The Orange economy is sometimes also referred to as the Creative economy. It includes industries such as digital media, software development, visual arts and advertising. Curaçao Investment and Export Promotion Agency (CINEX) hosted its two-day Smart Investment Summit on August 28th and 29th featuring an inspiring range of presentations on this subject. Topics included Smart Cities, Sustainable Development Goals, the need for automating services and the potential for technology to improve the quality of life.
This was the fourth edition of the summit and it was attended by local and international entrepreneurs and businesspeople, educators, representatives from the government and tech industry professionals. The event took place in the run up to the Curaçao North Sea Jazz festival and attendees had the option to avail of a package that included tickets to the music event as well as the summit. Indeed, music played a key role throughout the event with karaoke and musical interludes between speakers.
Some of the highlights of the summit were presentations by multi-talented, serial entrepreneur Jeff Hoffman, Gianluca Galletto, co-founder of Smart City NYC and Boris Koprivnikar former Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia.
Jeff Hoffman spoke about his perception of entrepreneurship as an exercise in solving problems. He suggested replacing the word entrepreneur with “self-determinator” and emphasised the need for people to step up and fix things instead of complaining about what is wrong. In the final words of his presentation he told the CINEX audience, “Next time you see something that you don’t like, don’t say, ‘They should do something about that’. There is no they. It’s you.”
With a long list of successes under his belt, Jeff knows a thing or two about innovation. As well as founding multiple startups, he has produced a $100 million grossing horror movie and a Grammy-winning jazz album, written a bestselling book on entrepreneurship and currently serves on the boards of several companies across the globe.
Gianluca Galletto is Principal and Managing Director of Global Futures Group which advises governments and businesses on how to improve the urban and business ecosystem and environment. He talked about the fragility of communities and the importance of investing in people. Echoing several other presentations from the summit, Gianluca observed that economic and social success cannot be accomplished without participation from everybody in the economy and advocated a holistic and integrated approach to planning based on reliable data.
Gianluca began advising New York City after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the result was OneNYC 2050, a blueprint for the future of New York with the objective of making it the most resilient, equitable and sustainable city in the world by 2050. Launched in 2015, the plan is well on its way and has already celebrated at least one considerable achievement. 6 years ago, New York had a tech industry just 10% of the size of its counterpart in Silicon Valley. Now it’s more like 50%.
Boris Koprivnikar is CEO of Sincular Consulting which advises governments and businesses on sustainable, inclusive solutions for circular growth. As Deputy Prime Minister in Slovenia, he played a key role in helping to implement technology that reduces the time spent by citizens on bureaucracy. Boris’s experience in Slovenia showed that the most important starting block is to talk to people and find out what they need. Never exclude anybody. We can only move forward if everybody is included.
“The world today is one big organism” he says, “We are part of it whether we want to be or not. The decision is whether we want to be close to the brain of this organism or somewhere else. Being close to the brain means being connected and it all comes down to data. Data is the oil of the future.”
Boris spoke about the importance of creating a technology ecosystem as a means to grow and attract startups. Technology knows no borders, he says, and a smart community is a connected community. A successful tech environment will also need to work together with ecosystems of co-operation such as industry, science, academia, education, civil society and government. As such, virtually every part of society is involved in growing and nurturing tech.