Colombo, 5 December 2019: The NextGenGov Fellowship Programme held an awards ceremony and panel discussion to recognize and inspire the 2019 cohorts that successfully completed the programme. The Fellowship Programme aims to integrate the use of foresight and innovation for public sector excellence.
Earlier this year, the Fellowship Programme introduced 60 selected public sector officials in Sri Lanka, along with international participants from 7 countries, to practical applications of foresight and innovation tools. The programme is co-developed as a joint initiative between Citra Social Innovation Lab, the Ministry of Provincial Councils, Local Government, and Public Administration, and the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA).
Following the initial workshops, an in-depth mentorship programme supported these champions of innovation as they used foresight and innovation tools to tackle ongoing issues within their ministries and departments. The culmination of the programme also featured a 2-day recap session for the participants to report back on their experiences and learn from each other.
Elaborating on the need for such a programme Secretary to the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, and Public Administration, Mr. Siripala Hettiarachchi stated “There is a strong need to facilitate innovation within the public sector that gives officials the space to develop creative and efficient processes. We need to work together through programmes such as this to empower skilled officials so they can carry out their vital role towards the sustainable growth of Sri Lanka.”
Speaking on the programme, UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Robert Juhkam stated “The wide range of projects that strengthen institutions, build capacity and re-engineer processes that have been implemented as a result of this programme is a testament to the impact of empowering the right officials with the tools they need to create positive change.”
A panel discussion on ‘Gearing the Public Sector to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’ was also held at the event with Hon. Susil Premajayantha, State Minister of Foreign Relations, Mr. Siripala Hettiarachchi, Secretary, Ministry of Local Government, Provincial Councils, and Public Administration, Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya, Former Secretary, Ministry of Digital Infrastructure and Ms. Damayanthi Wijesinghe, Director of Human Resources at the Sri Lanka Administrative Service as panelists with Ms. Deshani Senanayake, Gender and Experimentation Lead Citra Lab as moderator. The panelists explored the importance of recognizing the current gaps within the public sector, the role of innovation in addressing gaps and building a conducive environment to achieve the 2030 agenda.
Together with its partners Citra Social Innovation Lab will continue to work closely with this growing network of innovation champions to ensure a sustained, long term integration of foresight and innovation for public sector excellence in Sri Lanka.
Colombo, 27 August 2019: Citra Social Innovation Lab, conducted several design thinking workshops on operationalizing the National Innovation Agency (NIA) in Sri Lanka. The NIA passed by Cabinet in May 2019 is set to be launched in the coming months.
As Sri Lanka’s first social innovation lab, Citra provided its expertise to the process by facilitating workshops organized by the Presidential Secretariat, on the functions, objectives and purview of the proposed apex body for innovation in Sri Lanka. Relevant stakeholders within the innovation eco system in Sri Lanka were consulted by the Presidential Secretariat in the design thinking process.
Speaking on the added value of conducting design thinking sessions, Director General of Innovation and Research of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Niranjala Nanayakkara stated “The Ministers of Cabinet confirmed the establishment of the NIA under the Presidential Secretariat as the apex body to align and guide the line ministries and research institutions. Before moving forward however it was necessary to identify prevailing gaps between the current innovative initiatives in the country and the required scaling up of these initiatives. The corresponding Act of the NIA which will address these concerns was built through collaborative design thinking sessions facilitated by Citra. Through its wide network of partners Citra was also able to bring in international expertise to assist us in this process.”
Citra is a proven leader in using foresight and innovation tools in prototyping and testing development solutions to ensure they are agile and holistic. As a joint initiative between the Ministry of Science, Technology & Research, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Citra facilitates creating an environment that is conducive to looking at problems from different perspectives, building capacities, and strengthening institutions.
Citra Social Innovation Lab Leads Training on Essential Tools for Public Sector Excellence
Colombo, 16 July 2019: Similar to other countries in the region, Sri Lanka has experienced rising urbanization, technological innovation, deepening inequality, vulnerability to disasters and dramatic environmental risks. A new generation of government leaders is imperative in ensuring Sri Lanka can effectively respond to the challenges of our time.
The ‘Foresight & Innovation for #NextGenGov Champions’ programme responds to this need by equipping a new generation of public sector officials with the tools necessary to implement creative solutions to complex challenges in our country. Following the success of the pilot programme conducted in 2018, two capacity-building workshops for two more cohorts were launched this week with participants from over 35 public institutions in Sri Lanka along with international participants from Maldives, Bhutan, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Turkey, Gambia and Tanzania.
The programme is co-developed as a joint initiative between Citra Social Innovation Lab, the Presidential Secretariat, the Ministry of Public Administration, and the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA).
Speaking on the added value of the programme Minister of Public Administration and Disaster Management, Hon. Ranjith Madduma Bandara stated that “A strong and efficient public service is a crucial segment of the enforcement of policies for an effective nation. The Ministry of Public Administration and Disaster Management is pleased to have worked with Citra Social Innovation Lab and the Presidential Secretariat and SLIDA to codevelop a comprehensive programme on ‘Foresight and Innovation for Public Sector Excellence’, being conducted for the second time, having had a very successful pilot run. Building on the conversations around improving the efficiency of the public sector, this workshop will equip the selected officials with the tools required to approach challenges in an innovative way. We look forward to continuing our engagement with Citra to further strengthen the public sector of Sri Lanka.”
As Sri Lanka’s first social innovation lab, Citra is a proven leader in using foresight and innovation tools in prototyping and testing development solutions to ensure they are agile and holistic. As a joint initiative between the Ministry of Science, Technology & Research, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Citra facilitates creating an environment that is conducive to looking at problems from different perspectives, building capacities, and strengthening institutions.
