Sidebar

Magazine menu

08
Sun, Dec

English | Spanish

Dear Reader,

“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”
- Dean Kamen

Today we are launching the latest edition of the Social Innovations Journal, “Latin America 2019: Edition 58.” This edition brings us full circle since we began 2019 with an introspective look at innovation in Latin America, and now in the final months of the year we are again returning to Latin America to provide you with a fresh look at innovation and its best practices. While there continues to be a thread of continuity across these editions, specifically breakthrough innovations focused on social mobility and empowerment of underserved communities. We also see in this edition a new perspective on these issues -- the reframing of challenges into opportunities that bring a community together in identifying and executing solutions.

We are excited to bring you organizations fighting to make health care more equitable like Blooders, a project that revamped the blood donation process through technology to increase dwindling blood supplies. The Uniminuto model which continues to improve social mobility through access to higher education for those at the bottom rung of the economic ladder in Colombia, that has now been successfully adopted in West Africa. And, Co-Meta in Jalisco, Mexico, making significant strides in promoting opportunities for women with train the trainer programs to advance empowerment efforts from educational opportunities to the workforce. 

There is new light being shed on old challenges with the collaborative work of Socialab as they embrace a social concern and collectively revision this concern as a challenge that requires the contributions of the entire community. The Escalera Foundation is looking beyond school dropout rates to find the root cause and utilizing incentives in innovative ways to support youth continuing their secondary school educations. Efforts to protect nationally, and globally, significant biodiversity in Mexico is taking place by mainstreaming biodiversity friendly management practices in productive landscapes in priority biological corridors. And, finally, this edition shares the top findings of the Corona Foundation’s decade-long work on inclusive employment practices to deliver the best practices and models on how to create a more inclusive employment market.

Our latest edition was curated by Maria-Alejandra Navas, our Journal’s international director, who brings authors from across Latin America together to provide myriad approaches to social concerns that are being tackled by social entrepreneurs from small startups to world-renowned foundations. We are excited to share the stories of the innovators of this edition who are cultivating a culture of hope and shifting the paradigm of their communities through impact from environmental sustainability to health care to education to women empowerment. Their collective energy and vision are reshaping the lives of those most in need and creating a path forward for a modern Latin America, and the world, as exemplified in the inspiring stories and work of these Changemakers.

We hope you not only learn new approaches but are inspired with a new perspective in addressing the concerns that too often threaten to stall human progress, but in reality, are only part of our journey to a better, brighter future for all.

Yours in innovation,

Alejandra Navas, International Director
Alescia M. Dingle, Managing Editor
Mike Clark, President
Nicholas Torres and Tine Hansen-Turton, Co-founders

  


Summary of the “Latin America 2019: Edition 58” articles: 

1. “Blooders: Transforming the Experiences of Donating Blood and Changing Paradigms”

by César Esquivel and Gisell Silva

Blooders is known for developing technology that transforms the Voluntary Blood Donation Activity into a positive experience. They have launched the first digital platform in LATAM which connect people who need blood with non-remunerated voluntary donors and hospitals to enhance the donation experience. If there is a patient that has encountered an emergency and needs blood, the mobile application allows the community to interact quickly and easily and enables members to help in the process of recruiting voluntary blood donors to meet the patient’s needs. Furthermore, Blooders developed an interactive website with a digital chatbot agent available 24/7 to interact with the community and a blood bank management system with visionary features. 

 

2. “Innovative Experience of International Cooperation for the Transference of a Higher Education Model Between Colombia and Ivory Coast”

by Jorge Enrique Gallego Vásquez and Ana María Cifuentes Camacho

The Minuto de Dios University (UNIMINUTO), is a higher education institution with a presence in Colombia for more than 27 years, during which time it has focused on providing opportunities for access to higher education to the population located at the base of the country’s economic pyramid. Through the national experiences, UNIMINUTO has provided two higher education institutions with support in their growth for the last ten years. This experience as well as its international recognitions,  prepared the transference of this model to other developing countries, which established a roadmap from the systematization of the model to become a standard of higher education that can be replicated in similar social and economic environments, as in the case of West Africa. 

 

3. “SOCIALAB: Making an Impact by Providing Solutions for the World”

by Valentina González

SociaLab works as a company with a strong focus on social impact, that researches and highlights problems that are affecting communities, regions, or the world. Then, with the help of different organizations, these problems become challenges. It calls upon creative minds, with talent and diverse knowledge, that are part of the SociaLab open innovation global platform, and society in general, to submit ideas that might end or mitigate the effects of the said problem. The focus is also on how these ideas also have the potential to become companies that might provide new opportunities, such as the same organizations that once supported them. In other words, SociaLab is concerned with broadening the impact and efficiency of sustainability strategies, innovation, and communication of both public and private organizations. Their work is achieved through the support of sustainable entrepreneurship ideas that have the potential to become part of the public agenda. 

 

4. “Finding the Best Incentives for Youth in Mexico to Continue Studying”

by Myriam Hernández Vázquez

Since 2013, the Escalera Foundation has generated evidence of the most efficient types of incentives to reduce school dropout rates in the most marginalized area of Mexico, the state of Chiapas. Through randomized controlled trials, the REACH program has assessed the effects of providing subsidies or subsidies and motivational materials to young people who are transitioning from junior high to high school. The latest results of this program indicate that, in general, subsidies have a positive effect on school continuity, even more so if these subsidies are accompanied with motivational content (showing an increase of six percentage points). Along with this evidence, Escalera identifies various relevant factors to ensure success in its programs that are focused on combatting school dropout rates among rural and indigenous populations.

 

5. “A Mexican Experience with the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity: Transformative Insights for a Global Challenge”

by Pablo Fregoso

Coordinated work for biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability with the World Bank, the Global Environment Fund, and the Mexican government started in 1996, especially targeting the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. In that context, a new initiative was developed to promote mainstreaming biodiversity conservation with productive landscapes between 2012 and 2017. The specific objective of the project development was to conserve and protect nationally and globally significant biodiversity in Mexico through mainstreaming biodiversity friendly management practices in productive landscapes in priority biological corridors. This project implied a shift from original conservationist perspectives about the environment towards a view of productive and sustainable use of natural resources with a particular emphasis on the biological corridor region. 

 

6. “Co-Meta: A Collective Impact Experience to Promote the Economic Empowerment of Women in Jalisco: The Problem of the Empowerment of Low Economic Women”

by Magdalena Rodríguez

Following international trends, in Mexico today, only 42 percent of women older than 15 years old are employed compared with 75 of men of the same age according to the Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE). In 2016, ProSociedad set forth a proposal to develop a program to train social organizations and the public sector already involved directly or indirectly with the economic empowerment of women.  Co-Meta was formed in the framework of a macro project entitled “Jalisco Sin Hambre” (Jalisco Without Hunger) financed by CONACYT and the Secretary of Innovation, Science, and Technology of Mexico with the leadership of ITESO, the Tecnológico de Monterrey, among other academic institutions. 

 

7. “Learnings on Inclusive Employment in Colombia”

by Daniela Matiz and Germán Barragán 

Corona Foundation is a second-floor family foundation that has been working for the betterment of Colombia during the past 56 years. In 2011, the foundation assumed the second-floor role and started working in the area of strategy with a focus on monitoring and learning from initiatives and creating models that can be replicable on its two lines of action: education oriented to employment and education for participation. After nearly a decade of research in these topics, lessons learned can be included in the development of the Model of Inclusive Employment that this article best describes.  

English | Spanish

Estimado Lector, 

“De vez en cuando, una nueva tecnología, un viejo problema y una gran idea se convierten en una innovación.” 

