Cultural change is treated as a strategic enabler through the promotion and leverage of activities and initiatives across the education system, our society, the industry and the state, in order to nurture a culture of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Cyprus education system, including life-long learning, has a leading and decisive role to play in developing fundamental skills, competences and character qualities required by the workforce of the 21st century, in order to adapt and excel in a rapidly changing technological environment. It is, moreover, instrumental, in developing societal values, perceptions and culture on creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, defining career choices and future professional behavior of the young generation. Innovation and entrepreneurial capacity of the human capital, can be supported through the promotion of STE(A)M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education, from a young age, providing particular attention to the share of female students following STE(A)M education. Exposing students to activities promoting creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship at all levels of education (from nursery school to University) will support the development of the desired culture. Enhancing existing private and voluntary initiatives, such as university-wide business and innovation competitions, technology boot camps, hackathons, conferences & workshops, coaching and mentoring schemes, will assist in promoting startup and entrepreneurial spirit. Adopting Knowledge Transfer, as one of the fundamental missions of public and private Universities will enhance an innovation culture within Universities.
The business sector should be sufficiently educated on the benefits of innovation and knowledge transfer, while strengthening its links with the academic and research community. At the same time, enterprises should be supported in innovation capacity building, through professional consulting, coaching and mentoring programs.
Nurturing a culture of creativity and innovation could not leave out the Government and public sector, as a key, knowledge-intensive sector, with the ability to act as a multiplier of knowledge and culture in the society. Within this context, the public sector can play a vital role in fostering a wider culture of innovation, through knowledge generation, service delivery and dissemination of information, but also through its role as an important buyer of high added-value products and services. Along with the same lines, supporting innovation in the public sector would require to remove current obstacles and provide incentives to employees to participate in collaborative research and innovation activities.
Public awareness and innovation culture can be built gradually, aiming at medium and long term objectives; it will be however accelerated by having in place an effective and operational national R&I ecosystem as well as through the first success stories emerging at national level. Young innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs should have around them examples to look up to in order to invest and start new ventures. To this end, early success stories will be intensively promoted to further enhance a culture of entrepreneurship, while an invitation should be extended to successful Cypriot entrepreneurs living and working abroad, to come to Cyprus and provide inspiration and encouragement to local community and workforce.