innovation in all organizations and sectors in the UAE.”
“Dubai Customs is today proud to launch the First Government Innovation Lab, which culminates long weeks of preparation to mark an active participation at the UAE Innovation Week through a rich array of events. It gives us great pleasure to have on-board leading professionals from government and private sectors at the first edition of the Innovation Lab, which is dedicated to generating innovative ideas that will improve customs services being delivered to passengers at Dubai airports. The theme of this Innovation Lab, “We innovate … to make you happy” is very much in line with the leadership’s perspective of the government work’s core objective which is to serve people’s happiness.”
The United Arab Emirates, he said, “Has become a role model for others regionally and internationally in maintaining sustainable economic development, thanks to the breakthroughs seen in all sectors in the past few decades. “We have secured diversification of our national income structure, with a special emphasis on boosting non-oil sectors. Travel & tourism and foreign trade are major drivers of the economic performance in the UAE in general and Dubai in particular.”
H.E. Musabih pointed out that “Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade had scored AED 1.331 trillion in 2014, and AED 652 billion in the first half of 2015.” “The prosperity of travel & tourism sector represents one of the major aspects of Dubai’s success. Tourists flocking to Dubai in 2015 are expected to reach 14.4 million, while passenger traffic going through Dubai International Airport is predicted to amount to 80 million. Air freight capacity passing through DXB increased to 1.853 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2015,” he explained.
“These milestones and breakthroughs serve as a springboard for the upcoming development stage, which will equip us to turn challenges into achievements, as we learned from H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; hence placing the UAE among the top 10 most innovative countries, currently led by Switzerland,” he added.
He said that “Growth prospects are promising in light of Dubai Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to attract 20 million visitors to Dubai by 2020, with Expo Dubai projected to attract more than 25 million visitors. By 2020, traffic demand for Dubai airports is expected to reach over 120 million passengers and more than five million tonnes of air freight. Passenger demand is forecasted to exceed 190 million passengers a year by 2030. This is expected to climb to over 260 million by 2040 and as high as 309 million by 2050.”
H.E. Musabih believed that following conventional business capacity-building methods will not be sufficient for Dubai Customs to meet future growth demands in the travel & tourism and foreign trade sectors few years from now. “Thus, creative ideas and innovative applications assume much higher importance in developing processes and procedures for travellers in upcoming times, so we can contribute effectively in realizing the economic and security themes of Dubai Plan 2021. We are better utilizing latest smart applications to perform our duties efficiently in facilitating the flow of both people and goods, as we strive to keep up with Smart Dubai objectives.”
H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih concluded his remarks, saying: “We at Dubai Customs look forward to spreading innovative thinking in our line of work, in coordination and cooperation with strategic partners from the government, supply chain and the community at large. We would like to see Dubai Customs’ First Government Innovation Lab offering a whole new level of brainstorming fresh ideas and innovations to help us deliver better passenger experience at Dubai airports. Participants’ ideas and suggestions will contribute to developing our Customs processes to ensure Dubai’s leadership in sustainable economic growth regionally and globally.”
Ahmad Abdullah Bin Lahej, Director of Passenger Operations Department at DC, said: “We devote our utmost efforts to offer the best customs services in Dubai airports. We hope the initiatives that will come out through this First Government Innovation Lab will contribute to achieving a quantum leap in the level of our services. We aim to crown DC’s participation in the UAE Innovation Week with a new breakthrough that will add up to the great legacy of achievements Dubai has made in developing tourism, aviation, travel, and foreign trade. We look forward to further promoting Dubai’s global competitiveness and ability to progress towards leadership positions in these realms.”
He was very satisfied at the level of attendees and the constructive partnership between Dubai Customs and major stakeholders aiming to meet national goals of increasing competitiveness across the board.
The sessions of DC’s First Innovation Lab witnessed intensive dialogues among participants through interactive workshops to present and exchange new ideas and initiatives to enhance customs services offered to passengers. The lab generated more than 300 new ideas and initiatives in three happiness sections: customers, community and employees; the goal being to deliver the best level of customs services to passengers in Dubai airports. boost the wellbeing of the people. A total of 9 creative initiatives were presented for the purpose of making customers happier.
In DC’s eager endeavours to ensure “Community Happiness”, as many as 12 initiatives were deliberated and produced at the lab, while in the area of “Staff Happiness”, 30 innovative initiatives were introduced.
In addition to the ideas and initiatives brought up by participants in the lab, scores of other ideas and suggestions had been received from the public in the three themes through the media campaign that was conducted before and in parallel with the lab, The campaign ran through social media as well as via face-to-face interviews with passengers and airport employees. The collected ideas were therefore brought to discussion at the lab, and 3 participants were recognized and awarded valuable prizes after drawing their names by lot in the lab closing session.
HE Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director of Dubai Customs, emphasized that DC would keep up the diligent effort, initiatives, and commitment to innovation to achieve full customer satisfaction. He highlighted the organization’s keenness to create an innovative work environment that cements the economic structure of Dubai through striking a perfect balance between protection and facilitation of legitimate trade.