Colombo, 25 September 2017 – 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.