Quintessence of Fab 23

Bhutan is opening another chapter in its history. Beginning July 23, Thimphu will be hosting the Fab 23 conference, where more than 300 people comprising of thought leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs and others from different parts of the world will congregate. It is something that could not have been comprehended few years back.

As mentioned by the Druk Holdings Investment’s (DHI) chief executive officer (CEO), it is a step towards His Majesty’s vision of a technologically empowered Bhutan. It is also about innovation and inspiration, sustainability and solutions and learning and leveraging. Fab Labs or digital fabrication laboratories provide the platform for innovation. It inspires people and entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into new products and prototypes by making a range of advanced digital manufacturing technology accessible to them.

Invention or innovation brings with it several significant benefits. It is one of the critical skills and tools for achieving success in any business. It can help people solve problems, generate profit, compete with others and increase one’s presence in the market.

Critics would say that doing something new, untested or unproven is risky. However, the biggest risk of all in today’s world is not innovating. To put it in other words, we cannot live in the past.

It was with the above aspirations in mind that The Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck Super FabLab was established on June 6,2022. Its vision is to “inspire the future of learning and creating.” And it was inaugurated by His Royal Highness, Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck, the future King of our Nation. His Royal Highness’ association with the Lab can be looked from several angles. More importantly, it symbolizes that there can be no future without technology and innovation, for Gyalsey is Bhutan’s future.  

The Super Fablab and Fab 23 conference have other significances, too. In more ways than one, we are telling and showcasing to the world that Bhutan may be a small country, physically and economically. But we can stand shoulder to shoulder with other countries in several areas. The group of students, who will be exhibiting their innovations are testaments that Bhutanese youth are as good as or even better than others in the world. All they need is an opportunity, a platform to build on and display their skills. And what they do will have a cascade affect. Their friends and counterparts will be inspired, too. Their interests will develop and gradually but steadily, everyone will become part of this interesting experience. Moreover, we are focusing on development and technology with values. 

Fab 23 is also an opportunity for us to network, discuss and learn. We also have the prospect of telling and showing the 300 plus guests what makes Bhutan special, even in the technological arena. It is also one of the greatest leaps ahead in Bhutan’s technological chronicle. It is a landmark for Bhutan and justifiably “an occasion to rejoice.”