Welcome to DICE Foundation! Before I proceed, I would like to make a request – Please read the following sentence and then close your eyes and repeat it “I want to see Pakistan as one of the most socially, technologically and economically advanced and prosperous nations of the world in My Lifetime!”.
Does it seem like an insurmountable task, sure it does - but is it possible? Yes, definitely it is possible since many nations around the world have done it in a matter of one to two generations using Innovation as a tool to generate wealth for their countries – we can use the same tool of Innovation to bring prosperity to our country. What I see missing in Pakistan is lack of structured and strategic approach to promote innovation culture in the country and scale of the problem is so big that government alone can’t fix it. Everyone in the society needs to pitch in and play their role. I always believed that expatriates around the world and privileged and successful members of the Pakistani society within Pakistan, working together can act as a catalyst in transforming Pakistan.
With that in mind, in order to provide structured and strategic framework to promote innovations and entrepreneurship we started DICE program in Pakistan in 2007. DICE Foundation is a volunteer based organization run jointly by expatriates and thought leaders within Pakistan. We have been promoting innovation process at university level and more recently at high school level, with the support of Higher Education Commission, Pakistan Council for Science & Technology, British Council, academia leadership, industry thought leaders and many other government and private institutions and passionate individuals within and outside the country. One of the main value systems we set for ourselves is that we will always concentrate on part of the glass which is full and won’t spend our energy in criticizing the empty portion of the glass. We decided to build on positives which each sector has to offer. Over course of 11+ years DICE Foundation has established innovation platforms in the major strategic areas of our economy such as energy & water, automotive, health, textile, agriculture, information technologies, and creative art & media. Through these platforms academia, industry, government and expatriates from USA, UK, and from other parts of the world have been working in unison to promote innovation culture through annual innovation events, providing support for the commercialization of innovations, building capacity, providing access to Pakistani businesses abroad through extensive expatriate network and also as a think tank to help government of Pakistan in policy making.
We have also started initiatives such as ‘DICE Sharks’ to generate funds from businessmen to support innovations coming out of academia. As part of our think tank role, we have launched an initiative to establish National Innovation Basket (NIB), consisting of projects from all major sectors of the economy. We are proposing to make NIB as part of our national agenda, regardless of which political party is in government. NIB will provide roadmap for our progress towards our ultimate goal of becoming a prosperous nation through innovation and indigenous product development.
As we make progress, we also plan to take phenomenon of innovation to common public beyond educational institutes, in the form of Quarterly Innovation Jumma Bazars (including virtual) throughout Pakistan, where anyone be it homemaker, common man, mechanic, etc. will have opportunity to show their innovative ideas and products to businessmen to invest in. We are determined to make innovation as part of DNA of our nation. As a nation we need to start relying on ourselves. We at DICE, truly believe we can make everything in Pakistan – we can have our own car brand, our own indigenous solar panels, wind turbines, medical devices, technical and smart textile products; internet-of-things innovative products, digital art service industry, technologies to make Hollywood quality movies and so on.
In the end I would like to make a humble request to expatriates all over the world, academia, industry, government, businessmen, politicians, men and women from any walk of life, to become part of DICE movement and play your role in whatever capacity you can, whether you are in Pakistan or abroad. Together we can make it happen! God Bless our motherland.
Dr. Khurshid Qureshi