Mar 21 2017
The Happiness Impact: Dubai's Journey

Palladium and Smart Dubai Office co-publish a case study on Dubai’s journey towards becoming the happiest city on earth.

With the exponential increase of connectivity and unprecedented availability of data, the world is getting smarter. Collectives of individuals sharing similar interests – and demands - are getting smarter. Consequently, cities are getting smarter. It is no longer enough to promise safe roads and clean parks. Governments must now be able to deal with immense amounts of raw data produced every second, extract trends and conclusions, and empower decision-makers to react properly and promptly. All this is needed to better allocate resources deliver public services. A smart city is only truly smart if it anticipates urban challenges and continuously improves the quality of life for its citizens, regardless of temporary – and often challenging – political ideologies and agendas. Ultimately, it’s smart if it makes those who live and interact within its boundaries… happy.

But amongst all the so called “smart cities”, one has set itself the target of rising above the rest when it comes to generation of public wellbeing: Dubai. Palladium has joined forces with the Smart Dubai Office (the Dubai Government entity mandated to lead the city’s smart transformation) to explore the key lessons from Dubai’s journey towards becoming the happiest city on earth.

With a team of professionals led by Her Excellency Dr. Aisha Butti Bin Bishr (Director General of the Smart Dubai Office), the Smart Dubai initiative is a great example of how the use of technology and coalitions involving the public and private sectors and broader society can have a significant impact on the happiness of the population. Since the program was launched back in 2014, Dubai has witnessed exceptional growth in the availability and quality of digital services, contributing to more efficient and improved city experiences for the government, private sector and individuals. By focusing the city’s unified effort towards its most valued asset – its people – Smart Dubai plays a pivotal role in guiding and enabling the city’s ongoing digital transformation to generate measurable Positive Impact on the happiness of Dubai’s citizens and visitors.

Palladium’s Country Director for the United Arab Emirates and co-author of the case study, Aldo Labaki, is clear that multi-stakeholder partnerships enabled by technology are reshaping the relationship between governments and the society:

“The case shows that Dubai clearly understood the need for establishing a new way of thinking about the creation of social, economic and environmental value. By embedding the generation of Positive Impact at the heart of their city transformation strategy, Dubai’s case can be extremely useful to other governments interested in exploring how technology and cross-sector partnerships can help them increase the value delivered to their citizens. It is also a great “real life” example of the different practices identified by our global research on organisations focused on delivering enduring Positive Impact”.

For more information on Dubai’s smart transformation visit the Smart Dubai Office website: