Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of the creation of a Knowledge Zone (K‐Zone) in Curaçao to provide an insight into how a Knowledge Zone is established. After devising a vision, strategic alliances were formed. This created synergy and momentum, giving the project and process a life of their own. Design/methodology/approach – The project of creating a K‐Zone is based on a theoretical framework which draws upon the notion of a creative class, and how it can be attracted to a specific location. It also deploys change management methodology, which describes how change is implemented. The theory states that creativity will drive the economy in the future and that societies that are able to attract the creative class will excel. It is not clear what attracts the creative class but it is believed that a certain life style, concentrations of peers and virtual and physical connectivity are essential. To create these conditions some changes must be implemented and these changes are often resisted in the beginning. Findings – Knowledge Zones can be created if there is a clear shared vision, leadership and alliances that forge synergies. The project was started in 2010 by the UNA under the presidency of Dr Miguel Goede, the Rector Magnificus of the University of the Netherlands Antilles. With the support of the Board of Supervisors, the UNA entered/sought alliances with the nearby Carmabi Research Institute and the neighbouring school for nurses, which opened a new school building within the designated zone. The UNA also provided the impetus to start a campaign to construct a new hospital that was planned for the area neighbouring the university and to start a school of medicine. But the breakthrough came when the local telecom provider, United Telecommunication Services (UTS), decided to provide the university with dedicated internet connections that were capable of the highest speed available on the island. Originality/value – The paper contributes to a framework for understanding the creative economy of Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean and how change can be implemented in these settings.
Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 24, 2012
Keywords: Curaçao; Netherlands Antilles; Caribbean; Globalization; Change management; Strategic alliances; Knowledge economy; Creative economy; Small islands developing states
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