Estonian Expert Ragnar Siil Speaks at SMILE Innovation Event


The Department of Culture of the Ministry of Education, Youth, Culture and Sports and the organizers of the St. Maarten Innovations, Initiatives and Industries Link-Up Event (SMILE) jointly announced today the confirmation of Ragnar Siil of Creativity Lab as one of the keynote speakers of this year’s SMILE event on March 25- 26, 2022.


Formerly Secretary of State for the Arts of Estonia and Chairman of the European Union Expert Group on Cultural and Creative Sectors, Ragnar Siil is a Founder and Director of Creativity Lab (www.creativitylab.eu), a leading cultural policy and creative industries think-tank and consultancy.


Siil has been closely related to the development of the “E-residency” wonder of Estonia. When the Soviet Union fell apart, the newly created country decided to go fully for e-government. Estonian residents are only asked to meet with government once. After this, all correspondence is channeled digitally in a customer friendly way. The sole exception being the optional exchanging of vows when getting married; this still has to happen in person. Banking has also been a predominantly digital affair for decades.


The novel approach to service brought a highly successful IT sector to the country. This expanded as many international creative companies, also from the Caribbean, have obtained digital e-residency in Estonia. By means of its move to cut bureaucracy, Estonia grew to one of the world’s foremost digital hubs.


By inviting Siil, the Department of Culture highlights the necessity to boost the creative economy of St Maarten. This year’s SMILE theme is “Sustainable Economies Post COVID”, trying to explore opportunities beyond the pandemic. The Caribbean creative economy has been dubbed one of the region’s greatest growth opportunities in amongst others the well-known study “The Orange Economy: an Infinite Opportunity” by  Felipe Buitrago Restrepo and Iván Duque Márquez.  An earlier announced speaker, awarded movie director Ignas van Schaick, also befits this economic bracket.


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