Expo 2020 Dubai: Why it’s important to celebrate innovation

The world’s largest fair reminds us that innovation should be celebrated, because it is essential to human prosperity

The Emirates pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. The pavilion's shape was inspired by the shape of an aircraft's wings. Photo: Emirates
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A few days separate us from Expo 2020. Eight years after winning the bid to host the global fair, and almost two years since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world will gather in Dubai to celebrate innovation across art, business, science and more.

The world’s largest fair has long been the focal point for introducing innovative ideas to the public. It was during Expo 1876, held in Philadelphia in the US, that the telephone was unveiled to the world, and it was at the 1901 fair, in Buffalo, New York, that the X-ray machine was introduced. The ice cream cone made its debut in 1904 at St Louis, Missouri.

Expo 2020 is the first time that the event has been held in the Arab world. It will introduce us to the latest technologies that could revolutionise our lives, as previous creations have, and inspire future generations.

But more than that, Expo 2020 reminds us why it is essential to celebrate innovation. Because it is when we celebrate innovation and creativity that positive changes take place and humanity rises together.

Expo 2020 is a reminder of how cross-cultural dialogues inspire us to think beyond our horizons and invite us to challenge our perspectives.

The fair encourages us to celebrate innovation in our daily business and personal lives.

Robotic arms at work at the Future Lab, at the Emirates pavilion. Photo: Emirates

It is thinking outside the box and imagining a new way of doing things that gave birth to the development of revolutionary brands such as Apple. Expo 2020 invites us to incorporate imagination into our daily routine.

Let us take a moment to reflect on the last time we had dedicated business meetings that focused solely on imagining new possibilities beyond our protocols and procedures. When was the last time we thought about approaching solutions differently?

Expo 2020 encourages us to explore, widening our imagination, looking beyond our immediate geographies, meeting new people and planning to do something different every day.

Expo 2020 reminds us that innovation should be celebrated because it is essential to human prosperity.

We can start incorporating innovation in our work and celebrating it by applying simple steps today.

Make it routine to host brainstorming sessions outside of the confinement of your office walls. A simple change of scenery can encourage the flow of inspiration.

Celebrate employees who revolutionise processes or services.

Construction of the US pavilion at the World Fair in Dubai will be completed in November after delays due to a funding shortfall until the UAE stepped in to pay for the structure earlier this year. The tagline of the new US pavilion is life, liberty and the pursuit of the future. The message will be to showcase American innovation and entrepreneurship.  Space will be one of the main themes of the pavilion. Courtesy: USA Pavilion at Expo 2020

Create your own version of Expo, where your team members imagine and present new possibilities across your work and the industry.

Allow room for experimentation to test new products and solutions.

Involve the public, or your customers, in your brainstorming sessions.

Do not limit seeking inspiration to your geography. Explore and look for ideas in new destinations.

Above all, Expo demonstrates what happens when businesses and creative people collaborate.

Earlier this year, Dubai launched The Dubai Creative Economy Strategy that aims to double the creative industries’ contribution to Dubai’s economy to 5 per cent by 2025, above the 3 per cent the global industry contributes to the world economy, according to the UN.

It is imperative that more businesses partner with the growing creative industry, collaborate with creative entrepreneurs and support the sector.

Everything great that surrounds us today was just an idea once. As we celebrate the opening of Expo 2020, we are reminded to step outside our comfort zone, to aim bigger and dare to dream.

Who knows … our next idea may positively impact the lives of everyone on this planet.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi.

The first Ferris wheel, standing 79 metres tall and capable of carrying 1,400 people, looms over the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. AP
Updated: September 26, 2021, 3:30 AM