Kaie Kotov

Padmare LLC, Tallinn, Estonia

Kaie Kotov is a semiotic expert and consultant, founder and CEO in semiotic insight company Padmare (former Mängiv Inimene). She specialises in social innovation, working with social innovation co-design accelerators in Estonia. Her academic research is on community-based innovation, focusing on the role of habits in the social dynamics and institutional change.

Kaie has 10 years of experience teaching applied semiotics and visual semiotics in major universities in Estonia. She also has served as a semiotic expert in several legal disputes over trademark violation. She is not just a semiotician but a documentary maker and yoga practitioner too. Kaie led the organization of the excellent Semiofest, 2016 in Tallinn.


Kaie writes:

“Semiotics gives us a powerful tool to look beyond the common and the known and have alternatives. Signs are habits and innovation begins when our habits no longer serve us. However, habits are also very hard to change, because they have deep roots both in semiotic and physical reality: they form the core of our identity and they carve themselves deeply into our infrastructure – tools, streets, cars etc. They cause a sort of inertia. I am particularly passionate about the concept of social innovation as re-habiting and in my eyes this highlights the necessity of semiotic thinking in every segment or industry where we’re looking for a transformational shift.

I led the bid to bring Semiofest to Tallinn in 2016 because I wanted to mediate between academic semiotic research and applied semiotic thinking, to bring them closer together and to learn the possibilities and tools of commercial semiotics, from experts and their experiences worldwide, and to encourage semiotics students to widen their understanding of what roles a semiotician might have in the world.”

Other members

Hamsini Shivakumar

Co-Founder, Semiofest

Pavla Hind

Community Co-Ordinator, Semiofest

Kaie Kotov

Padmare LLC, Tallinn, Estonia

Sarah Johnson

Principal, Athena Brand Wisdom, Toronto