Joint Council for Planning and Excellence organizes a workshop on Future Outlook

: 3/19/2016

Al Mansouri: “Future Outlook is a necessary process to build a robust economy and to turn UAE into a global knowledge Center.”

Abu Dhabi, …. March 19, 2016

The Joint Council for Planning and Excellence organized a workshop on “Future Outlook”, which brought together four authorities supervised by HE Engineer Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, namely the Ministry of Economy, the General Civil Aviation Authority, the Insurance Authority and the Securities and Commodities Authority.  The workshop aimed to shape the work prospects within these authorities, prepare proactive strategies and initiatives for post-oil economy stage and establish Future Outlook culture in the leaders of the Ministry of Economy and its subordinate governmental authorities.

The workshop was attended by HE Engineer Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Board, members of the Council, namely HE Mohamed Ahmed bin Abdul-Aziz  Al-Shehhi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Economy Affairs, HE Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Industrial Affairs and Foreign Trade, HE Saif Mohamed Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the General Civil Aviation Authority, HE Ibrahim Obaid Al-Zaabi, Director General of the Insurance Authority, HE Obaid Saif Al-Zaabi, Acting CEO of the Securities and Commodities Authority and a number of officials and departmental heads at the subordinate authorities.

In the opening speech of the workshop held in Dubai, HE Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Council emphasized the importance of organizing such a workshop that provides an opportunity for thinking from a strategic perspective to shape the work prospects in the entities and authorities members of the Council and develop proactive strategies and initiatives for post-oil economy stage.

HH Mr. Mansouri said, “UAE is keen to outlook the future in order to realize the vision and aspirations of the prudent leadership to sustain the progress towards achieving the State’s prosperity and advancement for the future generations and to turn UAE into a global knowledge and positive change Center”.

HH Mr. Mansouri added that UAE had wide steps in future outlook which currently is one of the basic standards of government excellence matrix for Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Award for excellence in government performance. The Award focuses on the importance of developing future outlook culture and applying it in the duties of governmental authorities assisting them in analyzing the developments, determining the alternatives and selecting the best of them to develop the strategies and proactive initiatives that keep up with future orientations. Additionally, there have been studies and researches regarding future planning and staff training and qualification on future outlook principles in a way that improves the government work matrix and enhances UAE world position.

HH Mr. Mansouri emphasized the importance of future outlook to enable organizations to develop future scenarios and alternatives so they achieve the country’s strategic objectives, provide response prerequisites of post-oil economy and additionally, to keep up with future stances and developments from economy, financial, technology, social and other viewpoints so as to achieve sustainability concepts in all fields.

HH Mr. Mansouri explained that this workshop constitutes an important source for government staff to increase their knowledge about future outlook concept and its importance in the light of the various challenges and ways of turning it into realistic strategic plans and operational initiatives. He noted the necessity of realizing the most important world practices in preparing future strategies, the applicability of strategic outlook in government duties and how to face the challenges regarding future changes in all fields.

He expressed that Joint Council for Planning and Excellence is looking forward to the participants’ ideas and innovations to develop multiple scenarios for future outlook and to encounter the challenges according to the best practices in order to shape new prospects that are more developed and more growing for the national economy at all levels.

HH Mr. Mansouri praised the efforts of all authorities participating in the Council and their vital role in developing the government performance at the Ministry of Economy, the Insurance Authority, the General Civil Aviation Authority and the Securities and Commodities Authority.

The Joint Council for Planning and Excellence was formed in September 2015 under a Ministerial Resolution issued by HE Engineer Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Council.  The membership of the Council comprises HE Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Economy Affairs, HE Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Industrial Affairs and Foreign Trade, HE the Director General of the General Civil Aviation Authority, HE the Director General of the Insurance Authority and HE the CEO of the Securities and Commodities Authority. The creation of the Council is an initiative to bring together all authorities supervised by HE Minister of Economy.

The Joint Council for Planning and Excellence aims at drawing up a joint supplementary strategic plan that does not override the basic plans but complements them and focuses on the strategic objectives and operational initiatives that can be implemented by the Ministry of Economy and the concerned authorities (the General Civil Aviation Authority, the Securities and Commodities Authority and the Insurance Authority) in a harmonized and coordinated manner to achieve the common goals.

Furthermore, the Council aims to steadily increase the UAE economy growth on regular and stable basis through securing a growing, increasing and stable contribution to the service sectors of aviation, insurance, securities, industry, foreign and domestic trade, and intellectual property so that they can achieve the targeted growth, as well as exploring the possibility of setting up sectorial teams to include the Ministry of Economy and the concerned authorities as members to discuss how to develop general integrated and harmonious policies for these sectors.

The Council serves to coordinate between the Ministry of Economy and the concerned government authorities in the areas of international trade negotiations (FTAS, WTO, IASCO, and ICAO), to cooperate and coordinate efforts to organize relevant events and activities (workshops, conferences, forums, etc.) of common interest or multi-dimensional topics that cannot be addressed by each ministry and concerned authority, to exchange expertise and experiences in the area of drafting legislation and regulations and to exchange and experiences in the area of participation in national and international government performance excellence awards. It also serves in the exchange of results of measuring the strategic and operational goal achievement ratios and measuring satisfaction of human resources, customers and strategic partners, as well as the exchange of expertise, joint training and publications issued to all parties.

The workshop, divided into several sessions, sought to propagate awareness of the future outlook culture among the leaderships of the Ministry of Economy and the authorities chaired by HE the Minister of Economy to enable them to instill and institutionalize such culture within their institutional work in light of the directives of the UAE prudent leadership on the significant of continued planning for the future and national effective initiatives to support the comprehensive development process and to build a scientifically advanced country and a robust economy depending on advanced industries, scientific research and innovations that contribute to changing the life of future generations to the better.

