Thursday, May 19, 2016

Foresight and Innovation Summit – Time for some real Foresight!

The aforementioned summit to be held next week, with the Patronage of Mr Foresight himself, the Prime Minister, is timely, if NOT way overdue. Credit goes to the UNDP for having the FORESIGHT to realize this and sponsoring it.

I do believe that you have ignored a crucial if not the most important segment whose contribution is most vital to the development of a truly inclusive project.

More on that later!

The buzz words are out again, “Sustainable Development Goals” SDG’s for short, (words that keep people in high-paying UN jobs no doubt!), proposals for a new Constitution that will be inclusive! Inclusive of what? Yes. Of all marginalized people.

Step back for a moment. This is simply a tug of war, as no one participating here have any foresight at all. They are merely being paid to do a job, NOT to have any foresight. On the one hand, we have a Govt. whose policies create marginalized communities out of political necessity, which on the other hand are talking about SDGs that are inclusive, to remove people from that trap.

IN Sri Lanka we have now come up with a new Megapolis plan with no real FORESIGHT because both Magapolis and non-Magapolis regions can both grow organically only if there are basic principles that should govern each segment that makes this distinction. For example have anyone had the foresight to remove the Capitol out of the Megapolis and with it about 500,000 Govt. servants who are a chronic burden to the Megapolis concept? NO NO NO. They are talking about moving more to Battaramulla!

Then we have a good idea, which is then discussed by people here who ALL come in State or NGO or company cars, with petrol provided, and many even have drivers, who are sitting outside wasting their time in the parking lot, with household income exceeding Rs25K a month!, who should also be inside here!
Don’t forget if this seminar was conducted in London, even the Prime Minister is likely to use Public Transport, reducing the carbon footprint of the event considerably.

When one has a seminar in Sri Lanka, conducted in English, one immediately disenfranchises the people this vision is for. Their hopes and dreams are NOT considered. Frankly my contention is that people attending the seminar talk “gobbledygook” see link

That only intellectuals and academics understand, a very philosophical dream.

Is anyone present here living on a household income of Rs25,000 a month or less? NO. Whilst 80% of the population do so, no matter what statistics you draw from, 20% of the seats here MUST be reserved for them, at least on the 80:20 rule! Why has this NOT been done? Yes they may need translation facilities so they can participate meaningfully. If the UN can do it why cant the UNDP?

A more important emptiness mentioned earlier. The GOSL (Sl Govt.) has yet to identify the true intellectuals who are Sinhala and Tamil speakers, many of them understand English who are NOT academics, but live quiet lives in far flung places of the Country, taking care of their families, but who have not been picked out for their vast knowledge, experience and intelligence. These people can contribute more to this debate than anyone here present, and I implore the Govt. to find them, as they can contribute much to this and even to the Constitution making, more than anyone who inhabits Parliament today.

I would add that Youth MUST form an integral part of the debate, and not the Foreign University educated youth here, but the underemployed youth with intelligence, who due to their FORESIGHT have fallen through the cracks of our by ROTE education, and languish in some Village.

Sri Lanka has budding Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zukerburgs, and Elon Musks waiting to be picked up from corners of this Country. We just don’t have a system of talent spotting to find them and bring them to the table. Unless we have a system that gives these people a chance, we don’t have a future, as those in the forefront are only those who have excelled in a faulty education system.

I am writing this by pen, 200+km from Colombo, without electricity, having to send this to Colombo to be typed and uploaded for the Cocktail Circuit jokers here at the Seminar who know their Single Malts, but still prefer to put Soda to ruin its true flavor.

I do not want the Power from the Grid that is stressed at present, with a plan to build more power stations, the OH SO LAST CENTURY approach to power. Give me Elon Musk’s high capacity rechargeable Batteries, in 5 years, so I will NOT depend on the hugely expensive state infrastructure for Electricity (that we will be paying interest and capital for the next 50 years) but generate my own renewable from wind and solar, just like another MILLION households should do in 5 years for a truly renewable energy scenario, sans unsightly power lines, which themselves are a threat and an EYESORE.

This is a challenge to the Organizers to seriously reconsider their objectives and the participants in this discussion, so that a blueprint of action and innovation will result in Govt. policy changes that have a real FORESIGHT, not just a BORUSHOWSIGHT!

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