( President and the executive team/ Steering team of the PSES; left to right- Eng. Sanath Dissanayaka, Eng. Rasika Bodipala, Eng.Ananda Devasinghe, Eng.Hemantha Wattegedara, Eng. Thilak Dharmananda,Eng.Suniml Bandara, Eng. Priyantha Withanarachchi, Eng. Jagath Kumara, Eng.Dananjaya Udagdara)
Sri Lankan growth prospect for 2020 and beyond, largely depend on the key activities of innovations, inventions and new product developments well beyond the existing level of activities. The population of 20 million plus , with still available land , water and native resources , outside the thickly settled south-west coastal belt of the Island , development and growth prospect are basically good and sound and the annually increasing, educated labour force await deployment, for employment and rising incomes using a home grown economic model that is relevant to a small Island economy like Sri Lanka. Our young age group 20+ literate and trainable, is willing and able to follow new trends and pursuits, if and only if, good prospects await their rising expectations for improved incomes and living standards. One sure way to ensure their rising expectations and fulfilment is creating a climate and enabling environment for innovations and inventions that can lead to new products and processes in various economic activities within the existing and new sectors of the economy. It is time that we think in terms of innovations, inventions and new product & process developments, rather than excessive dependence on imports for most of our consumption needs. The way to engineer this change is to promote and encourage creative and innovative thinking from the school level onwards to affect the young age group with appropriate exposure to science and technology. Sports and science are meaningful links in school activities for encouraging young minds for productive efforts , for self reliance and enterprise for latter years. Encouraging science and business clubs can play a pivotal role in the expected change in innovations among the young.
Outside organisations like the recently formed Private Sector Engineers’ Society(PSES) can and should make a crucial contribution to schools and other training institutions to encourage schoolchildren to form clubs at school level for innovations and inventions workshops, exhibitions and organise tours to inculcate creative and innovative thinking geared to new products and processes.
Such meaningful efforts on the part of professional societies like PSES , for schools and the young age groups is a favourable development in the country and full recognition must be given to such professional efforts. Engineers who are working in private sector organisations , scattered in the country , should co-operate in such effort as it is a national movement for promoting innovations and new inventions in the country.
This part of the world belong to emerging markets and Sri Lanka the Island nation in south Asia is well placed , being next to India and well placed on China’s emerging trade routes to Africa Middle East and Europe refers to as “One Road One Belt” trading pattern. Both these two giant economies are also prominent members of the BRICS , once referred to as the trillion- dollar club in the world economy.
This global setting provides a vibrant economic ecology most favourable to Sri Lankan innovators to eye well beyond its own limited market. It is perhaps, the sheer visionary ambition that matters most in this context. Besides there are many inspiring management gurus of Asian origin, well versed in management learning and experience to read in to and be guided. A crop of Indians like C.K Prahalad, Tarun Khanna, and Anil Gupta as well as our own faculty in Post-Graduate Institute (PIM) of Sri Jayawardanapura University are readily available for intellectual leadership and guidance for new thinking in business and productive innovation for the young in Sri Lanka. The window of opportunity opened by the Private Sector Engineers’ Society(PSES) is indeed a new beginning that must be recognized nationally. It can very well be precursor for a broad based national movement for productive innovations, leading to entrepreneurial activities and start ups subsequently. In the most fundamental sense such a start can lead to countrywide movement among the young, including schoolchildren signifying a fundamental shift of the young minds in our society for new thinking and innovations and in pursuit of entering enterprises for earning high incomes. A new kind of life for them free from the grips of self-serving politicians. If designed well and implemented effectively, the programme and it’s activities in schools and elsewhere planned by the PSES, can capture the attention & imagination of our young persons, tapping their talent and creative ideas. What is perhaps required most is in this context is an exposure of the youth to new ideas, guided by professional leadership in a organized manner.
The children in the middle schooling years as well as the school leavers, are good prospects for exposure to new ideas for creative innovation and orientation. They tend to clamour for recognition and value pride , and are generally achievement oriented. If there is proper recognition of their success. Then their enthusiasm would was be forthcoming, if social recognition backed by professional commitment. This can make a big difference. It is here that public- private partnership can make a substantial contribution what PSES plans to do. Let us hope that engineers and those engaged in related professions join hands in a nationwide promotion effort for innovation and new product development.
Many young engineers working in private sector organizations contribute much with their innovative minds. Sometimes these new creative ideas tend to limit to particular organisations only. In No way do they come open to the outside world and neither receive recognition they well deserved but unfortunately tend to remain hidden history of that organization.
The PSES focusing on this issue supporting young engineers to take their new innovations to national level and lead them to link with new business opportunities , and create new employment opportunities for the young in the labour force, who failed to enter universities. And effective leadership that PSES propose can provide to schools to play a pivotal role, utilizing the formative years of youths in our country.