July 2017

Smart Dubai Office Announces ‘Smart Happiness Project Assessment Tool’

The Smart Dubai Office (SDO) has announced the “Smart Happiness Project Assessment Tool” , developed in collaboration with Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve of the University of Oxford to ensure that citywide smart-technology projects achieve maximum impact on the city’s happiness.

The critical new project allows various public and private entities toassess each of their projects(and will include policies in later versions), providing data-driven insights into them and the extent to which they contribute to the vision of making Dubai the happiest and smartest city in the world. This, in turn, allows these organisations to upgrade and improve their projects to make them more effective. Furthermore, the tool takes a number of other parameters into account when calculating the outcome of each project. One such variable is adaptation, whereby the tool estimates the speed and extent to which people get used to new projects or improvements to existing ones. Another parameter, moreover, is the challenges of social comparison, where people’s happiness is dependent on comparing themselves with others.

The key objective of the Smart Happiness Project Assessment Tool is to support the decision-making process, allowing entities to adjust projects for maximum longevity and impact, aiming for sustainablelong-termhappiness ina smart Dubai, while avoiding a focus on short-term gains in happiness.

Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office , said: “This new and innovative project will guide our decisions in the city by creating a structured and scientific approach to assessing projects and initiatives, helping us understand where efforts will have the maximum impact on happiness. This project builds on the success of our previous collaborations with Professor De Neve of the University of Oxford, and we look forward to operationalising the work into tangible benefits for ourcity.”

Meanwhile, Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve who is leading the collaboration at the University of Oxford,said: “Dubai has a strong track record for innovation and thought leadership in happiness and other domains, and this project underscores this reputation, where we are working together to create robust tools that have the potential of helping Dubai flourish, as well as other cities in the region and around the world.”

The Smart Dubai Office first collaborated with the University of Oxford – along with the Gallup Organization – back in December of 2016, where they developed the “Smart Happiness Index” (SHI). This compound index gives a data-based link between happiness and the six dimensions of the Smart Dubai 2021 Strategy: smart living, smart economy, smart mobility, smart governance, smart environment, and smart people.

The SHI is a first step towards systematically assessing the various effects that each of these dimensions have on happiness. The initial foundational work was completed in January 2017, and the team has now taken further steps to create a tool that will help assess projects and initiatives, and determine the value they bring towards the transformation of Dubai into a world-class smart city and the “happiest city on earth”.

The Smart Dubai Office (SDO) was established by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in order to oversee the transformation of Dubai into a full-fledged smart city.

The SDO follows the Smart Dubai 2021 Strategy, which eyes a holistic and all-encompassing smart city and has catalysed numerous initiatives throughout the city, spanning both the public and private sectors. The SDO also works to establish Dubai as the “happiest city on earth”, using the Happiness Agenda – launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in May 2016 – as a blueprint to achieve that goal.

For more information on the Happiness Agenda, visit www.smartdubai.ae/happinessagenda