An Island that Punches Above its Weight

Photo courtesy of UNDP Sri Lanka

Pulse Lab Jakarta is often approached by governments, as well as development and humanitarian agencies looking to embrace a more collaborative and open approach to their work. In this vein, we were recently commissioned by the UN Development Programme in Sri Lanka to investigate whether a public sector innovation lab would be a good model for the Government’s change agenda. Below we share a few thoughts and our write-up.

Facilitating Change, Seizing Opportunities

A small island nation nestled within the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka’s size belies its great potential. The economy has seen strong economic growth over the past 15 years, often leading other countries in the region. Provision of free health care and education has also helped boost the quality of life for its over 20 million citizens.

Despite the statistically impressive growth, issues of poverty and income inequality remain, as well as struggles to reconcile the growing gap between Colombo and the rest of the country.

The ambition of UNDP in Sri Lanka is to equip the country to adapt to the fast-changing regional and global context by enhancing state capability. An effective state is fundamental to the sound management of the economy, as well as to the resilience of society in the face of shocks and the sustainability of natural resource management. Integrating new tools and approaches into public administration will deliver better policy across the board, for the people of Sri Lanka.

Our research facilitates the inception of a Lab, focusing on how it can support the innovation agenda in Sri Lanka. It outlines suggestions on the goals, stakeholders and their roles, possible activities, as well as a roadmap for the coming months.

While the report caters specifically to Sri Lanka, we are currently developing a toolkit that can inform organisational design for better service delivery. Watch this space for updates!


Pulse Lab Jakarta is grateful for the generous support from the Government of Australia.