Reflections from Dubai…

Timeframes & Lenses


I have been in Dubai only for 2 days, joined Step Conference 2016 and met with people in IBM cloud services who are the driving force of IBM to launch start up ecosystems connecting governments and independent local partners all around the world to design and apply innovative and sustainable ecosystem transformations for both start up & corporate players.

This post though is about a high level reflection of my personal experience which is also a confession. Let me start with saying that; I was wrong about Dubai and the region overall. Why?

I always had a prejudice to come here, even after doing many years of working with my clients in this region, since 2007. Making business happen remotely was my choice in several companies I was running, after all this region was authentic to many colleagues already, they were happy to work in Dubai, I was happy to stay in Istanbul. My prejudice was spesifically about the fear of being trapped in an environment which would be highly uncomfortable for a woman, dictating how to talk, act and dress. Honestly, Dubai is as comfy as a European city, and far more advanced in attitude towards women compared to Turkey.

Secondly, I always believed; the ambition of this region would be to follow up Turkey as an example in business, social and cultural life. Wrong. Just by reading everyday news, enviously I realize how advanced the region is in the way they present news to readers, treating them as educated and aware individuals with all the structured storytelling, proof of data and being visionary human centric the way they take the ‘individual development’ as the core focus of all issues (from economy to politics, from culture to sports).

Here is an example of how they treat digital transformation in education quoting Dr Ali Al Nuami; ‘Teachers need to understand that today’s children understand technology better than they do. So it’s up to educators to catch up with them, and then use these smart devices to make learning enjoyable and engaging.’ Quite the opposite approach of many leaders in Turkey where digital has been reflected as the core, as if human factor was not a significant component.
One wonders, how much of where we are in terms of education in Turkey is a result of this misunderstanding?

Conclusion: Dropping all the prejudices and assumptions is the core and should stay as the core of my change journey and a derivative to my passion in spreading the ‘We are one culture.’

More on a macro level; Turkey is falling behind, we as citizens, lovers, and friends of Turkey, need to be aware and take our own responsibility to work in our best potential to deliver what our heavenly landscape and deep culture deserves. As analogue creatures we feel comfortable in consistency but we need to wake up to the fact that future is now, and sticking to what we know safe is no longer servingto us and that attitude is a great danger to our children. We have to evolve on individual, community, corporate and societal terms via focusing on education, art, science and empathy. There are pathways and proven methodologies for each dimension, the first step is all about taking the first step; believing in the fact that we deserve a better world and having the openness and stamina -which will come thru collaboration- to run towards that dream.

Reflections from Dubai…Written still in love for Istanbul. By an unapolagetic Polyanna chasing miracles.

P.S: As my individual on the field experience is only a reflection of 2 days, I would love to hear from you, if anything you want to add up, or think differently. And if you want to be a part of change making platform through education and innovation, feel free to join Patica community, my new start up with dearest Niels | DTDID here. Thank you!