Why should you expand your business to Dubai in a human-centric way?

A lot of reasons actually. So, why not? I’ve listed top reasons why Dubai is the place to go right now and what does it mean from a human-centric way.

My colleague Susanna Kallio and I travelled to Dubai in November. The purpose of our 4-day trip was to explore business opportunities in the UAE and to identify how we could best serve the market.

With a background in human-centric design, I was curious to see how far this kind of thinking is in Dubai. With its more-is-more design scene Dubai has potential to become a leading player in the experience economy. As a designer I’d like to think that good design can be very simple, as long as it serves the users holistically and inclusively.

After a dozen meetings with both Emiratis, Finnish business people and international associates, there were clearly a few benefits that I’d like to share with you.

1. Central location gives access to a wider audience

Dubai is a gateway to the rest of the world. Its central location makes it possible to access the markets in China, East Africa and the US. Design companies have a possibility to make a greater impact in the developing markets.

2. Unique sells but it doesn’t have to be complex

Dubai is a place where opportunities exist. Someone might say that everything has already been invented. It might be so, but think about the context. Maybe something so obvious to you, can be very unique in another context or market. For you to understand what is unique and where, you need to understand the people who will be using those products. In Dubai, people want to buy and use concrete, easy to grasp products.

3. A.I. gives opportunities for easing everyday challenges

If Finland is known as the land of healthcare, education and A.I. in the UAE, what opportunities does this give to Finnish companies globally? I’m personally super interested in the opportunities A.I. brings to workplaces and to our personal ways of doing things. Simultaneously, for it to be able to develop, the research in human cognition is becoming more important and valuable.

4. World Expo 2020 – the platform to showcase innovative design ideas

Every minute a new truck enters the Expo 2020 site in Dubai South. The World Expo is held in Dubai in 2020 and 25 million people are expected to visit. This District 2020 will include 65 000 square meters of residential space, 135 000 square meters of commercial space and world-class innovation, educational, cultural and entertainment facilities. Read more on the official Expo site.

5. Driven atmosphere encourages bold ideas

I could feel that Dubai has a similar atmosphere to the one in Silicon Valley. Everyone we met knew exactly why they were there and what their goals were. UAE is a place where you go to work and achieve your wildest dreams. Driven people attract alike, and in Dubai you can definitely find your driven fellows.

Text: Satu Heikinheimo, Development Manager and Service Designer at Kohina