- NIA – BMA proceeding with four innovation zones in Bangkok – BMA Gov. indicates three key challenges for innovators to bring about true urban transformation
BANGKOK, June 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) or NIA, under the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation (MHESI), is hosting the STARTUP X INNOVATION THAILAND EXPO or SITE 2022, as an inspiration for reopening the city with innovation following the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The event will underline the key role of Innovation Cities and opportunities to transform in better directions. The new governor of Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has been invited to share his visions of urban development with innovation. BMA has three clear policies of cooperation with NIA: 1) Guiding policies: Cities must not create burdens for later generations, 2) Inclusive: Innovation is not created just to address the issues and needs of a few particular groups, and all issues must be managed fairly, and 3) Fair & Empathy: Innovation must be fair. There is also continuation of policy to support 4 innovation districts under the operation of NIA: Phaet Yothi Innovation Zone (center for national medical and public health services), Punnawithi Innovation Zone (center for digital and lifestyle of young urbanites), Ari Innovation Zone (Ari 2025 Smart City), and Kluay Nam Thai Innovation Zone (innovation built on previous knowledge, creative ideas and digital).
Dr. Pun-arj Chairatana, Executive Director of the National Innovation Agency (Public Organization) said that over the past two years, the world has not only been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and vast changes impacting lifestyles, society, and the economy. There have been plenty of other crises challenging us to create new opportunities for Thailand, especially in innovation and tech, which are at the heart of enabling people to cope with situations more quickly. These transformations are also accelerators for which Thailand must prepare when reopening post-COVID. The reopening is reconnecting Thailand with the rest of the world in various enterprises as normal.
“This is the background to organize STARTUP X INNOVATION THAILAND EXPO or SITE 2022 under the main topic of “Innovation City”, under the concept of “Reconnecting the World” in a hybrid of the virtual world in the Metaverse and the physical world. This will show the world that Thailand is a country of innovation with its own distinctive strengths and identity at play in innovating to level up local people’s quality of life. Bangkok is ready to connect with Innovation Cities around the world in strong economic partnerships. Together we will recover and stimulate international economic growth. There is another mission of creating a venue to showcase the potential of “Thai innovation”, creating new inspirations which respond to the challenges of Thai people’s needs, which can be extended in many dimensions. We are also underlining the importance of “Innovation Ambassadors”, a framework of promoting exchange and sharing knowledge between startups, innovation entrepreneurs and large enterprises. This is to build an international network of business and innovation cooperation in ASEAN and with other international partners to support international economic growth, including with member countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC, for whose meeting Thailand is honored to be the host this year.”
Assoc Prof Chadchart Sittipunt, the Governor of Bangkok, disclosed that the challenges of NIA to transform Bangkok into “Innovation City”, were about concretely addressing inequality issues, and not limiting innovation only to technology. BMA has three policy guidelines for joint operations with NIA: 1) Guiding Policies, Cities must not create burdens for later generations, such as waste disposal by landfill which waste disposal that will be a burden in the future. Real problems must be attacked with innovation to solve them, 2) Inclusive, Innovation is not created just to address the issues and needs of a few particular groups, and all issues must be managed fairly, and 3) Fair & Empathy, Innovation must have fairness and understanding, which is not different from innovating for fairness. For instance, many areas of Bangkok face the issue of many people building houses along the banks of canals. Evicting them from that space is not the way to solve the problem. The real solution understands the lives of this group of people and is fair to them. The government must address this issue by building good housing for this group of people to move into. However, it is also important to give people an image to understand the word “innovation” more clearly. Previously, people have been narrowly defining technology, high tech and startups, when in fact, it is not always like this. There are simple innovations in which ideas are the answer to add value for all stakeholders in society. It also helps to improve people’s thinking processes, and gives opportunities for everybody to participate in innovation.
“In the past, when the public made a complaint, it was in the form of paper documents or letters going through a process of actions ordered by rank. Thus it took months to remedy a problem. However, when BMA switched to the “Traffy Fondue” platform, an incredible innovation enabling the public to make complaints, where the responsible district office is notified and takes immediate action. On the first day I became governor, over 20,000 complaints were made, and we have now taken a total of 40,000 complaints. Over 5,000 of these have already been addressed, with no need to wait for orders from the BMA Governor. We can use this data for the appraisal of civil servants’ work. It is a fine example illustrating that simple innovation can change the city overnight and give the civil service more enthusiasm for their work.”
Assoc Prof Dr Chadchart concluded that BMA is ready to fully support the work of NIA as a facilitator in this field, because BMA is not expert in innovation. BMA must rely on the knowledge of pertinent expert agencies such as NIA or the private sector, who have knowledge of both the needs and categories of technology, and are able to think outside the box to design innovation meeting people’s needs. Apart from this, BMA is also ready to support the four Innovation Zones being supported by NIA. When all parties can cooperate, Thailand can become a “Global Innovation City” of the future.