Case Study | 8 November 2019

Built For Speed: How Swift Strategy Execution is Improving the Lives of UAE Citizens

UAE Vision 2021 is an initiative that aims to make the United Arab Emirates (UAE) a world-leading country. Here are some of the principles that helped them successfully complete 40+ high-priority challenges under a 100-day deadline. 

UAE Vision 2021 is an initiative that aims to make the United Arab Emirates (UAE) a world-leading country. So when a strategic review in 2016 revealed that the program wasn’t on track to meet some of its key targets, the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and The Future knew it had to act fast. “There was an urgency—time was ticking,” says Huda Al Hashimi, assistant to the director-general for Strategy and Innovation at the Prime Minister’s Office in the Ministry.

In response, the UAE government launched the Government Accelerators initiative—a strategic initiative designed by the Prime Minister’s Office to tackle the most pressing challenges, from reducing road traffic deaths to improving air quality, by empowering government employees and encouraging greater cross-entity collaboration. The catch: Each challenge must be completed in 100 days or less.
It’s a lofty goal for even the nimblest Silicon Valley startup, never mind a large government entity. But the Government Accelerators initiative has seen impressive results that have already directly improved the lives of 46,000 citizens.

But mobilizing the entire government, and introducing a 100-day challenge methodology, requires more than prioritizing objectives and establishing key performance indicators (KPIs). “We realized that we couldn’t take the conventional route to implementing strategy,” says Al Hashimi.

Here are some of the principles that helped the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and The Future successfully complete 40+ high-priority challenges under a 100-day deadline.

Promote team engagement and effective cross-entity collaboration

With any implementation, leadership must firmly establish a shared commitment to strategy-delivery priorities and regularly reinforce them. Because of this, the Government Accelerators initiative consists of a multi-experience and cross-functional governance model, including:

  • Leadership Teams: Owners of a challenge who oversee its overall success. They’re responsible for selecting and nominating employees to be part of the Acceleration Team.
  • Sponsors: Nominated by Leadership Team members to act as the bridge between the Leadership Team and the Acceleration Team. Sponsors guide and support the teams.
  • Acceleration Teams: Comprising 10 to 12 cross-entity frontline employees with various functions and skill sets. These passionate change agents are given autonomy and accountability to get the job done.
  • Coaches: While sponsors provide the details of a challenge, coaches facilitate discussions and activities around it. They also encourage innovation, ongoing collaboration, engagement, coordination and partnership among multiple stakeholders.

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