Smart Dubai hosts 40 international hackers at the first ‘Happiness Hack Dubai’ to discover and prototype solutions to further boost happiness in Dubai

Smart Dubai hosts 40 international hackers at the first ‘Happiness Hack Dubai’ to discover and prototype solutions to further boost happiness in Dubai


Forty hackers from four international hacking teams are gathered with 28 Happiness Champions from 23 government and private sector entities at Dubai International (DXB) Terminal 3 this week to hack new smart solutions delivering happier city experiences in Dubai.

‘Happiness Hack Dubai: Smart Travel Experience,’ is the first in a series of hackathon events hosted by Smart Dubai to discover, design and prototype new solutions bringing happiness to all city sectors, in line with the mandate of the Smart Dubai Happiness Agenda, to achieve 95% happiness for Dubai by 2021.

Her Excellency Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, announced the event, saying: “Happiness Hack Dubai is a new platform for local and international experts to collaborate and innovate smart solutions, contributing to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum: to make Dubai the happiest city on earth, and to work together to achieve the future of Dubai. Happiness Hack Dubai is a great opportunity for our government employees to engage with a global community to improve experiences for anyone who lives in or visits Dubai.”

“Happiness Hack Dubai shows the positive impact we can achieve for cities when we work together. We are leading a new, people-centric approach to cities and industries that will establish Dubai as a model of collaboration and design thinking for the world,” Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr said.

The first edition of Happiness Hack Dubai will focus on the travel sector. “Happiness Champions and top international experts will work side-by-side to build tangible new solutions enabling happy experiences for Dubai visitors, going from challenges and initial ideas, to working prototype in just 5 days,” Her Excellency said.

The hackathon will run from 5th to 9th February in the Arrivals Hall of Terminal 3 at DXB. The event is also supported by Customer Experience experts from Dubai Airports, Jumeirah Group, Du, Etisalat, Smart Dubai Government, and Dubai Data Establishment. Hackers and Happiness Champions will explore open city data from the travel sector; analyse results of sector-specific surveys conducted by the Happiness Agenda team; review challenges identified by sector stakeholders; and design and prototype needs-based solutions to positively impact happiness within the tourism sector. The Happiness Champions will lead the implementation of the selected prototypes, which will be announced in a ceremony later this month.

The Smart Dubai Office is collaborating with HACKMASTERS, a technology and innovation network based in the United Kingdom and supported by the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT). HACKMASTERS and the DIT have provided access to innovative UK-based companies and talent who will contribute technological expertise to the event.

Speaking at a pre-launch event on Thursday, Mr. Paul Fox, British Council General to Dubai, said: “This new and innovative approach to collaboration brings the best of British talent to serve Dubai’s ambitions. The Department for International Trade helps companies and organisations across the UAE find world-leading solutions from the UK, and I am delighted that British innovation is at the heart of this important initiative.”

The UK-based companies supporting the event include: BAE Systems, who have contributed expertise on the future of airports; Black Swan, who contributed data analytics and AI expertise; W3W, who shared expertise as innovators in the travel sector; and Tideway, the UK’s biggest infrastructure group collaborating with High Speed 2 and Cross Rail.

Happiness Hack Dubai is a program of the Happiness Agenda, a strategic initiative by Smart Dubai adopted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in May of last year. The Happiness Agenda aims to discover basic & higher needs, formalise definitions & establish a cultural baseline for happiness in Dubai; influence policies & recommend approaches to focus the city and people on happiness; build awareness, teach self-reflection and influence the city to priorities happiness; and research, formulate and implement a predictive happiness impact score & citywide index. Happiness Hack Dubai will contribute to the goal of the Happiness Agenda by designing needs-based solutions to enable positive impacts on happiness in each sector.

Happiness Hack Dubai is executed through a collaborative partnership with the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) and HACKMASTERS. DIT has overall responsibility for promoting UK trade across the world and attracting foreign investment to the UK’s economy. DIT is a specialised government body with responsibility for negotiating international trade policy, supporting business, as well as delivering an outward-looking trade diplomacy strategy. HACKMASTERS is technology network that partners with clients to imagine future concepts and build valuable prototypes in days, not months with particular focus on the future of mobility, home, health, education and cities.

The Smart Dubai Office leads Dubai’s smart city program, utilising technology innovation to improve efficiency and enhance experiences for the city, in line with its vision to make Dubai the happiest city on earth. The Smart Dubai Office works with its establishments, Smart Dubai Government and Dubai Data, and more than 25 partner entities from the government and private sector to deliver its strategic initiatives and products across six city dimensions: living, economy, governance, mobility, environment and people.