Harnessing The Power Of Technology To Lead Bhutan Towards Brighter Future: His Majesty’s Address To RIM Graduates
“We have very talented Bhutanese, who, given the right training and preparations, can take advantage of technology,” His Majesty said.
By Developer | The Bhutanese
On 9 August 2019, His Majesty The King granted an audience to the graduates of the Royal Institute of Management (RIM) on the eve of their convocation ceremony.
Before the ‘Royal Address’, His Majesty spent some time interacting with the graduates and heard their concerns and insights about the trajectory of Bhutan’s progress as well as its future.
Photo: Facebook/Royal Institute of Management -Thimphu, Bhutan
Addressing the graduates, His Majesty said that it is our responsibility to protect and preserve everything that we value most - our past achievements, core values, identity, and national security.
Upholding Bhutan’s core values
“As you hold a special place of influence within the nation’s ecosystem, it is imperative that you always promote and defend the peace and unity that we enjoy,” His Majesty said.
His Majesty also added that it is the integrity and innate sensibility of the Bhutanese which has contributed immensely to the nation’s achievements, and these qualities must be retained even as new knowledge, skills, and methods are acquired.
“Climb higher on the shoulders of past achievements - your task is not to fill old shoes or follow a well-trodden path, but to forge a new road leading towards a brighter future,” said His Majesty.
Being a small landlocked country, with many resource limitations as well as challenges, Bhutan has always feared failure the most. As a result, with the best of intentions, a fail-safe system began to take shape, according to His Majesty.
Limitations of Bhutan’s system
“Today we realise that even though the intentions were good, this has led to systemic constraints and posed unintended structural limitations,” His Majesty revealed.
His Majesty said that even if such a system has served its purpose, over time, it has outlived its usefulness.
The system may have stifled innovation, creativity and enterprise, and adversely affected leadership, accountability, and prudent resource management. These are problems we cannot ignore, and they have to be addressed.
Job creation is top priority
His Majesty is also concerned that the ‘jobless growth of economy’ is a ubiquitous problem, not just unique to Bhutan. The nation’s focus must, therefore be on generating employment.
In 2012, Bhutan’s foreign reserves, accumulated over generations and decades, was 674.5 million USD. However, in the same year, the social media app ‘Instagram’ was acquired by Facebook for around 1billion USD.
“I was amazed to learn that Instagram had only 13 employees at the time of acquisition,” His Majesty said.
Harnessing technology for a small nation to thrive
“We have to figure out ways to use technology to help us solve problems – to improve governance, democracy, education, agriculture, to create jobs, enhance wellbeing, healthcare, to make our cities safer and cleaner, and in various other ways that will benefit our people,” said His Majesty.
As a small country, Bhutan has to look beyond the domestic market for growth. For instance, Bhutan can look to technology to overcome its traditional economic limitations of size and landlocked location.
“We have very talented Bhutanese, who, given the right training and preparations, can take advantage of technology and in this way, enable higher productivity and greater wellbeing,” His Majesty said.
His Majesty also commended that progress has already been made in some areas, but the pace of change has to be stepped up.
Now is the time to think about how to make use of emerging technological advancements such as: Digital Identification, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Big Data, Quantum Computing, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, which present unlimited opportunities for the Bhutanese.
“Being a small nation makes us a smart nation, this is not out of choice but out of necessity. Technology is an indispensable tool that will be necessary to realise this aspiration,” His Majesty said.
This article first appeared in The Bhutanese and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.