When Worlds Collide #90: Can Sri Lanka Cross Global Innovation Divide?

When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday broadsheet newspaper on 3 November  2013

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Movie Poster

My favourite example of how not to support innovation comes from (James Bond creator) Ian Fleming’s children’s story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Written in 1964 and turned into a popular movie in 1968, the story revolves around a struggling inventor who builds a magical car that can ride, fly and float.

Soon, Baron Bomburst, tyrant ruler of the kingdom of Vulgaria, hears about it. He promptly rounds up top scientists and engineers of his land and imprisons them in a dungeon equipped as a lab. To earn their freedom, they must produce a similar gravity-defying vehicle.

Years pass, with the captive scientists trotting out all sorts of contraptions while getting rather long in the tooth. But still no breakthrough…

In their case, the goal was unattainable. But even when chasing feats…

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