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SER Curaçao releases study on a mission-driven innovation policy for Curaçao.

WILLEMSTAD:--- On November 26, 2021, the Social and Economic Council (SER) of Curaçao issued an exploration to the government and parliament on the possibilities of introducing a mission-driven innovation policy that could be a meaningful complement to the Country Package (Landspakket) for Curaçao. The principle of a mission-driven innovation policy is not new. It is applied within the European Union at an aggregate level as well as in individual member states, including the Netherlands.

This latest SER-exploration contains a joint analysis by employers' and employees' organizations and independent members regarding the need to link innovation policies in Curaçao to societal challenges such as climate change, population aging, increasing unemployment, internet crime, sustainable mobility, food supply (including food insecurity and low nutritional value), obesity and burnout.

According to the SER, COVID-19 has revealed that an economic system driven purely by efficiency and supported by economies of scale is not resilient. Hence the call for resilience, a term that recurs in the Country Package. The global pandemic has also increased the awareness that the public interest is no longer exclusively the responsibility of the government, but also of entrepreneurs, employees, the scientific community, and citizens. There seems to be a global transition towards what is called 'broad prosperity', where productivity, inclusiveness, and living conditions go hand in hand.

A mission-driven innovation policy involves setting a direction based on themes that have broad social relevance. The strategy in this policy is 'challenge oriented' and no longer represents a list of sectors. What matters is that specific themes around societal challenges are identified. According to the SER, the guiding principle of a mission-driven innovation policy for Curaçao should be that aspects such as a clean environment, clean growth, responsible innovation, and basic needs such as water, food, housing, energy, health, and education are not approached in isolation, but rather connected within a context that provides a clear direction for sustainable and resilient growth and development. Curaçao will now have to establish its own themes that will guide the future (2030 and beyond) of the country, although the themes were chosen in the Netherlands around Energy transition and sustainability - Agriculture, water, food - Health and care - Security, do not sound strange to the Curaçao context.

In this exploration, the SER concludes that elaborating a mission-driven innovation policy around relevant societal themes can be a strong asset to set a clear course for the next decade. This cannot be done without broad support and symbiosis between government, businesses, science, and civil society (a 'quadruple helix' approach). Creating this support is a matter of trust, with space and time for each stakeholder, but also in the full knowledge of the need for administrative capability and commitment to achieve effective results.

The exploration can be found on the website of the SER (www.ser.cw).

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