ChariTea, a tea infused lemonade drink, served to us at a meeting at Social Impact Lab, Berlin. Even for a tea purist like me, this was deliciously refreshing. How can srilanka break out of the commodity price sensitive low value added tea rut and in to the rapidly growing flavoured tea and tea-mixed beverage market […]

They call themselves ‘The Berlin Consulting Dudes’, and they are making waves in how German businesses engage with people in the process of innovation. The focus of this Berlin-based startup, Intraprenör, is on helping companies do ‘human-centred innovation’.I was fortunate to catch up with one of the company’s co-founders, Gregor Kalchthaler. He says they have found […] ...

The issue of constrained access to finance for SMEs continues to plague our small business sector, and it is often blamed on the narrow approach to SME lending by banks. The lack of cashflow-based lending, the heavy focus on high collateral requirements, inability to assess risk in SMEs, are the usual suspects. These are all […]

In the course of some innovation policy work that I’ve been doing over the past year, I’ve noticed that the public policy conversations around innovation are dominated by a focus on knowledge creation, so stuff like R&D spend, putting money into government labs, research institutes, etc. There is much less focus on the interactions between knowledge creators and industry actors/entrepreneurs. […] ...

I’m almost surprised it’s taken this long. “GDP” was never intended to be the end all and be all measure of the health of economies. Yet, over 85 years since it(or a version of it) was first used, it continues to dominate the mainstream economic discourse around prosperity, growth, and development. The most recent critique […]

This has got to be one of the best interviews on the discipline of economics that I’ve read in a while, and its with none other than Dani Rodrik – a trailblazer in empirical economics and author of the new book ‘Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science‘. My favourite bit from the […]

There’s a new McKinsey Global Institute commentary piece titled ‘Inclusive cities are productive cities’ that argues that inclusiveness (including openness to migrants) is important to maximise the productivity gains of urbanisation. This has important ideas for Sri Lanka’s own urbanisation process via the Western Region Megapolis Project. In a previous article on this blog, I highlighted that […] ...

I tend to be far too alliteration happy sometimes, and it’s probably a good thing I didn’t title my speech as I did this blog post. But it was exactly my message to the industry leaders of the Women in Logistics and Transport forum during a keynote address at their Annual General Meeting last week […]

Sounds like a silly question right? But a new paper by WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) on ‘Robotics, innovation and intellectual property’ argues that it is one of the fundamental questions thrown up by the emergence of robotics innovation. As the paper notes, A question that cannot yet be considered settled law in any nation, but for […]

It is always encouraging to hear government officials get excited about reengineering their own processes to become more ‘client-friendly’. This was exactly the feel at yesterday’s Ceylon Chamber Economic Intelligence Unit seminar on the new Inland Revenue Department electronic tax system called ‘RAMIS’ (Revenue Administration Management Information System). At the event, IRD announced that online tax payment […] ...

This article was originally published in the Daily FT of 16th February 2016 — At a time when countries around the world are facing challenging circumstances around wealth creation through productive employment, the latest edition of the UNDP’s Human Development Report (2016), anchored to the theme of ‘Work for Human Development’, is timely. Interestingly, this […]

“2015 was one of the worst years in the century”, remarked Prof. Joseph Stiglitz at the recent Sri Lanka Economic Forum when I asked him for his take on the health of the global economy. He may sound more bleak than a lot of people, but he isn’t far off the reality. The global economy is […]

Al Jazeera has been keen to run a story on Sri Lanka’s recent policy shifts reading to foreign land ownership. I first flagged it back in 2014, when the government introduced highly restrictive laws that were poorly designed, had serious loopholes, and hurts our FDI attractiveness. This week, Al Jazeera featured Sri Lanka in its […]

One of the mainstays of the Sri Lankan economy is in trouble. Despite over 100 years of history, despite being world’s largest supplier of orthodox tea and the largest exporter of value added tea by a tea growing country, Sri Lankan tea is facing a bleak future. Although the country boasts some world-class tea companies, over the […]

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