Phub Dem

As digital revolution becomes the buzz word in today’s concept of development, experts recommend exploring collaborations of a compelling concept called ‘Triple helix model’ to leverage its potential and prepare for the repercussions.

The triple helix model of innovation refers to interactions among the academia, industry and government to foster economic and social development.

Speaking at the Bhutan Echoes—Drukyul’s Literature festival that concluded on April 25, director of DHI InnoTech, Ujjwal Deep Dahal, said the three play a fundamental role in leveraging technology toward nation-building. “Communities must reinvent to ensure a strong and effective collaboration to build an intense innovation centre.”

Bhutan Echoes discussed the country’s digital transformation with experts from DHI InnoTech.

As the country is on the brink of a new technological revolution, the fourth industrial revolution, many question if the government even adapted the third industrial revolution properly.

Ujjwal Deep Dahal said that rather than using technology as a silver bullet, it should be used as a tool to solve problems facing society as they move forward with the revolution.

He also said that it was more about how ready the community or an individual is to adapt to changes, learn, unlearn and relearn. “This is useful.  Skills that were useful three months ago are not useful anymore.”

Citing an example of ownership perspective, he said that the younger generation prefers digital assets such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) to land or physical infrastructures.

He said that policymakers and technologists should pay attention to leveraging its advantages with new evolution in cyberspace and interaction in advanced platforms such as web3, Metaverse, Artificial Reality and Virtual Reality.

However, the director said that there are challenges like infrastructure development, expensive internet charges and lack of data. “Policy decisions were often made based on assumptions and gut feelings due to lack of evidence.”

The session also explored digital transformation methods, such as blockchain revolutions and preserving the environment and energy law.

Another speaker, Zina Choden Yonten, talked about Super Fab Lab, the third in the world to educate and assist startups and entrepreneurs and provide companies with custom machines.

DHI, in collaboration with the Bhutan Foundation and Center of Bits and Atoms (CBA) in MIT, built the first-ever Super Fab Lab in Bhutan. The fabrication facility center is expected to provide hardware capabilities and a platform for digital design. The Super Fab Lab is located at Thimphu Tech Park, Babesa.

The lab uses robotics, 3D printing, 3D scanning and electronic productions, among others.

Considering the magnitude of development in the digital revolution, she said individuals and society must prepare and be adaptive to emerging changes.

She added that His Majesty The King has invested a lot in super Fab Lab facilities. “The lab is equivalent to those in America. Even countries like Singapore, Thailand, and India don’t have it. Everyone should visit and take advantage of the lab and equipment available.”

The DHI Inno Tech, Ujjwal Deep Dahal said, aspires to lead the digital and innovative ecosystem and support next-generation ventures such as drones and electric cars. “As part of the DHI mandate, we are working on creating an innovative ecosystem by building technology and ensuring supportive policies.This needs the cooperation and collaboration from the government.”