The Druk Holding and Investments (DHI), the commercial arm of the government has recently instituted a new department called the innovation and technology department to collaborate, build programmes and invest in relevant technologies.
To embrace technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, data analytics and block chain that are changing the landscape of business, governance, and societies, DHI also plans to establish a research and development (R&D) and technology centre of excellence through the new department.
The new department, according to the director Ujjwaldeep Dahal, would undertake research and development in specific areas relevant to Bhutan, data management and building technology-based platforms. This, he said would diversify investments the DHI make while building expertise.
DHI’s Chief Executive Officer, Dasho Karma Y Raydi, said the country need to seize opportunities and manage the risks of utilising and developing technologies. “Building human capacity and re-skilling, lifelong learning programmes considering the opportunities and challenges of future technologies are important,” said the director.
The Thimphu TechPark Limited (TTPL) under the DHI’s umbrella is already in momentum towards establishing itself as a national information and technology hub and in the medium term poised towards developing into a software and systems development excellence.
Dasho Karma Y Raydi said that DHI aims to pursue innovation and creativity in society, build a technology “body of knowledge” for the nation, inculcate STEM education and provide a platform to understand and explore research initiatives.
These technology-centric initiatives and activities, he said are aimed towards economic diversification. The building block, he said lies in human capacity and understanding the dynamics of how technology and innovation is changing economy and job market.
Thimphu TechPark would also assume a new role to study relevant technologies and opportunities for development and investments looking at long term benefits for the nation and the system’s sustainability.
“Learning, unlearning and relearning is the only tool that would ensure sustainability and more so for technology,” Dasho Karma Y Raydi said. To ensure sustainability, he said investments have to be made both in systems, education and skill development.
DHI has also called for collaboration and support from all stakeholders in the country in providing a platform for innovation.
“Exploration of technologies and its applications is a journey and never a destination,” the CEO said adding that Bhutan has the foundations in good leadership, education base, literacy rate, the explorative mindset of youth and opportunities to leapfrog.
The focus on technology was guided by His Majesty’s audience the DHI received on July 19. His Majesty The King emphasized on the role DHI could take to leverage technology for digital Bhutan, inculcate a research and development culture and drive investments in niche areas of technology.
DHI, which was formed under the Royal Charter in 2007, plans to invest in sectors that are strategic, purposeful, necessary and impactful.