- Dean Kamen 

Hoy estamos presentando nuestra más reciente edición del Social Innovations Journal, “América Latina 2019: Edición 58.” Esta edición nos permite completar el círculo que comenzamos a principios de 2019 con una mirada introspectiva de la innovación en América Latina, y ahora, en los últimos meses del año, regresamos a América Latina para mostrarles una nueva mirada de la innovación y sus mejores prácticas. Mientras sigue existiendo un hilo conductor a lo largo de estas ediciones, específicamente en lo que se refiere a innovaciones novedosas enfocadas en la movilidad social y el empoderamiento de comunidades desatendidas, lo que estamos viendo, en realidad, es una nueva perspectiva sobre estos temas – un replanteamiento de los desafíos en oportunidades que reúnen a la comunidad en la identificación y ejecución de soluciones.  

Nos entusiasma mostrarles organizaciones que están luchando porque la salud sea más equitativa como Blooders, un proyecto que ha renovado el proceso de donación de sangre a través de la tecnología para aumentar los disminuidos suministros de sangre. El modelo de Uniminuto que continúa mejorando la movilidad social a través del acceso a la educación superior para aquellos en el nivel inferior de la escala económica en Colombia y que ahora está siendo adoptado exitosamente en Costa de Marfil. Y Co-Meta en Jalisco, México, hacienda avances significativos para promover oportunidades para las mujeres con programas para formar a los formadores para adelantar esfuerzos de empoderamiento a partir de oportunidades educativas para la fuerza laboral.   

Hay una nueva luz que ilumina viejos desafíos con el trabajo colaborativo de SociaLab al adoptar una problema social y revisarlo colectivamente como un desafío que requiere las contribuciones de toda la comunidad. La Fundación Escalera está mirando más allá de las tasas de deserción escolar de los jóvenes y encontrar su causa principal con el fin de utilizar incentivos en formas innovadoras para apoyar a estos jóvenes para que continúen sus estudios superiores. Los esfuerzos por proteger nacional y globalmente la significativa biodiversidad en México están siendo llevados a cabo mediante la incorporación de prácticas de manejo amigables con la biodiversidad en paisajes productivos en corredores biológicos prioritarios.  Finalmente, esta edición comparte los principales hallazgos de más de diez años de trabajo de la  Fundación Corona en las prácticas de empleo inclusivo para entregar las mejores prácticas y modelos de cómo crear un mercado laboral más inclusivo en Colombia.  

Esta edición fue dirigida por María Alejandra Navas, nuestra directora de ediciones internacionales, quien reunió autores de América Latina para darnos innumerables enfoques sobre preocupaciones sociales que están siendo abordadas por emprendedores sociales desde pequeñas start-ups hasta fundaciones reconocidas mundialmente. Nos sentimos entusiasmados de compartir las historias de los innovadores de esta edición quienes están cultivando una cultura de esperanza y están cambiando el paradigma de sus comunidades a través del impacto desde la sostenibilidad ambiental hasta la salud, de la educación al empoderamiento de mujeres. Su energía colectiva y su visión están reestructurando las vidas de los más necesitados y están creando el camino  de la esperanza y el potencial de un mañana, no sólo en América Latina sino en todo el mundo, tal como lo muestran las historias inspiradoras y el trabajo de estos Artífices del Cambio.  

 Esperamos que no sólo conozca nuevos enfoques sino también inspirarlo con una nueva perspectiva para solucionar los problemas que tan frecuentemente amenazan con estancar el progreso humano, pero que, en realidad, solo son parte de nuestra jornada hacia un mejor y más brillante futuro para todos.  

De ustedes en la innovación, 

Alejandra Navas, International Director
Alescia M. Dingle, Managing Editor
Mike Clark, President
Nicholas Torres and Tine Hansen-Turton, Co-founders

  


Summary of the “Latin America 2019:Edition 58” articles: 

1. “Blooders: Transformando la Experiencia de Donar Sangre y Cambiando Paradigmas”

by César Esquivel and Gisell Silva 

Blooders is known for developing technology that transforms the Voluntary Blood Donation Activity into a positive experience. They have launched the first digital platform in LATAM which connect people who need blood with non-remunerated voluntary donors and hospitals to enhance the donation experience. If there is a patient that has encountered an emergency and needs blood, the mobile application allows the community to interact quickly and easily, and enables members to help in the process of recruiting voluntary blood donors to meet the patient’s needs. Furthermore, Blooders developed an interactive website with a digital chatbot agent available 24/7 to interact with the community and a blood bank management system with visionary features.  

