Thaïs Franken Obtains her Masters of Science in Maastricht

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On Augustus 29th 2019 Thaïs Franken successfully defended her thesis titled “The Road Towards an Innovative Aruba: A Q-Analysis on the Synergy Between the Creative Industry and Knowledge Economy as a Driver to Stimulate Socio-Economic Development in Aruba’s Local Innovation System” before the Graduation Committee consisting of dr. Serdar Türkeli and Mr. Otiama Chuks. With this she obtained her double Masters of Science (MSc.) degree in Public Policy and Human Development at the University of Maastricht (UM) y the United Nations University Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT).

Back in 2018 Thaïs graduated from the Universidad di Aruba (UA) and investigated the possible socio-economic and cultural development impact of the Aruban Creative Industry. The thesis titled “Placing Culture at the Heart of Aruba’s Sustainable Development” was also successful and received the “best thesis award” for the academic year 2017-2018. In Maastricht taking into account her passion for innovation and sustainable development, Thaïs decided to specialize in Innovation, Institutions and Development, and once more dedicated her thesis to her dearest island, Aruba. This time her thesis focused on the possible synergy (policy-wise) between the Aruban Creative Industry and Knowledge Economy to stimulate more innovation on the island.

Thaïs completed a Q-Method research study which is known as a mixed research method where simply qualitative data is quantified with the purpose of providing evidence-based recommendations for policy practice and further research. A total of 28 relevant stakeholders in Aruba representing the public sector, private sector, academia, non-government organizations (NGOs) and the community of Aruba participated in this research. From the results it can be concluded that Aruba is still not ready for a synergy between the Creative Industry and Knowledge Economy, even though theories and previous research indicate that this is the best way to stimulate innovative development in a country. However, the results also show that the stakeholders do recognize the relationship between creativity, knowledge and innovation. This means that the road towards and innovative Aruba is possible but will require concrete and inclusive evidence-based policy making. Thaïs concludes her report with a list of recommendations and highlights that all stakeholders need to start considering the development of both creativity (culture) and knowledge (e.g fields in science, technology, engineering and math) as complementary and important for the innovative future of Aruba.

In the end, Thaïs thanks everyone who participated in making her research a reality. The intention now is to share her results with the participants and the entire Aruban community. For those who are interested in the dialogue regarding innovation through creativity and knowledge can follow her column in Aruba Today called “Creative Islander” bi-weekly on Thursdays. The road towards a sustainable and innovative Aruba through this synergy is extremely important and necessary. It might be a road with challenges, but for sure not impossible. For any questions or more information regarding this research you can freely contact Thaïs through email:

Aruba Today is proud of her columnist! Thais writes bi weekly on Thursday for our newspaper and how she is graduated. As we say in Papiamento: Pabien Thais!q