Innovations in Government Program Launched

PM: "We are establishing benchmarks to move to a higher level in terms of the public value and the service that we provide as Government"

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams handed out certificates of the first batch of Civil Servants trained as Government Innovators last week.


The Participants formed part of the Innovations in Governance Program, an inter-ministerial training initiative for both civil servants and the Council of Ministers. The program is part of the ‘Institutionele Versterking Bestuurskracht’ (IVB) 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 Center and an Innovation Strategy Lab led by Dr. Jorrit de Jong, Academic Director of the Innovations in Government Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the program 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.

"This project is a part of the long term vision for Government, such as the Integrity Program. 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 Program included the training and the preparing of persons for their tasks with regards to Country St. Maarten. One of those things we looked at were 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 realized 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 minimized. That is in fact innovating.

"We are establishing benchmarks to see how we will move to a higher level in terms of the public value and the service that we provide as Government. We want people 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 this Country," stressed the Prime Minister.

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 Innovations Workshops.

The Prime Minister congratulated the Participants and stated that encouraged all to continue with innovating. "I want to thank you for realizing that you can make a difference and you are indeed champions for Government. Together we will enable you to continue with the process I look at the Government Declarations from 101010 focusing on Service, Technology and moving Government forward," concluded the Prime Minister.