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Emerging Technologies: Priority Map for Bhutan

It is imperative that Bhutan embrace new capabilities and explore and adopt emerging technologies to turn tech into a new competitive advantage for the nation.
  • འཕྲུལ་རིག་གསར་བཏོད།
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  • སྤྱི་ཟླ་བདུན་པ། 28, 2021

Emerging technologies are providing powerful opportunities and pathways for change within companies, industries and even countries. Given this evolving landscape, it is imperative that Bhutan embrace new capabilities and explore the potential to adopt some of these to turn tech into a new competitive advantage for the nation. Keeping this in mind, the Strategy Technology Planning Division is pleased to present the Strategy Paper on Emerging Technologies. 

The new wave of industrial revolution puts forth an extensive list of technologies and trends; some have progressed as natural advancements from pre-existing technologies, and others are more novel in nature. Most of these are captured in the Gartner Emerging Technologies and Trends Impact Radar for 2021 which presents a comprehensive index and serves as the primary basis for this strategy paper.

In order to effectively map and analyze emerging technology and trends that are relevant in the context of DHI Group and the larger Bhutanese society, two levels of filtration and analysis were conducted. As an initial layer of analysis, a list of emerging technologies and trends was compiled. Technologies that were too premature for Bhutan to realistically explore, either based on the international landscape or domestic factors, were identified, and dropped. The list also included emerging technologies and trends that the department and DHI projects are currently delving into. 

Once compiled, the individual trends and technologies within the list were vetted and filtered based upon viability, and relevance to the Bhutanese context. Much of the technology that was discarded at this stage, while possessing great potential, could not be justified to pursue for the Bhutanese economy. This included factors such as viability, both technical and financial, institutional capacity, and a comparison of the investments required against the benefits that could be reaped. 

Factors considered  

  1. Beneficial impacts (socio-economic impact/ efficiency and resource optimization/ building human capital)
  2. Orientation with national development goals/ DHI objectives 
  3. Speed of technology adoption 
  4. Potential for the technology to go mainstream
  5. Technical viability/ financial viability 
  6. Market (profitability and potential market growth)
  7. Applicability across more than one sector (versatility)
  8. Institutional capacity (human capital, R&D capabilities, favourable institutional settings, regulatory environment)

Upon finalization of the list, its contents were fed into a matrix to score the level of impact and effort required for each trend and technology. Once scored, these technologies and trends were plotted onto a quadrant-based Impact/Effort map to best visualize the most appropriate technologies for the DHI group and the country at large. 

These technologies not only address current socio-economic challenges but also hold immense capacity to solve challenges that may arise in the future. Additionally, given the versality of each of these technologies, there is an implicit potential to stretch their capabilities across various sectors and applications; a trait that is highly beneficial for countries with resource constraints.

Based on the research and findings from this paper, there is an evident need for strategic investments into key areas to ensure that the DHI Group, and Bhutan as a whole, can not only take advantage of the current emerging technologies, but also establish a foundation that will allow it to adapt to future trends. The paper identifies three such focus points: (i) Building and Cultivating a Talent Pipeline; (ii)Investments in Technological Infrastructure; and (iii) Dialogue and Policy. In providing support to these areas, and ensuring that necessary investments are made, there is a shift to reducing the effort required to implement these technologies. If done correctly, this also becomes an opportunity for creating an ecosystem where future emerging technologies could be implemented with more ease.

In the coming few weeks, InnoTech will publish papers on emerging technologies identified in the Gartner Emerging Technologies and Trends Radar 2021, and outline their implications in the Bhutanese context.

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