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Disrupt Asia 2018 to change Sri Lankan mindsets on innovation

ECONOMYNEXT – Disrupt Asia, a state-run annual tech conference, will be launching an Innovation Festival for the first time this year, in order to educate the general public on disruption, Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) officials said.

“The big game changer this year is the festival. It will have entertainment, art, music and food. Everything you see in a carnival atmosphere, except it will have a tech focus,” Program Manager Industry Development Program Sachindra Samararatne said.

He said that the festival will be free for the general public, and many tech companies at Trace-Expert City, where the conference is held, will open up their lobby areas for attenders to interact with company officials.

“We want to bring STEAM into the festival. We want to show how science, technology, engineering, aesthetics and mathematics can come together. There will be a lot of human-computer interaction. We want to influence mindsets of Sri Lankans on the concepts of innovation and disruption.”

ICTA Chairman Rohan Samarajiva said that in order to make the entire conference more accessible, ticket prices have been reduced.

“Ideas will be exchanged, people will network and change minds,” he said.

The conference, now running for the third year, had previously focused only on investors and start-ups.

Samarajiva said that the conference will also contribute towards the country’s export targets under the National Export Strategy, as the event aims to develop Sri Lankan talent to disrupt markets across Asia.

This year too, the conference will have its investor forum and workshops which will feature global experts, as well as the start-up battle competition, of which the winner will get a chance to participate in the Olso Innovation Week 2018.

Samararatne said that the conference this year would have a special focus on disruptive technologies which have improved accessibility for people with disabilities.





“We want tech to help people with disabilities to reduce their dependence on others. We can be proud as a country to be involved in this. We want tech developers and investors to think of disabled people and the elderly when they think of technology,” he said. (COLOMBO, 25 July, 2018)

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