Colombo, 19 March 2019 – Recognizing the vital role of a strong public sector in the achievement of Sri Lanka’s ambitious development goals, Citra, Sri Lanka’s first Social Innovation Lab, through a partnership with the Ministry of Public Administration and Disaster Management and the Presidential Secretariat co-developed and successfully conducted a comprehensive capability strengthening workshop on ‘Foresight and Innovation for Public Sector Excellence’.
Citra, a joint initiative between the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Research 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 of the country and works towards bringing in greater citizen engagement to the formulation of development solutions.
The programme was conducted in three phases. The first phase, held in October 2018, consisted of a 5-day residential training programme facilitated by international resource personnel for 33 public sector officials selected through a rigorous and competitive application process. In addition to gaining new skills and being exposed to global best practices, the programme also aimed to change mindsets of the participants and inspire them to become champions of innovation in the public sector of Sri Lanka. One highlight of this programme was the opportunity they received to interact closely with noteworthy public sector officials in our country, including Ministers such as Honourable Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Honourable Sagala Rathnayake, and Honourable Nalin Bandara, senior officials such as Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya, Mr. Austin Fernando as well as some Ministry Secretaries and, others throughout this week.
The second phase began after the week-long residential training, where the officials utilized the skills and tools they learnt to add value to their current portfolio. The participants all worked on a selected project which allowed them to innovate and find a solution to an existing challenge in their Department and/or Ministry.
As the third and last stage, these officials were reconvened on January 30th and 31st 2019 for a 2-day Recap Session to share their experiences and feedback during the three months. This was followed by a Recognition Awards ceremony where these officials were duly recognized for their perseverance and commitment to creating lasting impact from within the public sector.
Honourable Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Minister of Public Administration and Disaster Management speaking on the value-addition of such an initiative stated, “We are pleased to work with Citra Social Innovation Lab to co-develop this programme on foresight and innovation for our public sector officials. There is a clear need to infuse innovation and new approaches into our work. Therefore, we look forward to continuing similar initiatives to transform our public sector and enable them to serve the people of Sri Lanka more effectively”.
Speaking on the initiative, Mr. Jorn Sorensen, Resident Representative of UNDP Sri Lanka stated, “UNDP is pleased to collaborate with the Ministry of Public Administration and Disaster Management, and the Presidential Secretariat to co-develop and facilitate this comprehensive learning experience for the selected officials. After a successful completion of the first edition, we are looking forward to welcoming the next cohort of officials and supporting them on this innovation journey.”
Following the success of this pilot programme, Citra will facilitate the engagement of a second cohort, and looks forward to working collaboratively with its partners to continue these interventions targeted at further empowering and strengthening the innovation champions within the public sector of Sri Lanka.