Sri Lanka is a nation in transformation. Emerging from a 30-year civil war from 2009, the country has been playing catch-up on business development and innovation. It’s been 7 years, and Sri Lanka is running to make up for lost time and reach its full potential.
The result? An impressive 6.4% economic growth in recent years.
With its goal to move from a lower middle income country to a high income country in the next two decades, Sri Lanka’s government has implemented multiple reforms and set in place many business-friendly policies to improve the business environment. The economy is on the rebound, slowly but steadily.
Strategic Innovation for Sri Lankan Firms
The government is now looking to build a knowledge-based economy to lay the groundwork for the future of the country.
Their biggest challenge at the moment, according to PwC’s Academy manager Nuwan Dishan, is to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in both big businesses and small.
“Companies aren’t really sure how to implement an innovation department and go beyond R&D. How do you come up with new business models, new strategies, new products and services to revolutionize the industry?” he said in a recent interview with us.
Companies in Sri Lanka, like many others across the globe, struggle with managing innovation and transformation.
“We have many good ideas from individuals, entrepreneurs and startups. In fact, some of our local companies have made it to the global level. As an economy we need more of these companies dominating local, regional and ultimately global markets with strong brands.” Dishan revealed.
The biggest challenge most Sri Lankan entrepreneurs face is nurturing the good ideas into reality, into a commercially viable product or service through new business models that disrupt the market.
“In order to do that I think insights are critical not only at a local level but also at global level. Rome was not built in one day, similarly this would take time. Collaborations such as Engage // Innovate and PwC’s Academy will help companies get new insights to think in different angles.” he explained.
Last year, PwC’s Academy reached out to Engage//Innovate to run a Strategy Tools for Business Model Innovation workshop for some of the top business leaders in Sri Lanka.
Engage//Innovate founder Christian Rangen flew over from cold and gloomy Norway into the pulsating heat of Sri Lanka, and facilitated two intense days of learning in Colombo.
Participants deep dived into the current innovation best practices and strategies. They looked at updated, real world case studies and got hands-on with the strategy tools that’ll help frame their innovation strategy.
In just two days, they have laid the foundation for strategy and transformation within their companies.
Many of the participants found the strategy workshop so enlightening and inspiring that Engage//Innovate has once again been invited to run a new workshop, happening from Mar 8-9, 2017.
“This programme has been quite fantastic. We thank PwC’s Academy because Christian has made us think in new dimensions in terms of innovating our strategy for the progress of our company. Our thinking has been changed after attending this programme.”
— Thilanka De Zoysa, Managing Director, Convenience Foods Lanka PLC.
Improving the Sri Lankan Economy through Innovation
With Sri Lanka’s goal to join the ranks of the high income countries — you need significant innovation.
Development of technology is an important measure for innovation, and as of 2015, Sri Lanka’s tech exports stood at just 1%.
In the Global Innovation Index, Sri Lanka ranked 91 out of 128 countries. It isn’t bad for a country that had battled 30 years of civil unrest, but it reflects the amount of work Sri Lanka has to do in order to secure their place in the future.
Engage//Innovate and PWC’s Academy play just a tiny role in the grand scale of things, but the abounding interest in the innovation programs is a reflection of the country’s voracity in striving towards change.
Connecting New Growth Opportunities between Norway and Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a potentially huge growth market for Norway in terms of renewable energy, wind, and fish-farming. There can be a lot to gain for businesses of both countries to work together, both in knowledge and resources.
“Norway is one of the world leaders in terms of energy and innovation. It is one of the innovation hubs in Europe. Norway has a lot to share with Sri Lanka,” said Dishan.
Engage//Innovate’s work in Sri Lanka is just beginning. We are looking forward to deeper, more impactful collaboration in the near future.
If you’re in Sri Lanka and want to cement your place in the future, register for the March 2017 workshop by clicking the button below.