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St. Maarten civil servants trained as innovators under Institutionele Versterking Bestuurskracht-programme

MONDAY, 19 AUGUST 2013

PHILIPSBURG –The  first batch of civil servants  trained as Government Innovators were presented  with certificates for completing the programme last  week.  Participants formed part of the Innovations in Governance Programme, an  inter-ministerial training  initiative for both civil servants and the Council of  Ministers.

The programme  is part of the IVB (Institutionele Versterking Bestuurskracht) project funded by  USONA and coordinated  by the Secretariat of the  Council of Ministers. Through an Innovation  Challenge Writing Workshop led by Deloris Wilson, a Master of Public Policy/ Juris Doctor candidate at  Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government/Georgetown University Law Centre and an  Innovation Strategy Lab  led by Jorrit de Jong, Academic Director of the Innovations in Government  Programme at Harvard  University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government,  the programme strives to  create and foster a tone of  innovation, creative thinking and effective problem solving.

By increasing government responsiveness to changing conditions and social  needs, these workshops  will serve as a first step to  an actual innovation lab: a  space for the exchange of  ideas through inter-ministerial interaction, collaboration and ingenuity for  more effective policies and processes, it was stated in a  press release issued by the  Cabinet of Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams on  Sunday.  “This project is a part of the long-term vision for government, such as the Integrity Programme. In looking at the areas for development funds to be put in the case of St. Maarten, we identified several areas.  One of those areas was strengthening the quality of governance. That programme included the  training and the preparing  of persons for their tasks  with regards to country St.  Maarten,” Wescot-Williams said in the release.

“One of those things we looked at was the innovations within governance.  We are looking to add value in what we are doing as government and how we can improve on the services  that we provide. When I listened to the people, I realised some of the things we lack regarding that service that we provide.  “We are building a mindset so that the fire could be lit in persons for them to get innovating, that there has to be a specific feeling for government service to the people. When we had the issue regarding long lines at the Census Office for documents for the BTA process,  for example, we implemented various measures to  ensure that that discomfort  was minimised.

That is in fact innovating,” she said.  The Prime Minister said that government is establishing benchmarks to see how to move to a higher level in terms of the public value and the service that government provides. She said the intention is for civil servants to use all of the creativity that is available in government to get that awareness created to work  together to accomplish the  way forward for the country.  Participants in the Innovation Challenge Writing Workshop and Innovation Strategy Lab will serve as members of this inaugural innovation team. Additionally, projects will be presented to the Ministers/ Council of Ministers for consideration.

Led by the Innovation Lab Steering Committee, the team will help facilitate the continuance of innovation upon workshop completion. The Council of Ministers themselves also attended innovation workshops.  The Prime Minister congratulated the participants and encouraged them to continue innovating. “I want to thank you for realising that you can make a difference and you are indeed champions for government.  Together, we will enable you to continue with the process.”

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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