Curaçao developing Innovation Policy

Curaçao developing Innovation Policy

In his opening speech for the Academic Year 2015/2016 at the University of Curaçao, titled “The role of the University in Innovation and innovation policy” J.I.M. Halman outlined the most important elements of the innovation policy as well as the roles of two of the key players: the government and the University of Curaçao. J.I.M. Halman started his opening speech with remarks about the need for innovation. The continuously increasing international competition and shortening product life cycles are just a few of the developments that feed this need for innovation. However he emphasized that the key to innovation lies in our human nature: suppliers and consumers need an open attitude that welcomes new products, processes and services. Without this, we would still be stuck in the stone age.

Using inspiring examples, like the Dutch Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and Thomas Edison, the Professor explains the difference between discovering, inventing and innovating.

We discover something that already existed, but that nobody had yet seen. When we invent something we find a solution for an existing problem. An innovation is a solution that is also successfully implemented in society.

Looking at international best practices, successful nowadays also requires a focus on specific area’s or industries. During his involvement with the preparation of an Innovation Policy for Curaçao for the Ministry of Economic Development, Prof. Halman focused on these area’s: Sustainable energy & technology, Transnational Education; IT & Creative Industry; Tourism (high end); Logistic Services and Reusable materials and resources in a Recyclable economy.

Best practices also indicate that more and more, science is at the base of successful innovation. A combined effort by the Ministry of Education Science Culture & Sports and the Ministry of Economic Development (the latter is responsible for innovation) will be needed to provide measures and funding that will help the University of Curaçao to transform from an education driven to a research and education driven institution. The government also has an important role in improving other conditions that are needed to stimulate innovation and removing roadblocks.

Prof. Halman concluded his speech by remarking that these are exciting times for the University, where it has the opportunity to develop itself as a regional knowledge hub.

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