As part of the 115th National Day Celebrations, the DHI Department of Innovation and Technology (InnoTech) has designed a Technology and Innovation Program. Centered around the significance of leveraging technology for economic growth and the common good of our society, the program aspires to create a platform to enable conversation, learning, interaction and exploration of concepts and technologies that provides a launching platform to transform the Bhutanese economy.
According to Ujjwal Deep Dahal, director of the department, the Technology and Innovation Program for National Day was borne out with hope that through this program, DHI Innotech are able to build platforms that have a nation-wide impact, and provide inspiration for citizens to shape Bhutan. “Through this, we hope to create a sense of unity, responsibility and resilience, all of which we feel, must be a part of the celebrations,” the director said.
Within the Program, InnoTech has designed three core components programmed to increase not only awareness of and accessibility to technology and related knowledge, but also bring together Academics, Government, Industry and Society – the quadruple helix model for initiating the wheel of change towards building a technology driven economy. These events aim to provide the bridge towards a technologically driven digital Bhutan.
With the support of InnoTech’s two divisions – Strategic Technology Planning (STP) and the DHI Research & Innovation Venture Excellence (DRIVE) Center and subsequently its Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck Super Fab Lab team, the Technology and Innovation Program consists of the following activities,
Ujjwal said that the National Entrepreneurship Challenge is held in collaboration with the Gyalpozhing College of Information Technology. DHI InnoTech has launched its third TechHack Challenge. “Like previous dhi TechHack programs, TechHack2022: National Entrepreneurship Challenge is a call to action, aiming to engage local talents to “imagine, collaborate and develop” solutions to Bhutan’s most pressing issues,” he said.
With the theme, Dream Big: Innovating to Transform Bhutan, the challenge encourages Bhutanese citizens to partake in one of two categories: Public and Student.
“Successful ideas will receive funding, and access to potential investments from the DHI ecosystem. Besides the funding opportunities and crowdsourcing ideas, the program aims to recognize and encourage ideas to impact and provide the resources and support to present opportunities to ignite innovation and entrepreneurship in the country,” the director elaborated.
Innotech Interactive Exhibition, will be at show, where DHI InnoTech will design and host an Interactive Exhibition. With support from other agencies and organizations, the department extends an open invitation to learn, create and collaborate at the Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck Super Fab Lab.” The exhibition will feature exhibitions of the department’s current projects and other interesting projects in the country, workshops geared towards introducing new skills and resources and social events as a platform to start dialogue around technology and innovation,” Ujjwal said, adding that exhibitions, workshops and social events would be held.
During the exhibitions InnoTech will display current projects from STP, DRIVE and JNWSFL. These projects include prototypes from the Super Fab Lab’s collaboration with MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, projects spearheaded by the DRIVE center (DRONE, Electric Vehicle, Water Management System, etc) as well as projects to have come out of STP Division’s efforts in capacity building. Additionally, the lab will extend an open invitation to the public and provide a space for them to display their projects and ideas.
Workshops on laser cutting, 3D printing, and vinyl cutting will be conducted at the Super Fab Lab. Through these workshops, the team will introduce new skills and resources to a wide range of people. The workshops will target different age groups, and vary in difficulty across the machines.
There will be seminars and talks where InnoTech will also provide open spaces for interested organizations, entrepreneurs, and agencies to conduct workshops, talks, and seminars tied to specific subject-matter.
Social Events include opening a space for social events where food stalls, performances, quiz nights, documentary screenings, networking events, will be organized to allow for collaboration and sharing of ideas.
There are five teams each under Public and Student categories from across the country. Students from GCIT and CST are in the running for the Student Category. We have mentors, both national and international, providing training sessions through a two-day workshop to the finalists ahead of the final round of presentations. “For InnoTech talks, we are yet to get confirmation on the speakers/panel. The topic is on “Innovation Ecosystem in Bhutan.”
“With the transformation in Government, Academia, Industry, and the Society, this is an amazing opportunity for all of us as Bhutanese to contribute in nation building. Every one of us creatively can find the right problems to solve, creating opportunity in building the next generation of products and services and hence sustainable industries of the 21st century,” the director said, adding that with the exponential growth of computing power and Technology, it provides a unique opportunity for every individual with imagination and a positive mindset to be a problem solver.
“We hope that the programs of InnoTech, DHI, as a part of the 115th National Day Celebrations will be able to inspire all of us in building multi-talent communities and teams and a positive mindset in taking challenges as opportunities in building an inspiring innovation eco system in our nation,” he said.
Tshering Pelden from Thimphu