Over just three generations and within the past half century the tiny emirate of Dubai – which unlike many states in the region has not had the benefit of huge oil resources – has raised its profile globally through a range of bold developments and clever ideas. These include its free zones for business that have made it a regional centre for many firms, its biennial air show, the Dubai World Cup horse race, its development as a tourist centre that is home to some of the most stunning hotels in the world, the building of the Palm island and the planned construction of the world’s tallest building.
In Sand to Silicon Sampler and Saeb Eigner outline a model for how this large-scale rapid growth has been achieved and they pinpoint the reasons for Dubai’s success:
- Leadership that is visionary, inspirational and embraces risks, that is demanding but supportive, and that builds confidence.
- A leanness of organizational structure and bureaucracy, which helps to speed things up.
- Openness to outside influence and competition, and to the views of all stakeholders.
- Good communication channels and access to decisionmakers.
- A business culture founded on trust – but not without regulation where it is necessary to reinforce trust and confidence in the system.
As Sampler and Eigner say in their concluding chapter, these are all things that any organization will benefit from.