Smart Dubai Concludes Digital Service Design Professional Diploma for Smart City Experience Specialists

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The programme concluded with a graduation ceremony for 35 participants.

Dubai: Smart Dubai celebrated the graduation of 35 participants from its Digital Service Design Professional Diploma, designed in collaboration with the University of Dubai and the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) and targeting Smart City Experience Specialists.

The graduation ceremony was attended by His Excellency Younus Al Nasser, Assistant Director General of Smart Dubai and CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment; Dr Essa Al-Bastaki, President of the University of Dubai, and DIDI President Mohammad Abdullah, along with the graduates who represent 27 Dubai Government and semi-governmental entities, as well as the private sector in the emirate.

The Diploma is the first of its kind in the region and in the smart-city sector and designed for practitioners familiar with the services provided. It seeks to empower and support Smart City Experience Specialists, providing them with the knowledge and best practices they need to improve existing digital services, and design new ones that are more tailored to Dubai’s smart-city digital transformation. 

“Providing training for talented individuals and building expertise is a priority for us at Smart Dubai,” said His Excellency Younus Al Nasser, Assistant Director General of Smart Dubai, CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment, speaking at the ceremony. “This, in turn, allows us to serve the visions and aspirations of the wise leadership to train human resources who can drive innovation across all technical sectors and set a global example for digital transformation.”

“The Diploma is a significant step towards implementing the Smart Dubai Strategy, keeping pace with all global developments in smart city administration, and building on what has already been accomplished in this regard,” H.E. Al Nasser added.

“We are delighted to be cooperating with the University of Dubai and the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation to ensure the success of this Diploma,” he said. “It reflects our longstanding strategic partnerships with various government entities to implement best practices and smart solutions, and empower a new generation of smart transformation pioneers across key sectors. We hope the programme will be a step towards wider cooperation, where the objective is to make Dubai the happiest and smartest city on Earth.”

H.E. Al Nasser applauded the team behind the Digital Service Design Professional Diploma for their relentless efforts over several months to develop a state-of-the-art programme to train participants on smart services and support Smart Dubai’s efforts in that regard.

Meanwhile, Dr Essa Al-Bastaki said: “It is essential that we shed light on emerging digital technologies that have the potential to shape future generations. We, at the University of Dubai, are keen to develop our students’ skills in light of the technological revolution, and are determined to design educational services and sophisticated platforms that contribute to empowering and developing their creative abilities and competencies.”

Mohammad Abdullah, President of DIDI noted: “Preparing the next generation of talent for a new-age labour market is critical to the continued success and progress of the UAE’s knowledge-based economy. Design humanises technology; it makes innovation possible and digital experiences desirable. And as technological transformation continues to deliver unprecedented changes to the built and natural world, developing future-proof skills to harness this potential to create cleaner, greener and happier cities has never been so important. We are delighted to have collaborated with Smart Dubai and wish the graduates all the best.”

The Digital Service Design Professional Diploma was held from the first week of September to the first week of November 2020, where participants earned certificates accredited by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and Smart Dubai. 

The programme focuses on the use of current and emerging technologies, helping accelerate innovation, and directly contributing to continued improvements of the economy, the environment and the quality of life in Dubai. The Professional Diploma forms part of the ‘Designing Cities’ programme of Dubai’s Happiness Agenda.

Four Educational Modules

The Professional Diploma consists of four modules and a capstone project, where all of the Diploma’s learnings and takeaways are applied towards a real-life project. The first module is Digital Technologies, which covers the basics of key emerging technologies, dynamic service integration, artificial intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and information security. The second module, Design Basics, follows with insight into primary topics in design methodology such as design thinking, information architecture, user interface, and content design.

The third module is Research Methods and offers a practical review of important research methods, including survey and interview design, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and data science, while the fourth module, Service Design, brings all the threads together to create high quality digital services towards and exceptional experience, and covers the difference between product and service design, as well as the difference between digital and analogue services, including customer journeys and prototyping. In this way, the Diploma ensures that digital services are applied correctly in the way digital services are designed.

As for the capstone project, each participant will be required to choose a project theme from a selection of pre-set project briefs at the start of the course. Participants, working individually or in small groups, will also have the option to submit their own project theme, which would be subject to approval by course tutors. The objective is to apply course learnings towards a real-life project that is applicable in the real world, with an expectation of taking the project to actual implementation.

The Professional Diploma was developed with a list of outcomes in mind. Participants are expected to graduate the course with an in-depth understanding of emerging technologies and their utility to designing digital services; an understanding of key aspects and processes of service design; and a clear grasp of research methods that can be applied to service design and provision. 

Importantly, the participating Smart City Experience Specialists will have acquired a new perspective on the digital aspect of services and the potential to improve the experience of city services by continued digital transformation.