Ali al-Azzawi

City Experience Advisor
Smart Dubai Office

Drawing on his multi-disciplinary experience spanning business, government, technology and applied psychology, Ali al-Azzawi is the City Experience Advisor responsible for the Happiness Agenda at Smart Dubai Office, focusing on the development of the scientific foundations and assessment methods that underpin its activities. His academic and professional interests centre on the theory and applications of smart technologies towards city-wide policies and activities towards happiness and wellbeing. His academic and working experience started with physics, electronics and computing, at the University of Oxford and Dartmouth College, later moving to the commercial sector, installing, developing and supporting research MRI equipment around the world. With a strong interest in how people use technology and their customer experience, he undertook his PhD research at the Psychology Department and the Digital World Research Centre (University of Surrey, UK), where he has remained as a Visiting Research Fellow. He has a growing list of publications, including his book on the psychology of People’s Experience with Technology.

Most recently, Ali setup and led the first government-based CX Lab in the Middle East, where he also leads research and award-winning designs, including DubaiNow, the complex omni-channel government service portal, Dubai Pulse (Dubai’s Smart City Platform) and Dubai’s Happiness Meter. He is also responsible for coordinating the cities chapter of the Global Happiness & Wellbeing Policy Report (

Whilst he is not reading, sending a balloon into space, or planning the next exciting project, Ali can be found sailing, riding motorcycles, diving or flying light aircraft.

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Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.