2. “Experiencia Innovadora de Cooperación Internacional para la Transferencia de un Modelo de Educación Superior entre Colombia y Costa de Marfil”

by Jorge Enrique Gallego Vásquez and Ana María Cifuentes Camacho 

The Minuto de Dios University (UNIMINUTO), is a higher education institution with a presence in Colombia for more than 27 years, during which time it has focused on providing opportunities for access to higher education to the population located at the base of the country’s economic pyramid. Through the national experiences, UNIMINUTO has provided two higher education institutions with support in their growth for the last ten years. This experience as well as its international recognitions,  prepared the transference of this model to other developing countries, which established a roadmap from the systematization of the model to become a standard of higher education that can be replicated in similar social and economic environments, as in the case of West Africa.  

3. “SociaLab: Impactar con Soluciones para el Sector Público y Privado”.

by Valentina González 

SociaLab works as a company with a strong focus on social impact, that researches and highlights problems that are affecting communities, regions, or the world. Then, with the help of different organizations, these problems become challenges. It calls upon creative minds, with talent and diverse knowledge, that are part of the SociaLab open innovation global platform, and society in general, to submit ideas that might end or mitigate the effects of the said problem. The focus is also on how these ideas also have the potential to become companies that might provide new opportunities, such as the same organizations that once supported them. In other words, SociaLab is concerned with broadening the impact and efficiency of sustainability strategies, innovation, and communication of both public and private organizations. Their work is achieved through the support of sustainable entrepreneurship ideas that have the potential to become part of the public agenda.  

4. “Encontrando los Mejores Incentivos para que los Jóvenes de México Continúen Estudiando”.

by Myriam Hernández Vázquez

Since 2013, the Escalera Foundation has generated evidence of the most efficient types of incentives to reduce school dropout rates in the most marginalized area of Mexico, the state of Chiapas. Through randomized controlled trials, the REACH program has assessed the effects of providing subsidies or subsidies and motivational materials to young people who are transitioning from junior high to high school. The latest results of this program indicate that, in general, subsidies have a positive effect on school continuity, even more so if these subsidies are accompanied with motivational content (showing an increase of six percentage points). Along with this evidence, Escalera identifies various relevant factors to ensure success in its programs that are focused on combatting school dropout rates among rural and indigenous populations. 

5. “Una Experiencia Mexicana para el Aprovechamiento Sostenible de la Biodiversidad: Perspectivas Transformadoras para un Desafío Global”

by Pablo Fregoso 

Coordinated work for biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability with the World Bank, the Global Environment Fund, and the Mexican government started in 1996, especially targeting the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. In that context, a new initiative was developed to promote mainstreaming biodiversity conservation with productive landscapes between 2012 and 2017. The specific objective of the project development was to conserve and protect nationally and globally significant biodiversity in Mexico through mainstreaming biodiversity friendly management practices in productive landscapes in priority biological corridors. This project implied a shift from original conservationist perspectives about the environment towards a view of productive and sustainable use of natural resources with a particular emphasis on the biological corridor region.  

6. “Co-Meta: Una Experiencia de Impacto Colectivo para Impulsar el Empoderamiento Económico de las Mujeres en Jalisco”.

by Magdalena Rodríguez 

Following international trends, in Mexico today, only 42 percent of women older than 15 years old are employed compared with 75 of men of the same age according to the Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE). In 2016, ProSociedad set forth a proposal to develop a program to train social organizations and the public sector already involved directly or indirectly with the economic empowerment of women.  Co-Meta was formed in the framework of a macro project entitled “Jalisco Sin Hambre” (Jalisco Without Hunger) financed by CONACYT and the Secretary of Innovation, Science, and Technology of Mexico with the leadership of ITESO, the Tecnológico de Monterrey, among other academic institutions.  

