Posted: 10 May 2017 3 min. read

Sustainable & Disruptive Innovation in Government

A Perspective on the Dubai 10X Initiative

In February 2017, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai called on all Dubai Government entities to embrace disruptive innovation and work towards positioning Dubai 10 years ahead of other world cities.

The Dubai 10X Initiative, overseen by the newly formed 10x Council, will require every Dubai government entity to setup x-units mandated with disruptive innovation and the development of moonshot solutions. The x-units will pilot and scale profoundly disruptive structures, systems and technologies as well as facilitate disruptive solutions by removing regulatory obstacles and fostering partnerships.

Today, most global governments have innovation as a central theme on their national agendas. So why does Monitor Deloitte research indicate that 95% of innovation in government falls short of stakeholders’ expectations?

Experience clearly shows that innovation seldom fails due to lack of creativity but almost always due to a lack of discipline by governments which treat innovation as an art fueled by spur-of-the-moment manifestations of genius, rather than an outcome of a systematic and well-structured process.

Accordingly, a more robust approach is the creation of a systematic and disciplined innovation practice that is designed to sustainably deliver on innovation. In 1997, Doblin, Monitor Deloitte’s innovation think-tank, published the Ten Types of Innovation Framework to promote disciplined innovation. The framework was developed based on a then revolutionary realization that all breakthrough acts of innovation, throughout history, comprise some combination of ten basic types of innovation. The innovation types can then be leveraged by governments and businesses either individually or through combinations to drive innovation. For a more detailed view of the framework, please visit

To enhance the relevance of the framework to the Dubai Government in general and the Dubai 10X Initiative in particular, certain modifications on the commercially and product focused types are required. Below, is a snapshot of the Dubai 10X Edition of the Ten Types of Innovation Framework, specifically conceived to be leveraged by x-units:

Dubai 10x

In my view, there are 5 critical activities that Dubai 10X can leverage to maximize the impact of the initiative and propel Dubai 10 years ahead of competing cities using the Ten Type of Innovation – Dubai 10X Edition Framework:

*Define an innovation strategy that clearly highlights innovation ambitions and secure senior leadership buy-in. The innovation master strategy should reside with the 10X Council, cascade down to the different x-units and include a clear prioritization of innovation types;

*Identify innovation opportunities and potential disruptive projects. Look beyond new government services for sources of disruptive innovation. X-units can leverage the bespoke Ten Types of Innovation Framework – Dubai 10X Edition to create effective combinations that boosts Dubai’s competitive advantage;

*Diagnose the capabilities of x-units where innovation is incubated with the Dubai Government and identify priority gaps to close. Capabilities can be mapped to the prioritized innovation types;

*Adopt a balanced approach: X-units should build a balanced portfolio of innovation splitting investments roughly 70/20/10 between core (innovation designed to improve existing services), adjacent (innovation designed to expand and grow existing services) and transformational (innovation centered around breakthroughs concepts that don’t exist today) innovations. Funding of innovation within the Dubai Government entities following the above mentioned “Golden Rule” will yield immediate and innovative visible results while placing promising bets on the future;

*Adopt a rapid prototyping approach: Use different prototyping techniques to rapidly develop, test, iterate pilot and launch newly innovated concepts across the different innovation types.

In conclusion, the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, famously said “Innovation is the only way to win” – an aspiration he clearly shared with Dubai.

The views and opinions expressed herein do not represent nor reflect those of Deloitte & Touche (M.E.) LLP (DME). Opinions, conclusions and other information in this blog post which have not been delivered by way of the business of Deloitte & Touche (M.E.) LLP (DME) are neither given nor endorsed by it.