July 1, 2017

Hana Lootah: Getting Down to the Facts

Accurate information, authentic data and reliable public opinion surveys are crucial for any successful planning. In today’s world, while technology has brought innumerable information, sometimes it also floods us with exaggerated news or altered data.

Hana Lootah, CEO of Addaera Research & Polls Centre, considers herself responsible for presenting accurate facts and unaltered reality

“Augmented numbers do more harm than good and our responsibility is to reveal the reality unaltered,” Lootah says.

Established in 2014, Addaera is the first independent, non-profit, local research, poll and survey organisation in the UAE. It has a clear mandate to promote community knowledge about issues of public interest through scientific research and studies with the aim to help policymakers develop more integrated strategies.

“Public opinion surveys are the efficient scientific method that investigates the woes of any society, explores its shared concerns and leads the way to the point of light,” she explains.

Speaking exclusively to Khaleej Times, Lootah says that some issues appear to be more severe than reality, as unaudited information may delude the public opinion and create a state of uncertainty.

“Our responsibility is to reveal the reality unaltered, correct the trending misconceptions about social issues and address them objectively. The individual approach was in some cases believed to be phenomenal. Our in-depth studies revealed the real scope of those problems and the level of public awareness and interaction with specific social issues turned to be higher and better than ever believed,” she adds.

Elaborating on why there was a need for Addaera and what are its core values, Lootah says: “With the growth and diversity of the population and the cultural expansion, the need for more scientific tools to communicate the public thoughts was intensified. I sensed the need for a research and public opinion surveying organisation that is based on values of integrity, objectivity, innovation and transparency.”

“With the aim of providing credible information about our social issues and raising the public awareness about matters of interest among people, we decided to establish Addaera. And this is invaluable to the public and private bodies as decision makers strive to own the essential tools to develop the community. Addaera was founded to disclose our social interests and document the outcomes in official studies that form an independent reference for present and future,” she explains.

Lootah envisions Addaera to play a lead role in the UAE’s social development

“To help people figure out their problems and overcome them is what we are relentlessly working on. We shed light on issues that directly affect our social texture, including domestic violence, human trafficking and rates of divorce in the UAE, among others. The centre provides people with trusted means of communication that makes their thoughts and concerns known and based on an accurate snapshot of the public opinion the right policies are formulated,” she says.

UAE, the land of opportunities

Lootah says that being an Emirati she feels proud to see the UAE continues to top the Arab world in competitiveness. “The country is ranked first regionally and the 16th globally, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016. This wouldn’t be achieved without the efficiency of infrastructure, diversified economy, enhanced innovation and eventually the opportunities are given to anyone who owns a dream and has the stamina to achieve success,” she says.

Lootah says the highly advanced infrastructure is an advantage for both established businesses and entrepreneurs.

However, Lootah feels some regulations should be introduced to encourage young entrepreneurship and keep them from unfair competitions.

Tech crucial for businesses

“Despite the hidden complexities, digital methods are the easiest way to reach out the target audience and to complete the multi-layered tasks within the shortest timeframe. With the help of social media and digital platforms, businesses derive a great power that could sustain their positions and enable them to achieve more progress,” Lootah says.

“We as a research organisation find social media channels a great tool to inform people about topics of societal interest and correct general misconceptions. We provide people with accurate data and statistics about untapped topics.”

Integrity key to her success

Explaining her success mantra, Lootah believes that getting down to the roots of any issue is the key to structuring its solution.

“The centre adopts strict measures to ensure the integrity of all operational processes which reflect on the validity and accuracy of collected data. Addaera commits to the international standards and requirements of regulatory bodies in this field, such as Esomar, Wapor, Dubai Statistics Centre and others. In addition to maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of stakeholders and respondents, we utilise the most advanced polling and surveying systems to cater for the dynamic needs and theological advances in handling social research and public interactions,” Lootah concludes.