Sri Lanka’s first Social Innovation Lab launched

The Citra Social Innovation Lab, co-developed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research and the United Nations Development Programme, was officially launched under the auspices of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo today.

As Sri Lanka’s first Public Sector Innovation Lab, Citra works to strengthen institutions, build capacities of the public sector, and re-engineer public service delivery through specialized foresight and innovation tools, such as design-thinking, user-journey mapping exercises and human-centered design approaches, among others.

The Innovation Lab works in alignment with national development priorities and works towards bringing in greater citizen engagement to the formulation of development solutions.

Speaking on the added value of an Innovation Lab to the Public Sector, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated, “Great to see the results of the Citra Social Innovation Lab within a year of existence – how programmes have been carried out, the number of ministries the lab has partnered with, all those engaged and involved in social innovation who want to make a change in society.”

The work of Citra began in the first quarter of 2018 and has already been instrumental in delivering key initiatives of value-addition to the work of the Government in Sri Lanka through innovative design interventions, and particularly through the Foresight and Innovation for Public Sector Excellence programme aimed at equipping select public sector officials with the necessary skills and tools to become catalytic agents in Sri Lanka’s development efforts.

Citra’s first annual report ’Our 1st Year In Review’ was also launched at the event, further detailing the work undertaken and partnerships established in its inception year.

Speaking on these initiatives, the Minister of Science, Technology and Research, Hon. Sujeewa Senasinghe stated, “the Ministry is proud to be an anchor for Citra Social Innovation Lab within the Government. The work the Lab has been carrying out is of definite value to the country, and on behalf of the Ministry, I look forward to continuing our support extended to Citra to ensure they are able to provide effective solutions to the country’s needs”.

The event was attended by various Ministers, high-level Government officials, members of the diplomatic community, and innovation leads from around Asia Pacific, Founder and CEO of Alberta CoLab in Canada, and the Founder of the UNDP Innovation Lab, MiLab in Moldova.

Also addressing the gathering, Resident Representative, UNDP Sri Lanka Jorn Sorensen stated, “From what started as a simple idea in 2016, to the establishment of Sri Lanka’s first Social Innovation Lab, being a part of the journey of Citra has been a truly rewarding experience for us at UNDP. I want to take this opportunity to thank all our partners, especially the Government of Sri Lanka, for being with us on this journey. We count on your continuous support, so together we can achieve much more, to realize the vision of a sustainable tomorrow”

Having successfully achieved several key initiatives in partnership with many stakeholders since being in operation for less than a year, the Citra Social Innovation Lab remains committed to working closely with the Government in envisioning a future-ready and sustainable Sri Lanka.

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