A successful first year for Dubai We Learn

December 14, 2016 by ahmed

This first year of “Dubai We Learn – Knowledge Sharing and Innovation Initiative” came to an end in October 2016. This initiative, for government entities in Dubai, has seen the Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP) and COER working closely together to deliver a range of knowledge sharing and organisational learning activities designed to fast-track organisational improvement and stimulate innovation.

On 5 October 2016, the first wave of 13 benchmarking projects were concluded. Each project team gave a presentation and submitted a benchmarking report which was assessed by an expert panel. Three of the teams achieved a 7 Star recognition according to the new assessment system with all teams achieving certification at the Benchmarking Proficiency Level (an admirable achievement within one year). Initial results from the 7 Star projects are highlighted in the table below.

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COER’s TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology and BPIR.com were the key tools supporting the projects.

TRADE

dwl02dwl01The photo to the left shows Dr Ahmad Al Nuseirat, Coordinator-General, DGEP (2nd to the left), Dr Zeyad Mohammad El Kahlout, Quality and Excellence Advisor, DGEP (far left), Dr Robin Mann, Director, COER (centre) with His Excellency Abdulla Abdul Rahman Al Shaibani – Secretary General of the Executive Council of Dubai (far right). All of these people, along with Ahmed Abbas, Senior Benchmarking Researcher, COER, (photo above with Dr. Omer Al Sakaf who was the Team Leader for the Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Service’s project) played a vital role in the success of the program.

 

dwl03The expert panel consisted of Arndt Husar, Deputy Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, Singapore (left side of photo), Professor Dotun Adebanjo, University of Greenwich, London (right side of photo), and Dr Robin Mann.

An overview of the 7 Stars stars Dubai We Learn projects

The 7 Stars projects are described below. Information on the other projects is shown here.

Dubai Municipality

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The project aim was to increase the percentage of processed purchase requisitions from 74% to 85% within a target of 20 days, thereby improving the overall throughput of the purchasing channels.

The team conducted an in-depth study of their current procurement system and performance using process analysis tools such as workload analysis, value stream analysis, an influence-interest matrix, customer segmentation, fishbone diagram, process flowchart analysis and waste analysis. As a result of this analysis, a number of areas for improvement were identified. These included the ensuring of correctly detailed technical specifications, how to quickly evaluate potential suppliers for technical purchases, and how to automate these processes.

During the Acquire stage, the team collected more than 55 improvement ideas gained from the learning from benchmarking partners and the team’s own ideas. The team integrated these ideas and practices into a total of 5 main best practices for implementation. One of the best practices relating to contracts was parked under a new benchmarking project so that its feasibility could be further investigated.

The actual outcome of the project exceeded expectations; from 85% of purchase requisitions to be completed within 20 days as the original aim, to an actual performance of 97% of purchase requisitions completed within 12.2 days. Finally, at the Evaluate stage of the project, Dubai Municipality calculated their savings to be in excess of US$600,000 per year.

Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA)

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The aim of the KHDA project was to identify and implement best practices to increase people happiness. Prior to this project, KHDA was in the top 15% of organisations for employee happiness, based on an independent international measure. It was therefore a challenging task to improve its already very strong position.

During the Research stage of TRADE, the team reviewed its current performance and challenges associated with people happiness. Specific areas to focus on during the benchmarking exercise were determined by the lowest scoring attributes in a Happiness @ Work Survey. This resulted in focusing on more specific areas such as employee well-being and work-life balance.

One of the unique features of how KHDA utilises its resources is the way it leverages off planned business trips to obtain benchmarking information. For example, when some of the senior management team travelled to the United States to attend a conference the benchmarking team took advantage of this opportunity. They scheduled a number of benchmarking visits for their senior managers to acquire best practices on people happiness. As a result, the benchmarking team acquired many best practices through site visits both internationally and locally, in addition to obtaining best practices through internet research.

Some of the practices targeted the improvement of the work environment such as the renovation of the 5th floor of their building. The photos show the new design with the work desks/areas intermingled with the sports apparatus and the presentation/meeting room designed to encourage openness and harmony. Renovation of the 5th floor was already planned before the benchmarking study began but the study enabled enhancements to be made.

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Other practices targeted improving employees’ well-being, such as encouraging employees to participate in fitness classes and external sports activates such as the “Walk for Education 2016”, “Race for Good”, “Good Move Dubai”, “Spartan”, and the “Vertical Marathon”. There were also practices targeting transparency such as “Open board meetings” where the monthly board meetings become open to all employees with the meeting agenda shared in advance. Another practice being piloted is a move from a traditional management hierarchy to “holocracy”, a new peer-to-peer “operating system” that increases transparency, accountability, and organisational agility. The benchmarking team also, within the one year time frame, introduced the “School of Hearts” to measure student happiness at schools in Dubai. The survey reached out to more than 40 schools and 9,000 students.

Dubai Statistics Center (DSC)

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The aim of DSC’s project was to identify best practices in Innovation to enable DSC to develop and implement a strategy for innovation to improve its processes and services.

DSC started its project by undertaking a number of innovation self-assessments (three of the four were from the www.BPIR.com). DSC found the self-assessment titled “Innovation Maturity (organisation-wide)” the most comprehensive and useful. The self-assessments enabled DSC to identify both its current level of innovation maturity and specific improvement needs. The specific improvement needs were innovation strategies, innovation measurement, innovation labs, suggestion schemes and innovative statistical information delivery.

During the search for potential benchmarking partners, DSC used the identified areas of improvement as the criteria for selecting benchmarking partners. For example, DSC searched for organisations with an innovation strategy that resulted in an innovative culture.

DSC conducted benchmarking visits to four organisations locally and obtained many best practices through internet research. They were able to identify nearly 60 improvement ideas. In the Deploy stage they were able to implement a number of best practices in readiness for certification to the innovation management standard TS 16555-1. The suggestion scheme was improved and awareness initiatives enhanced. DSC gained international recognition for its improvement in its innovation capabilities by winning the Most Innovative Company of the Year in the Middle East and Africa at the International Business Awards.

Future activity

Due to the success of Dubai We Learn, a 2nd wave of benchmarking projects will start in early 2017. Dubai government entities may join the 2nd wave of projects through contacting Dr. Zeyad Mohammad El Kahlout, Quality and Excellence Advisor, Dubai Government Excellence Program, The General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai, Zeyad.ElKahlout@tec.gov.ae.

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