Oct 25, 2016

Report from Dubai: Today's Youth Are the PM Lab for Tomorrow

Posted by in Culture & Change Management, Human Capital, Project Management Research, Site News | 0 Comments

Youth serve as a kind of innovation and development "laboratory" for the future of PM

I've been privileged to lead some discussions today at the Dubai International Project Management Forum. Today and tomorrow I will be filling you in on some of the interesting developments at this conference.

This morning, I had the pleasure of presenting to the "Youth Circle" and then facilitating a Q&A session, during which we captured the thoughts of the young aspiring project managers and leaders that they wanted to share with their organizations and government. My theme for this presentation was that youth serve as a kind of innovation and development "laboratory" for the future of the discipline. Since future project management skills will need to be quite different from what they are today in order to ready ourselves to handle the most complex expected challenges, the project management profession will only maintain its powerful impact if it keeps up with the increasing agility in business practices. Given that young people have the power literally at their fingertips to promote and quickly spread innovations in thinking and practice, future generations’ belief in project management’s power and potential will be a critical recipe ingredient for its strategic value.

Among the questions explored by participants were:

  • Key differences in projects across countries and cultures
  • How could graduates be more involved or of value in managing projects?
  • What views could be beneficial in applying project management in science?
  • What are the missing gaps in successful project management and how could the youth help in filling these gaps?
  • What are the ways to ignite the source of passion in youth?

We spent the last quarter of this two-hour session gathering the recommendations of the participants. Here's a recap of their thoughts. The young participants in this session wanted to:

  • Ensure that youth are listened to and that senior organizational leaders understand the value of the ideas / insights youth bring
  • Find ways to apply project management in traditional industries
  • Imagine new ways for increasing the understanding of project management among youth
  • Introduce project management as a key curriculum in schools
  • Consider conducting testing for project management skills between school and university stage and another testing between university and the workplace
  • Find and create avenues for sharing success stories among youth involved in projects
  • Develop ways to research and share the challenges in starting and running your business (Similar to the “ease of doing business index”)
  • Overcome small business high start up costs and develop ways to compete with the bigger and more established organizations
  • Clarify and share the value of PMP, Prince 2, and other certifications
  • Balance the skills along the three sides of the talent triangle (business/strategy, technical, and project management)
  • Inspire youth to ensure that they have great stretching goals
  • Increase the understanding of the weight of project managers as authorities and not just as coordinators
  • Spread awareness that the element of surprise in projects is rapidly increasing, especially due to the elements of creativity and innovation
  • Enhance cultural awareness along the lines of working across cultures (e.g. difference between decision making in the UAE and Japan)
  • Expand membership in PMI.

As you can see, students of business and project management in the UAE are on fire to both deepen their understanding of project management, and innovate the practice of the discipline! All this session was conducted in Arabic, which was a pleasure for me as it is my native language, and I think also demonstrates to our readers across the globe the depth of interest in global project management that exists among the next generation of Arabic-speaking youth. I look forward to seeing international project collaborators and leaders emerge from the UAE in the coming years!


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