The workshop addressed several topics, most importantly introducing the concept, objectives, importance, implications, approaches and methods of future outlook, as well as its outcomes and major transformations in government services, the fourth generation of the excellence and future outlook. In addition, the workshop included various interactive sessions and debates.

Lecturer Dr. Ahmad Al-Hendawy confirmed that the concept of future outlook is the art and science of shaping the future and is a scientific and practical skill that includes developing a proactive approach and adopting scenarios that can be turned into reality to upgrade government work based on innovative foundations and standards.

Future outlook does not aim at predicting the future to know what is happening but future outlook helps to build the future, which requires looking into it as something that can be built or can be shaped, not as a predetermined thing.

The lecturer tackled the difference between strategic planning and future outlook explaining that strategic planning depends on a large number of factors within the current environment either external or internal and then inducting data for the future. Strategic planning focuses on the internal stance while future outlook depends on envisioning the future to open the way for developing objectives to be planned effective the present time and it is directed externally.

He also discussed organization framework of strategic planning represented in strategic thinking, strategic trends, strategic planning, execution and review.

Additionally, he discussed the importance and objectives of future outlook, explaining that it includes the forming a boarder viewpoint when making decisions in a systematic way. It is used to early warn about new issues, to understand challenges and opportunities, to clarify vision and objectives and to check on the suitability of strategies. On top of this, outlook allows government organizations to shape their future more wisely.

He considered outlook to be important for the future as there are no confirmed facts because future has not happened yet.  Therefore, future must be out-looked to face challenges and develop insights and solutions suitable for the future through focusing on the available resources, competitiveness and investment environment, private sector and economy policies, etc.

The outlook process includes a number of methods such as observing stances and predictions, risk analysis, scenarios development, assumptions study, mental charts. Also, it includes network building which gathers people from various sectors and organizations to participate in outlook exercise and create a common feeling of commitment towards these visions among all those interested either internally or externally.

The lecturer reviewed the most important future dimensions represented in: 

First, technology advancement that includes all improvements in computers, medicine, transportation and other technologies such as Nano-technology, robotics technology, the advancement in internet and social media networks;

Second, economy growth as it promotes technology advancement because mankind is eager for using tools they made in producing commodities and services whether to use them or to sell them to others.  He pointed out the dimensions of the fourth industrial revolution and collaborative economy concept;

The third future dimension is represented in health improvement. Technology advancement and economy growth lead to improving man’s health because they caused the production of more food, the enhancement of handling health issues and providing better health care services that lead to longevity which, in turn, has two important results; population increase and an increase in populations age ratios. The fourth dimension is represented in the increase of mobility. Man, goods and information transfer faster and in snowballing amounts more than any time in the past as jets and high ways transport man and goods in speeds previously thought of as absurd. Information transfer through the internet and cloud networking became ultra-speeding as well; and

The fifth dimension of future is represented in environmental deterioration in the world as a whole due to the increase in population number and economy development. Among the outstanding phenomena caused by environmental deterioration is climate change all over the world, the decrease in freshwater sources, the decrease in agricultural lands, biological diversity transgression and the distinction of many plant and animal species. The sixth dimension is represented in the increasing loss of culture while the seventh dimension is represented in the social aspect such as the change in women role at work and societies.

The lecturer reviewed future outlook approaches. The first one is represented in taking the advice of subject matter experts which is an old approach in both of developed and developing countries. Computer software was specially developed for Counseling and decision making enhancement. The second one is through very “serious games” (actual exercises) which have achievement performance test standards. The third one is through modules and simulations. The fourth approach is through conceptualization and future visions which enable individuals to think of or wish what they need in the future.

Furthermore, the lecturer reviewed future outlook methods such as brainstorming, risk analysis, technicalities analysis, audience feedback, scenarios design, assumptions study, external environment surveys and golden charts.

He tackled the outcomes resulting from future outlook process, which were divided into formal or tangible results that can be clearly demonstrated if incorporated in one document or more or incorporated in items to be delivered to the clients, in addition to informal or intangible results.

Future outlook results in a wide variety of formal results including reports, web sites and other types of documents such as films and posters. This is the result of a methodological process of thinking about future developments that contains a large number of participants belonging to different society sectors. Consequently, this process depends on a wide group of knowledge sources and reflects the various thinking processes for different interested individuals. The formal results also include recommendations for policy makers or institutions’ CEOs which can be published on a large scale and used as a source of decision making and strategy building by institutions or individuals.

Future outlook also results in informal or intangible results, which are an influence or result of an added value but they show themself during the ongoing future outlook process and cannot be made formal. This includes networks, opinions agreement regarding future challenges and a common feeling of commitment towards a desired future. Additionally, the common understanding of future challenges guarantees collective consciousness of these challenges and developing future outlook culture by institutions or individuals which consequently results in the evolution of new forms of decision making processes within these institutions. The indirect integration of future outlook results into projects, programs, strategies and policies within institutions and directorates.

The lecturer also reviewed the seven major transformations in government services represented in the role the government plays as a strength supporter instead of being solutions provider, providing customized services, decentralized governance on-time civil service, government funding alternatives, smart data government and a new foundation to achieve national prosperity.

In conclusion, the lecturer addressed the fourth generation platform in Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Program, especially regarding the criteria for future outlook.  He said that this main criterion focuses on the entity’s ability to develop its capabilities in future planning and developing scenarios through which it outlooks and keeps up with future trends. The criterion also focuses on the efforts exerted by this entity to ensure that the effect of its operations, services and policies leads to achieving sustainability objectives at the State level in the social, economic and environmental areas falling under the entity’s scope of work and functions. This criterion also focuses on how far the achievement of leading results in this field.​

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