7. “Aprendizajes sobre Empleo Inclusivo en Colombia”

by Daniela Matiz and Germán Barragán 

Corona Foundation is a second-floor family foundation that has been working for the betterment of Colombia during the past 56 years. In 2011, the foundation assumed the second-floor role and started working in the area of strategy with a focus on monitoring and learning from initiatives and creating models that can be replicable on its two lines of action: education oriented to employment and education for participation. After nearly a decade of research in these topics, lessons learned can be included in the development of the Model of Inclusive Employment that this article best describes.   

Dear Reader,

See others as yourself. See families as your family. See towns as your town. See countries as your country. See worlds as your world.

-Lao Tzu

Today, we are releasing the latest edition of the Social Innovations Journal, Edition 57: “Asia 2019: A Dynamic Social Innovation Ecosystem,” curated by the Journal’s International Director Alejandra Navas that features social innovators from across Asia. These innovators are reenvisioning societal issues and finding ways to work collaboratively with communities, partner organizations, government, for-profit business, and academia to uncover solutions to the challenges that too often divide us. According to the United Nations, there are 48 countries in Asia and the harsh reality of poverty is felt across these geographic boundaries. In response to the crippling poverty across the continent exacerbated by the rise in climate concerns, dwindling resources, growing populations of elderly, health care inequality, mass urbanization, and more, Asia is a fertile ground for social innovation to take root.

According to the Asian Development Bank, the Asia and Pacific regions have the largest number of poor citizens with 63 percent of the world’s poor living in this area in 2008. Social entrepreneurs across Asia view these challenges as opportunities to disrupt the status quo in order to grow social innovation as not only a response but a sustainable solution to eradicate these issues. Through information, knowledge, financial resources, and technology -- Asia’s social engineers are changing the trajectory of the region by promoting a dynamic social innovation ecosystem that will provide answers to the communities’ problems that these innovators have embraced as their own opportunities.

Social innovation is leveraged to tackle unmet social needs that oftentimes government cannot solve independently -- an out-of-the-box approach to solve societal problems across Asia is not only innovative, it is critical.

The Hope Institute research team, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, investigated how social innovation practices have been put into effect in Asian countries and how they have influenced its societies.[i] This research strongly supports the core principle that “social innovation is neither context-free nor value-neutral”.[ii]

Despite, growth across Asia, not all people have reaped the benefits and social innovation is responding to this by redistributing resources, providing access to quality health care, improving educational opportunities, among other key initiatives. Social innovation has a pivotal role in creating a more robust and dynamic Asia for all people today, tomorrow, and generations to come. 

The articles highlighted in this edition came as part of Alejandra’s tireless efforts to identify edge social innovations that best demonstrate the dedication that Asia’s social innovators bring to meet the challenges of the region by not only embracing the community and its issues but also through empowering the communities as part of the long-term solutions. We hope that you are inspired by the work and commitment of the authors featured in this edition and that you continue to embrace communities in need as your own. The issues found in this edition are our shared challenges; we ask that you seek to become part of the collective solution.


Yours in innovation and change,

Nicholas Torres and Tine Hanson-Turton, Co-founders
Alejandra Navas, International Director

Mike Clark, President and Alescia Dingle, Managing Editor



Article Summaries 

Light Be: Redefining Urban Poverty Alleviation with Innovations in Social Housing

By Lehui Liang

Hong Kong is well-known globally for being the most expensive housing market. Encapsulated in unaffordable housing are the plethora of socioeconomic issues such as domestic abuse, social isolation, and a lack of opportunities for upward mobility, to name a few -- all of which entrap local families in a vicious cycle of urban poverty. In the face of this seemingly unsolvable conundrum lies the belief of Ricky Yu, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Light Be, that every Hong Konger deserves the dignity of decent living and a chance to uplift themselves. Starting as an “outsider” to Hong Kong’s real estate and social welfare circles, Light Be pioneered the concept of “social realty.”

 

Samatoa: Weaving A Lasting Connection and Empowering the Search For Excellence

By Awen Delaval

Samatoa is a social textile enterprise focusing on the values of fair trade and sustainable development to create an alternative to the textile industry. Creating the greenest and most innovative textile in the world, Samatoa was recognized in 2012 by the UNESCO Prize for Excellence. The lotus fabric enables the creation of a workshop of 30 people with exceptional know how. The fabrics are innovative, 100 percent ecological, spun and woven by hand, and follow traditional Cambodian methods giving them a special texture and unique properties. From these exclusive materials Samatoa develops different patterns and high-quality scarves bringing a new way for Cambodian women to empower themselves, “get out of the mud” and blossom, just like the lotus flower, that Samatoa’s textiles are created using.

 

Sense Innovations: We listen to Eyeses

By Jane Lee and Stanley Fu 

Stanley Fu, the COO of Sense Innovations, is an example of someone who took a life passion and used it to make a positive impact on those with special needs as part of his vision that has empowered more than 600 individuals today. It is an unfortunate reality that while there are opportunities for the special needs population to be assisted and supported, there are not many opportunities for them to further their potential to do more. With eye-tracking technology and dedicated one-on-one training programs, individuals with disabilities are provided with new avenues of learning and communication methods to truly maximize their potential. This article sheds light on the vision of Sense Innovation, the progress they have made, and where they plan to go from here by listening to eyes.  

 

When Psychology Meets Technology: An Innovative Approach

By Isabel Li

Like in other developed countries, mental health is one of the major concerns for overburdened citizens in Hong Kong. In 2016, the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong published a “Mental Health Review Report” (2), in which it was estimated that about 1.7 million out of eight million citizens in Hong Kong have different levels of mental illnesses. TheraTalk is a multi-disciplinary initiative with experts in psychology and counseling, counseling research, marketing and business, start-ups, technology, and design that facilitates the technology-based mental health services provision in Hong Kong. By featuring a variety of online counseling services, including free mental health screening and consultation, one-off psychological consultations, periodical text-based counseling and regular text-based counseling services at the initial stage, TheraTalk is destigmatizing mental health issues and bringing help to people where they are.  

 

Glasgow Caledonian University: The Dictatorship of No Alternative

By Mark Anderson

Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland has become increasingly recognized as a leader in the  field of social innovation for its pioneering work in embedding international social innovation networks in universities. The Southeast Asian Social Innovation Network (SEASIN) (http://www.seasin-eu.org/) has been established between eight HEIs in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Cambodia along with four non-HEI social innovation organizations and three European universities. The approach argues that universities should support social innovation in a systematic way beyond ad hoc initiatives and sporadic activism. All of these projects seek to demonstrate the potential of universities to use their knowledge by developing new paradigms and tools for targeted exchange between actors from all sectors of society. At the same time, they have demonstrated how universities can learn from other organizations with experience in the field to further support social innovation.  

 

Zunosaki: Improving Quality Of Life Of Disabled

By Alvin Cheung

Zunosaki Limited, established in 2015, is a Hong Kong based robotic technology venture founded on the mission of tackling health care accessibility while improving the quality of life of disabled people. The start-up empowers community health care service providers with affordable solutions through the design and development of affordable robotic products for physical rehabilitation.

 

Peek Me Naturals: Impacting Health Paradigms

By Arlin Chondro

Founded in 2016, Peek.Me Naturals is a health care social enterprise in Indonesia. This innovative disruptor didn't start with the founder's degree in medicine or public health, instead it began close to home, from her search to provide a better remedy for her son suffering with asthma. After finding that aromatherapy worked for her son and also reduced her household's health care spending, Peek.Me Naturals’ founder wanted to share this information with all Indonesian people and the world to improve their quality of life and change their health paradigm.