Speaking on the programme, Minister of Science, Technology and Research, Hon. Sujeewa Senasinghe stated “Public sector officials are the backbone of any government and have a crucial role to play in ensuring countries achieve the targets they set for themselves. This year we’re happy to welcome over 55 public sector officials from Sri Lanka along with their counterparts from several other countries for the #NextGenGov programme. The 2019 cohort of this workshop is a testament to the global significance of these tools for public sector excellence.”
The 5-day residential workshops require participants to implement these tools in their offices and departments within a 3-month mentorship period and report back on their experiences. The continued engagement of the ‘#NextGenGov Champions’ will contribute towards a sustained, long-term integration of foresight and innovation for public sector excellence in Sri Lanka.
Colombo, 7 September 2018 – Citra, Sri Lanka’s first Social Innovation Lab, recently entered into a partnership with the Mount Lavinia Municipal Council to develop a citizen-centered open source platform for dengue prevention and control.
Citra, a joint initiative between the Ministry of Science, Technology, Research, Skills Development, Vocational Training and Kandyan Heritage, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka, uses foresight and innovation tools to prototype and test development solutions to ensure they are agile and holistic. Its work is aligned to the national development priorities and works towards bringing in greater citizen engagement to the formulation of development solutions.
One such initiative is developing an open source platform aimed at preventing and controlling the spread of dengue, with technical expertise from the Department of Town and Country Planning, University of Moratuwa. The platform, once developed, will improve local government’s efficiency in identifying, managing and monitoring dengue. It will also have a citizen engagement feature and will allow communities to identify and notify relevant local government authorities of the prevalence and locations of potential mosquito breeding grounds for necessary action. The users can send the exact location along with a picture of the potential breeding ground, following which the application will automatically add the location to a website for local health officials to review.
The system provides a user-friendly, interactive web interface to process and analyze the data near real-time. This will help decisionmakers to predict and/or visualize potential risk-prone areas.
Speaking about this collaboration, the Municipal Commissioner of Dehiwala – Mount Lavinia, Mr. Dhammika Muthugala, stated “with the high prevalence of dengue in our communities, and especially with over 40% of the cases being reported from the Western Province, we need to find innovative initiatives if we are to effectively control and prevent dengue in the future. We believe engaging citizens to assist us in this regard is the most efficient way to curb the spread of dengue.”
A pilot of this application will be tested initially within the Ratmalana Ministry of Health division under the guidance and leadership of Dr Indika Ellawala, the Chief Medical Officer of the area.
This project is a part of City-i-LEAPS, an initiative implemented in partnership with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and UNDP’s Bangkok Regional Hub, which aims at collaborating with municipalities in countries around the region to develop and assist the implementation of innovative development solutions.
Speaking on the importance of this partnership, Mr Fadhil Bakeer Markar, Partnerships Analyst at the United Nations Development Programme, andLab Lead a.i. of Citra Social Innovation Lab, stated, “it is imperative that we collaborate with multiple partners if we are to overcome the issues facing our country, and as such, we are pleased to be partnering with the Mount Lavinia Municipal Council, along with our other partners, the University of Moratuwa and the Seoul Metropolitan Government through its City-i-LEAPS project”.
UNDP and Ministry of Science, Technology and Research collaborate to establish Sri Lanka’s first ‘Social Innovation Lab’
Colombo, 25 September 2018 – The Ministry of Science, Technology and Research together with the United Nations Development Programme announced the establishment of Sri Lanka’s first Social Innovation Lab at a press conference held this evening. The establishment of this lab comes as one of the main outcomes of the First National Summit on Foresight and Innovation for Sustainable Human Development which was co-hosted by UNDP together with the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs and other public and private sector partners in May 2016.
The Innovation Lab, which will be a co-financed initiative, will be aligned to support national development priorities through the prototyping of development ideas to complement accelerated initiatives. Not to be mistaken with a policy or idea implementing agency, the Lab will be able to comprehensively assess an initial idea within a given timeline. The Lab will be a rapid prototyping facility for development efforts – in the form of an idea, a problem or a solution – using foresight tools to take into account multiple alternative future scenarios to make the idea or solution future proof.
Speaking about this collaboration, the Minister of Science, Technology and Research, Hon. Susil Premajayantha, stated “With our country’s ambitious development vision, it is apt that we do things differently. At a time like this, we are pleased to partner with one of the leading development actors in the country, UNDP, to establish Sri Lanka’s first Social Innovation Lab. We believe the Innovation Lab will bring much needed value addition through foresight and innovation to all our development efforts”.
It will be a joint initiative between the Government of Sri Lanka and UNDP, acting as an independent body with the aim of working collaboratively with all government departments and ministries, as well as other external partners on issues which align with national development priorities.
Also addressing the media gathering, Mr Jorn Sorensen, Country Director of UNDP, speaking on the importance of this partnership stated, “It is imperative that development efforts are done in collaboration with multiple partners, and at this momentous juncture, we are pleased to be partnering with the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research. We are certain this joint initiative will pave the way for more collaborative efforts between UNDP and the Government of Sri Lanka to create impactful results to help Sri Lanka achieve sustainable human development”.
Mr. Udaya Seneviratne, Secretary, Ministry of Science, Technology and Research and Ms. Lovita Ramguttee, Deputy Country Director, UNDP Sri Lanka were also present at the press conference.
The Social Innovation Lab will start its operations this year and will be a three-year pilot project.