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The Dubai Innovation Index 2016 - New Players Emerge

The Dubai Innovation Index was conceptualized in 2015. The main idea was to identify Dubai’s position among 28 leading global innovative cities and to measure the competitiveness of its private sector so that further economic growth and improvement might be achieved. Thus, in 2015 the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry partnered with PwC to develop the Innovation Index. For a full version of the 2016 report, please visit the 2016 DUBAI INNOVATION INDEX. The metrics of the index consist of two components: a Macroeconomic and a Microeconomic View. The Macroeconomic View uses factual macroeconomic data to analyze innovation ecosystems of 28 selected global cities. The microeconomic view measures a company’s capability to embrace innovation, its activities and its innovative impact. The Macroeconomic View is made up of the Innovation Output Ratio, which in turn consists of the Innovation Performance Score and the Innovation Enabler Score. The Microeconomic View describes the Private Sector Innovation Output Ratio, analyzing a company’s capability and activity. The data was obtained by means of surveys distributed to businesses across Dubai. The Index focuses on answering three questions: 1. Dubai’s position on the global innovation map; 2. Key challenges and opportunities to innovation for private sector firms; 3. Regulations and best practices to further innovation.
At a global scale, countries have had to face a challenging economic environment with low oil prices, political uncertainty and volatile markets. This has triggered innovative thinking and creative ideas in many business areas. Also, governments have acted on making and implementing policies aimed at fostering economic growth.
In the 2016 rankings, New York moved to the top position, with an overall innovation score amounting to 54.42. This is due to an increase in the number of joint ventures and venture capital deals which has attracted many start-ups to the city. Last year’s leader London, on the other hand, lost 3 places due to a decline in its value of stocks and lower labour force participation. Accordingly, its innovation score has dropped to 51.33 points. In the Middle East, Dubai is the city with the highest ranking, moving up one position to number 15. This improved ranking result can be attributed to the country’s favorable tax climate and regulatory environment. This has increased foreign investment, particularly into Dubai’s energy and utilities sector, which has seen the establishment of a great number of external partnerships. Dubai, however, has also put significant efforts into diversifying from oil by becoming a global hub for technology start-ups. Dubai scored 36.85 in this listing and is currently ranked 15th. Riyadh has also seen significant improvement, moving up three places from last year, and is now positioned at number 17, which is mainly due to its efforts to diversify income from non-oil sources. Thus, despite volatility in oil prices, Saudi Arabia has experienced economic growth of 1.4% since last year, which is still at pace with the global average. Riyadh’s innovation score is 35.37.
The renewable energy sector is going to witness increased activity in 2016, with economies in the Middle East and North Africa putting a lot of effort into implementing their energy diversification programs. A good example of increased investment into non-oil resources is Powergreen, a company which was founded in Qatar in 2009 and is now expanding into regional markets in the Middle East. Powergreen has the ambitious goal of re-shaping the renewable energy landscape of the markets in which it operates. Qatar was ranked 18th. Its innovation score amounted to 35.18.
European cities occupy 5 out of the top 10 positions. Following hot on its trail are Asian cities, with 4 candidates represented in the top 10. America has three cities included in the rankings, with New York being the leader of this year’s listings due to its favourable climate for start-ups and joint ventures.