Bringing Innovation to the Core

Bringing Innovation to the Core

As Bhutan’s first National Innovation Platform Naykap Gokab was launched, MoICE minister said that it is a signal indicating that Innovation is a top priority

The Fifth of May, 2023, saw the launch of a platform, connect innovators, policymakers and investors and create opportunities for collaboration, investment and partnership to test, implement and scale up local innovation and promote and showcase local innovative ideas and solutions. Named Naykap Gokab, it is the first platform of the kind in Bhutan and literally means Naykab (Innovation) and Gokab (Opportunity).

Speaking at the launch, the minister of Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment (MoICE), Karma Dorji, said that such platform can address societal challenges, improve the lives of the citizens by creating a national innovation platform.

The minister also said that the launch of such a platform is a signal being sent to all that innovation is the top priority for the country and that the country is committed to foster the culture of innovation that will enable to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

The minister said, “This is a significant milestone for the country as innovation is the key driver of progress in this rapid changing world and it is essential for countries that want to stay competitive.”

The minister shared that innovation is not just about developing new products or technologies. Rather, he said that it is also about finding new and better ways to do things; which requires encouraging a culture of innovation that values creativity, collaboration and experimentation.

Similarly, Mohamma Younus, Resident Representative of United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) said, “Local innovation and solutions are the key to tackling challenge be it big or small with small steps.” He added that with a bright mind, one can find solutions that are local, scalable and affordable to address the challenges and that the platform is all about local innovations.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Druk Holding and Investments (DHI), Ujjwal Deep Dahal said that with the platform the innovators should dream big and built confidence, especially the youth.

He said that with support from concerned agencies such as MoICE, DHI and UNDP, Bhutan would be building something here and takes it beyond the boundaries. “I look forward to the next version of the platform and we are excited to see how we can connect globally for financing and more ideas that we can built,” he said.

Tshering Wangmo, from the accelerator lab, UNDP said, “Naykap Gokab is a one stop shop for innovations and a platform for the people and by the people. She said that the title ‘Naykap Gokab’ itself says that if you have the Naykap you will have the Gokab.

She said that it is an open platform starting from farmers to the policy maker where they can share ideas and solutions.

In order to share an idea or a solution, one needs to register with the platform. However if people are just interested to explore ideas and solutions, they can also go through them without having to register.

Meanwhile, innovator Sangay Thinley, economic development officer of Chhukha Dzongkhag said, “I think innovation and problem-solving will thrive leveraging on ICT and Artificial Intelligence advances. Yet, amidst this progress, we must never over look the power of human capital. True success lies in ensuring that all our efforts embrace the grass-roots and uplift the vulnerable. By prioritizing their needs, we can forge a future where everyone benefits, where we solve their problems and leave no behind.”

Another innovator, Roshan Chhetri of Gyelrab Analytics said, “My message to aspiring innovators is to identify a real-world problem, think creatively about solutions, and be persistent in pursuing those solutions. Don’t be afraid to take risks, learn from failures, stay up to date with emerging technologies and trends so that you are ahead of the curve and find new opportunities for innovations.”

The Team from Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School (YHSS) said, “Innovation need not be great. It can be as simple as solving small problems in your community or school. We just have to be curious, think outside the box, collaborate and persist throughout the process.”

Grassroots innovator Jigme Rinzin, 47, from Samdrupjongkhar said that he is proud to have made a positive impact in his community through innovations. “My hope is that others will be inspired to think creatively and develop their own solutions to the challenges we face,” he said.

Sonam Dorji, a young entrepreneur said that innovation refers to introducing novelty in a product, service, strategy, or business model. “Innovation also increases the usability and durability of the entity above. Sometimes, it is an idea, and sometimes, it is a concept that helps stay ahead of the competition and induces creativity and efficiency in businesses,” he said.

Underlining that there is an entire literature on innovation, Sonam said that innovation plays a key role in introducing novelty to existing product lines or processes, leading to increased market share, revenue, and customer satisfaction. “Sometimes innovation is used to upgrade the operating systems of the business or to introduce modern technologies for automation. It is believed that the amalgamation of innovation and automation can help companies witness innumerable growth,” he said.

Sonam also mentioned that there are several benefits of innovation. “I have experienced that one of the benefits of innovation in business is the increase in productivity of individuals, processes, and business models, among others. Innovation presents new ideas to business leaders to increase efficiency with minimum resources and also reduces business and other risks,” he added.

Meanwhile, the platform is led by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment, Royal Government of Bhutan in partnership with DHI InnoTech and UNDP.

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu