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“True leadership only exists if people follow when they have the freedom not to.”
- Jim Collins

Introduction

After more than 20 years leading and interacting with leaders AND over 10 years teaching Leadership at the university and professional level, we’ve developed an understanding of the differences among leaders who are in a position of authority but fail to lead and individuals who regardless of position, lead.  At the most simplistic framing, we believe that society is at a critical juncture and we are playing witness to a slow shift of the leadership paradigm from recognizing people in positions of authority to recognizing leaders based upon merit, leadership behaviors, and social impact. Finally, as a collective, we are developing tools to distinguish between show horses and plow horses. It’s time to recognize those leaders who spend most of their time doing the work -- and not seeking recognition. 

Context/Leadership Messages

Leadership Message 1

Our favorite and preferred text, when teaching leadership, is Good to Great and the Social Sectors by Jim Collins as it defines Level 5 Leader behaviors and makes a distinction for social vs. private sector leadership. Collins states that a key difference of a Level 5 leader is that “type 5 leaders are ambitious first and foremost for the cause, the movement, the mission, the work -- not themselves -- and they have the will to do whatever it takes to make good on that ambition.” In many cases, we’ve watched amazing leaders stop leading as soon as they’ve achieved a position of authority as they shift from leading for the cause to “protecting” their position of authority and/or compromising their values for the benefit of the organization/institution they represent. We encourage aspiring leaders to remind themselves to hold true to their leadership attributes no matter what position they get into. 

Leadership Message 2

When teaching leadership we also emphasize that there is a clear distinction between leaders and managers. Many social sector organizations, as appropriate, need great managers, internal leaders, who primarily focus on the internal operations/functions of an organization. Society leaders are unique from internal leaders (i.e. managers) in that they are looking beyond one’s own organization to the larger issues at hand. They lead movements when not in positions of authority and people rally behind them because they are willing to be the Social Innovators, Social Entrepreneurs, and System and Policy Change Agents. These individuals challenge the status quo and they guide people into becoming better versions of themselves. 

We’ve outlined the primary competencies and behaviors of leaders who exhibit society leadership characteristics.

Social Entrepreneur Leadership Behaviors

Social entrepreneurs possess confidence, persistence, and knowledge; however, probably the most important thing they have going for them is motivation to achieve a long-term goal that is deeply meaningful to them. 

“Social entrepreneurs are innovative, resourceful, and results oriented. They draw upon the best thinking in both the business and nonprofit worlds to develop strategies that maximize their social impact. These entrepreneurial leaders operate in all kinds of organizations: large and small; new and old; religious and secular; nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid. These organizations comprise the ‘social sector.’ ” i

“They are the mavericks who refuse to accept the status quo. They look at the world, are dissatisfied with what they see, and resolve to change it. They are both dreamers and doers; imagining a brighter future and setting about making that dream into a reality. They are true entrepreneurs; innovators who are passionate and resourceful, who are prepared to take risks and who apply their energy, drive, and ambition to effecting social change…”ii

The six qualitiesiii of successful social entrepreneurs

  1. Willingness to Self-Correct --  Because of their motivation, successful entrepreneurs are highly self-correcting. The entrepreneurs’ inclination to self-correct stems from the attachment to a goal rather than to a particular approach or plan. The entrepreneur’s willingness to self-correct is vital to this continuous adaptive process.
  2. Willingness to Share Credit – It’s been said that “there is no limit to what you can achieve if you don’t care who gets the credit.” For entrepreneurs, a willingness to share credit lies along the “critical path” to success, simply because the more credit they share, the more people typically will want to help them. If an entrepreneur’s true intention is to make change happen, then sharing credit will come naturally.
  3. Willingness to Break Free of Established Structures -- Social entrepreneurs occasionally can be found in government and academia, although the incentive structures and institutional constraints act as deterrents. Those who initiate their ideas while teaching in universities usually step outside academia to build their organizations. More typically social entrepreneurs come from the citizen sector where they have a little more freedom to act and the distance to see beyond the orthodoxy in their fields. This is critical because all innovation entails the ability to separate from the past.
  4. Willingness to Cross Disciplinary Boundaries -- Think of this as “creative combining” or the process of creating new social compounds -- gathering together people’s ideas, experiences, skills, and resources in configuration that society is not naturally aligned to produce. Independence from established structures not only helps social entrepreneurs move away from prevailing assumptions, it gives them the opportunity to combine resources in a new way. Faced with whole problems, social entrepreneurs readily cross disciplinary boundaries, pulling together people from different spheres, with a multitude of of experience and expertise, who, together, can build workable solutions that are novel.
  5. Willingness to Work Quietly -- Jean Monnet, the architect of European Unification said, “People of ambition fall into two groups: those who want to do something and those who want to be someone.” Many social entrepreneurs spend decades quietly, steadily, and unremittingly advancing their ideas, influencing people in small groups or one-on-one. Often, they become recognized only after years of working in relative obscurity. A person must have a very pure motivation to push an idea so steadily for so long with so little fanfare.
  6. Strong Ethical Impetus -- It is meaningless to talk about social entrepreneurs without considering the ethical quality of their motivation: the why. Bornstein concludes that these people simply must do the work they do; they have no other choice. For instance, James Grant was described as having “boundless energy” and “limitless optimism” in addition to “complete lack of self-importance” and an “absolute refusal to accept that something could not be done.” 

Leadership Message 3

We believe that true leaders in the social sector influence policies and push for better and more positive systems change in their own sector. When creating and leading policy and systems change, we have found that there are generally two types of social sector organizations: service organizations that provide services and education and advocacy organizations whose purpose it is to raise awareness, ensure accountability, and influence provider and consumer systems and policies. Based on our experience, we have concluded that service organizations and their leaders cannot exist in isolation within their service bubbles, in order to be successful they also need to do policy and systems change work to influence the often unintended consequences of existing policy that may harm the consumers they serve. We find that most social sector leaders and their organizations don’t engage in the political or policy and education process, yet, if we take lessons from the high impact not-for-profits, as argued in Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High Impact Nonprofits, we will bridge the divide between service and advocacy for policy change at the local, state, and/or national level. All not-for-profits need service organizations to learn how to engage in systems and policy change. 

Philadelphia anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” It is particularly important to keep this quote in mind if you are a leader working in a small nonprofit or community-based organization. For small organizations with limited resources to dedicate to policy reform, challenging the status quo can often seem like an unwinnable David versus Goliath scenario, where leaders are forced to confront large, oftentimes national organizations connected to vast resources, powerful lobbyists, and an entrenched network of supportive elected officials. Although these odds may seem long, and at times discouraging, history has shown that Dr. Mead’s statement holds true. Time and time again, small groups of committed individuals and leaders offering novel solutions to the problems encountered by social policymakers have been able to break through the status quo and force change. We agree with Margaret Mead, and, clearly, so do the authors of contemporary literature when they write about successful leadership of nonprofits, as well as recent funding trends. Most not-for-profit service leaders don’t lead systems and policy change for a variety of reasons that include not wanting to “upset” the governmental funding sources that pay for the services they provide. These are valid reasons, but we argue that most leaders of not-for-profits don’t engage in systems and policy change simply because they have not done so in the past and have not developed the skills and tools necessary to effectively lead or engage in the process.  

All not-for-profits need a system and policy strategy in addition to focusing on social impact, for the simple reason that most not-for-profits will not scale, yet they have the potential to scale their social impact if they have leverage a parallel scaling impact strategy. Ironically, not-for-profits who engage in systems and policy change may not yield short-term direct benefits for their own organization, but in the long-term, they both advance the larger cause and will realize different but direct benefits.   

Social sector leaders should be key players in the public policy process for the simple reason that they are often closer to the consumer and better understand how social policies can be harmful. Not-for-profit service providers, because they serve end consumers, have a deeper and real-time understanding of their evolving needs and circumstances putting them in the position to educate and advocate for systems and policy changes.

So, what are the competencies needed to to lead policy and systems change? First and foremost, remember that Systems Change is a Collective Responsibility. The first step for a leader in creating and leading a policy and systems strategy is to clearly 1.) define the problem; 2.) understand the policy instruments; and 3.) understand and outline the cast of characters.

Problem Definition: Clearly define the issue, the current knowledge base and conditions, and determine if it is a federal or state issue. From this problem statement, one can build the rationalization for action and determine the plausibility on whether it stands a chance to influence the key system or policy actors.

Policy Instruments: Clearly define the means or options to influence the system or policy actors that include: 

  • Legal: State and Federal Courts.
  • Administrative: Issue regulatory orders with the assumption that the authority exists.
  • Legislative: Change in the law.
  • Negotiation: Bring all the parties to the table to reach an agreement.
  • Political: Create buy-in and an alliance with the key actor who has decision making authority. 
  • Media: Feed the press, social media, or other venues with consumable science.
  • Inertia: Do nothing and let the process go forward on its own momentum.

Cast of Characters: Clearly, understand the cast of characters on both sides of the issue, their motivations, and how any systems or policy change may positively or negatively personally influence them including money; power; and public perception. 

The cast of characters include:

  • Stakeholders/Consumers/Voters/Constituency;
  • Decision makers which can include legislative members; and
  • Influence Brokers which can include the President/Governor/Secretary/Commissioner and Industry leaders. 

To effectively define the cast of characters leaders and their teams will need to create a Policy Power Map as focus drives success. Keep in mind that the definition of lobby (as a verb) is: to try to influence public officials for or against a specific cause. So, in order to identify key stakeholders to influence, that will ultimately lead to policy or legislative change, you create a Power Map.  You ask: 1.) Who votes or influences this issue? 2.) When do they vote? 3.) What motivates these individuals or what influences their positions? 4.) For policymakers, what is their voting history? and 5.) Who influences these policymakers or individuals in influential positions?

Creating the Power Map

  1. Identify the Issue in context. E.g., here, you put the issue in the center.  
  2. Identify key decision-making institutions or associations that are related to this issue. Draw a ring around the issue. 
  3. Map People & Their Associations. Think about people who are connected to these key individuals or who influence them. (For example, supervisors, constituency groups, spouses, nonprofit or other organizations, companies, etc.) Essentially, you want to map how these key decision-makers are influenced and by whom. The purpose of this step is to help identify ways to access the individuals or institutions that could address the issue (in other words, the “dominoes”). At this step, also note any relationships that members of the group have with the people/entities listed and any information you have about them.
  4. Target Priority Relationships.  Ask: 1.) Does this person vote or influence this issue? How? 2.) When do they vote? 3.) What motivates this individual or what influences their position? 4.) What is this person’s voting history? and 5.) Who influences this official/policymaker?

The second step in creating and leading a policy and systems strategy is to clearly lay out the steps; defining a tactical plan and entering or creating negotiations/regulation/and legislative conversations.

Defining Steps: Define your constituency and clearly outline the impediments; define your strategy that includes attacking the industry and a coherent policy position on actions required by the industry to “get them down and then kick them while they are down.” Key to success is operating as though your agency has the authority and the resources to enforce a policy/systems change that forces opponents onto your playing field.

Defining a Tactical Plan: Define a required response by the industry you are attacking and assure them that their actions can be monitored and enforced within the resource base (or expected resource base) of the Agency. In addition, put into place a system to provide information to the media and structures to inform/influence/sway influence brokers.   

All this is doable and so is engaging with other social sector leaders, constituents, and government relations firms to support the efforts and help. 

Conclusion

We’ve concluded that great leadership is when the individual is able to put the cause and not themselves as the center of decision-making. In other words, it’s okay to be a self-centered leader but not a selfish leader. The best way to push a cause is to engage in policymaking and use the “power of the CEO-office” to push for policy and systems change, which is always needed in the nonprofit sector.   In addition, leadership is different than good management and can be best defined by the combined qualities of social entrepreneurs and system and policy change agents. Despite taking us out of our comfort zones, great leadership means looking beyond ourselves and our organizations and leading change from the front.

Finally, we need to always remember to keep ourselves in check as authority oftentimes gets the best of us. When we start spending more time protecting our position or making decisions in our own best interest than in what’s the best interest of the organization we stop leading. We need to be honest with ourselves, and in the interest of the common good, step aside and recognize leaders at all levels who exude their passion for the greater good and demonstrate their ability to lead others in spite of their roles or titles, or even themselves.

i www.fuqua.duke.edu/centers/case/about/whatissocialentrepreneurship/

ii www.socialentrepreneurs.ie/pages/social-entrepreneurs.php

iii Bornstein: How to Change the World

 

English | Spanish

Dear Readers,

I would like to introduce the 2019 Latin America Edition of the Social Innovations Journal with a quote from the 2013 Social Innovation Guide published by the European Commission, “A true social innovation is one that changes the system and permanently shapes the perceptions, behaviors, and structures that formerly generated those problems.1

This time around, our edition dedicated to social innovation in Latin America has as a central theme, under a systemic perspective, of how the perception of the problem is changing, the actors involved are changing their perception of themselves, and how they are actively being empowered in the search for solutions, and as a consequence of that, are coming up with innovative responses different from traditional responses. In other words, we are finally witnessing how social innovation is effectively changing the world as we used to conceive of it. 

This edition’s articles address the problem from a systemic outlook because in each, the articulation of the different actors involved in an issue will be explicit within the specific context in which it presents itself and with all the related factors in a way that will create solutions that are effective, pertinent, inclusive, and sustainable. 

Precisely following this line of thought, a 2010 CEPAL study2 entitled “Innovate to Grow. Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Ibero-America,” states that the economic development of the region is visualized in terms of a combination of growth, inclusion, and sustainability and the way they complement and support each other will be the decisive element for the region3

A few years later, supporting this idea, CEPAL wrote in its “Social Landscape of Latin America 2018” that “in the face of a context of uncertainty and changes, strengthening social and labor market policies with a universalist perspective is a priority”4. In other words, identifying solutions with a focus on equality and inclusion is key to addressing these issues now and eradicating these issues in days to come. 

The analysis of CEPAL continues to confirm how “equality is a necessary condition for dynamic efficiency of the economic system since it creates an institutional environment of policies and endeavors favorable to the construction of abilities that facilitate the surge or activation of the innovating potential of a country…[which] produces a reduction of technological breaches, provides solutions to social issues, boosts a country’s productivity and its sustainability.5

This edition is a clear example of how Latino Americans are focusing the solutions under these constraints in sectors such as health, the environment, women empowerment, labor inclusion, education, seniors, and entrepreneurship in Mexico, Chile, and Colombia. 

Finally, I would like to place a special emphasis on the common element of our publications -- we are showing how the potential of finding new forms of conceiving the world and of finding solutions to challenges, new and old, is in each and every one of us, we just need to activate and transmit it. 

Thank you for your support,

Maria-Alejandra Navas 
Director of International Editions 
Social Innovations Journal 

 


 

Summary of the 2019 Latin America Edition 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.  

 


Footnotes

1 “La Innovación Social en América Latina” Marco Conceptual, Agentes. Heloise Buckland- David Murillo. Sept.2014

2 CEPAL: Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe

3 “ Innovar para crecer. Desafios y Oportunidades para el Desarrollo Sostenible e Inclusivo en Iberoamérica”

4 “Panorama Social de América Latina 2018” CEPAL 2019

5 Idem

 

Works Cited

“La Innovación Social en América Latina” Marco Conceptual, Agentes, Heloise Buckland, David Murillo. ESADE. Universidad Ramón Llull - Instituto de Innovación Social – Fondo Multilateral de Inversiones. Miembro del Grupo BID. Sept 2014

“Innovar para crecer. Desafíos y Oportunidades para el Desarrollo Sostenible e inclusivo en Iberoamérica” CEPAL – 2010- Secretaría General Iberoamericana (SEGIB)- Impreso en Naciones Unidas – Santiago de Chile – Nov. 2009

“Panorama Social de América Latina. 2018 “CEPAL -Publicado por Naciones Unidas LC/PUB. 2019/ Santiago 2019. 

 

One of the best ways to know our own ecosystem is by getting to know that of others. By doing so we are able to establish the differences and similarities that will enrich and empower us to generate new ideas that, in the long run, will help all of us to build the kind of world we dream of living in. 

I am proud to introduce the latest edition of the Social Innovations Journal dedicated to the unique ecosystem of Asia -- “Asia 2019: A Dynamic Social Innovation Ecosystem.” 

Social innovation practices have had considerable success in the West. Yet, what has social innovation looked like in the East during the course of the last year? 

To answer this question, we must understand the context of the region. Asia is not a homogeneous region and its diverse paths to democratization and industrialization imply a more complex approach to social innovation. 

Since the practice of social innovation is leveraged to tackle unmet social needs that cannot be solved solely by the government or certain stakeholders in a given society, a unique approach is required to solve today’s societal problems across Asia. 

The Hope Institute research team, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, has investigated how social innovation practices have been put into effect in Asian countries and how they have influenced its societies.1 This research strongly supports the core principle that “social innovation is neither context-free nor value-neutral”.2 

The Asian region includes about 50 countries all composed of a myriad of cultures, religions, and sociopolitical systems. The level of economic and democratic progress varies so much that it is necessary to create subregions similar to those in advanced economies (e.g. Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea).

Even though there has been considerable development through industrialization and modernization, these benefits have not been shared equitably to support sustainable development and the consequence of this is that the gap between poor and rich has widened. 

Social innovation in Asia has emerged as a response to growing challenges like the lack of resources, climate issues, aging populations, globalization, mass urbanization, among other pressing concerns. According to the Asian Development Bank, the Asia and Pacific regions have the dubious distinction of having the largest number of poor citizens (63 percent of the poor worldwide lived in this region in 2008). Many work for low wages in manual labor and lack access to education. They are further underserved by a lack of access to social welfare services and quality health care. This is exactly the fertile ground ripe for social innovations to emerge where the sharing of information, knowledge, financial resources, and technology offer the promise of creating a self-reliant economic ecosystem in a way that cannot be replicated in innovative ideas from western societies. 

Under these unique circumstances, it is important to highlight the special characteristics that are represented by the authors of this edition: 

1. Community empowerment summarizes an important characteristic of the Asian ecosystem, where trust, solidarity, and cooperation are key. People have realized that together they can obtain more, and better, solutions to their problems. In this sense, they build up an informal network by connecting the right person with a creative idea to those in need of this new idea that offers a solution to an existing concern. 

2. Social Entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurs have emerged to provide solutions to problems that are beyond the reach of the government or the market alone. They tend to fill in gaps in the social welfare system. The role traditionally performed by governments in welfare states is now owned by social initiatives. Many nonprofit organizations evolved into social enterprises to find better opportunities for self-financing and this change has encouraged the government to create policies to support the growth of this industry. As part of this change, young professionals who have worked in for-profit companies are moving into social venture and its related spaces. 

According to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in the United Nations, a social enterprise can be defined as “an organization committed to explicitly including social and/or environmental returns as part of its core business while seeking profit or return of investment”.3 It is a concept that is not well understood and that should be promoted in other regions as they have proven the merits of solving social challenges with an appropriate business model that ensures sustainability. 

3. Intermediary actors (Ashoka, British Council Asian Social Ventures, universities, et al) have emerged to fill a void by connecting social enterprises with funding entities and are performing a counseling role to help social innovators through the process of finding their own sustainable economic model. 

The nonprofit sector has not been strong enough to lead partnerships alone, and some governments also lack strong governance. Under these constraints, Asian social innovation can be described and understood by the active role informal participants and their contributions to cross-sectoral collaboration play in leading the charge of this movement. 

4. Governance context: Many countries in Asia have weaker governance in part due to a low level of government transparency and accountability, which means that the government lacks the capacity to deal with societal problems. Although, according to studies from the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, governments in the region are making efforts by implementing policies to encourage the foundation of a solid ecosystem for social enterprises and a positive climate for impact investment so that the private sector finds appealing opportunities to adopt social enterprises. Finally, the evaluation of these initiatives should be a top priority to establishing a system of best practices to better facilitate a positive climate for this ecosystem to not only be created but to thrive.

The result of all of this is that social innovation projects are crucial for Asia. The potential of social innovation to change the economic and social dynamic in Asia is huge.  

The articles included in this edition show this precisely in context of the work taking place at a grassroots level. They are making paradigm changes by replacing the culture of old and encouraging people, accustomed to traditional ways of solving problems, to take a leap of faith and embark on the journey to finding new ways of perceiving the problems as opportunities and to become active participants in leading the charge to these solutions to pave the way to build new lives and a brighter future. 

As a Latin American, I have been impressed by the courage, strength, discipline, and commitment of the authors of this edition who are the leaders of a new paradigm for the region of Asia. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to meet Mark, Lehui, Isabel, Arlin, Alvin, Stanley, Jane, and Awen and thank each of them for all that I have learned from them. I am very excited now to present their experiences and I hope they will impact your lives as much as they did my own. 

 

Works Cited

“Social Innovation Landscape in Asia”, the final report of the research conducted by the research team of the Hope Institute based in Seoul, 2013-14. Chapter 10 “Social Innovation in Asia: Trends and characteristics in China, Korea, India, Japan and Thailand”.

United Nations – ESCAP- Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Strengthening implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region. “Policy approaches to Scaling Social Enterprise and Impact Investment in Asia and the Pacific”. Bangkok. March 2nd, 2017. 8 pages. 

Footnotes

1 This chapter was presented at the conference “Grassroots of social innovation practices in East Asia: held by the Australian National University and was revised by Dr. EunKyung Lee, research fellow in the Hope Institute. 

2 Idem

3 United Nations – ESCAP – Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. “Policy approaches to scaling social enterprise and impact investment in Asia and the Pacific”. Bangkok. March 2017.

 

Alejandra Navas is the Director of International Editions for Social Innovations Journal.

Introduction

Today, factors such as the high level of expectations by the public, the increasing cost of health care, the recognition of social and environmental determinants of health, along with rampant inequity and poverty are further calls to action for society to become more socially accountable. Social Accountability and Interprofessional Education are being recognized by global health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) as a practice and innovative strategy that will play an integral role in advancing universal health, equitable health care, and mitigating the global health workforce crisis. Nevertheless, in spite of a growing worldwide momentum in favor of the concept of Social and Interprofessional Education,1 and some outstanding achievements to implement them, there remains a large gap between good intentions and local government or institutional transformations. 

Problem

Global organizations such as WHO, United Nations, and Global and Regional Associations have dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to successfully frame the global health conversations driven by health data, health priorities and trends, research, policy recommendations, global calls to action, and regularly convening global and regional health leaders, governments, and institutions to foster dialogue and learning.  

In releasing global system and policy recommendations for local adoption and implementation, global organizations and associations recognize that adoption and implementation is complex and must take into account the local political and economic circumstances. In analyzing the limits of local change agents toward local innovation and collective action to adopt and implement global policy recommendations and calls to action, I am outlining the four factors that limit their implementation:

  1. Leaders at a local level must be prepared to better respond to local challenges and optimize local assets. Their relationships and experiences lead them to focus on local patterns they can observe and control directly. They need new skills and relationships with other stakeholders in the health sector to leverage complex change at scale. 
  2. Resources for local change are constrained by a variety of factors, and each community experiences its own unique barriers. Local change agents require external technical guidance and sources of funding, not to replace, but to leverage local resources. 
  3. Local action, while a powerful catalyst to people and day-to-day procedures and practice, is insufficient to support national and regional policies required for systemic transformation. Change agents at the local and regional levels need to understand the complex dynamics that work in regional, national, and global contexts and be able to interact with them to efficiently contribute to system change.  
  4. Lessons learned in one local context are not accessible for system-wide analysis and continuous improvement for systemic change or application in other locales. The lack of system-wide evaluation also limits the evidence base for national and global policy change. Local Change Agendas need systems that collect data across a wide range of local contexts and systems-based analysis approaches to reveal patterns of systems change as it progresses.  

Solution

The beginning of moving global systems and policy change to local action starts with inspiring individuals and/or institutions through the sharing of ideas and success of others. Below outlines a three-step model, using network relationships as a strategy, to move global systems and policy recommendations toward local action. 

Step 1: Knowledge Sharing
The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) is serving as a platform to share and distribute best practices and successes from countries around the world that have made progress in tackling and implementing ideas regarding Social Accountability and Population Health. The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH), a non-state actor in official relations with WHO, believes that relationships are not only between organizations, but between people based around common interests. These relationships are not static, but rather grow and develop from the contributions of new members and future generations. A key element of The Network: TUFH is that it is not an insular organization. It is an ever evolving and inclusive network that embraces other organizations that are striving to create educational best practices, share community health approaches, and partner on research to develop the evidence for what works.

The articles on Social Accountability and Interprofessional Education contained in this edition represent case studies and success stories about how individuals and institutions are taking global policy recommendations and implementing and incorporating them into local policies and health system structures. Through the sharing of ideas and stories we inspire others to consider adoption and adaptation of the ideas and model for local change. 

Step 2: Building Local Capacity 
The road to global adoption and implementation is long and arduous. TUFH believes that the sharing of knowledge in the form of research and implementation best practices leads to inspiring local change agents to take action. Once inspired, local change agents can be supported by international and peer-to-peer policy and system change leaders and institutions whose primary role is to build their capacity and provide continual support and adaptation. 

Building the capacity of local change agents takes the form of introducing a systems and policy change framework, providing formal opportunities to adapt the framework for a local context strategy, and providing continual support and adaption by, and with, other change agents across the globe. Networks, such as TUFH, being independent of local actors serve in the capacity of a convener and fill any knowledge gaps that might exist to create a culture that is supportive and learning based.  

Step 3: Replication
The third step of moving global systems and policy change towards Universal Health and Equitable Health Care is to ensure there are community-to-community sharing platforms. As one community innovates and/or experiences success, networks such as TUFH, must ensure this knowledge is communicated and shared to other communities who have similar goals. Related to Social Accountability and Interprofessional Education, below outlines two possible courses for local replication via model adoption. 

  • Local actors work with local accreditation agencies to incorporate Social Accountability and Interprofessional Standards into their Accreditation Practices for medical, public health, and nursing schools.
  • Local actors work with local medical, public health and nursing schools, and health systems to incorporate into their governance and advisory structures representatives from the Partnership Pentagram composed of Health Administrators; Policy Makers; Health Professionals; Academic Institutions; and Communities. These representatives will organically inform institution policies and strategies toward Social Accountability and Interprofessional Education Standards.

Conclusion

To bridge the gap between good intentions and government or institutional transformations, organizations such as TUFH must continue to serve as the link and connector between global policy organizations and local change agents such as policymakers, institutions, and associations who are doing the work on the ground. The work of TUFH and similar organizations continues to foster dialogue, build global consensus, grow the capacity of local change agents, and create platforms for knowledge to be shared and distributed. Collectively, we can change health care, but we first have to change the conversation.

1 Interprofessional education occurs when students, or members from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes and services.  

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Estimados Lectores, 

Quisiera introducir esta edición 2019 sobre América Latina con una frase que aparece en la Guía de Innovación Social que publicó la Comisión Europea en 2013: “Una verdadera innovación social es aquella que cambia el sistema y altera de forma permanente las percepciones, las conductas y las estructuras que anteriormente originaban esos problemas”.1 

En esta ocasión, la edición tiene como tema central mostrar, bajo una perspectiva sistémica, cómo la percepción del problema está cambiando, los actores involucrados están cambiando su percepción de sí mismos y se están empoderando activamente en la búsqueda de soluciones, y como consecuencia de ello, están ideando soluciones diferentes a las tradicionales. En otras palabras, estamos finalmente viendo cómo la innovación social está realmente cambiando el mundo tal como lo concebíamos antes.  

Los artículos que contiene esta edición abordan el problema desde una visión sistémica porque en cada uno de ellos será explícita la articulación de los diferentes actores implicados en un problema con el contexto específico donde se presenta y con todos los factores conexos de tal manera que está creando soluciones que son eficaces, pertinentes, inclusivas y sostenibles. 

Justamente, siguiendo esta línea de pensamiento, un estudio de la CEPAL2 de 2010 titulado “Innovar para crecer. Desafíos y Oportunidades para el Desarrollo Sostenible e Inclusivo en Iberoamérica” declara que el desarrollo económico de la región se visualiza en términos de una combinación de Crecimiento, Inclusión y Sostenibilidad, la manera cómo se complementen y apoyen mutuamente será el elemento decisivo para la región.3 

Algunos años después, corroborando y profundizando esta idea, la CEPAL escribió en su “Panorama Social de América Latina 2018” que, “frente a un escenario de incertidumbre y cambios, es prioritario reforzar las políticas sociales y del mercado de trabajo con una perspectiva universalista”4 es decir, con un enfoque de igualdad e inclusión. 

El análisis de la CEPAL continúa confirmando cómo “la igualdad es una condición necesaria para la eficiencia dinámica del sistema económico pues crea un ambiente institucional de políticas y de esfuerzos favorables para la construcción de capacidades que facilitan el surgimiento o la activación del potencial innovador de un país… que produce una reducción de brechas tecnológicas, da solución a problemas sociales, incrementa la productividad de un país y su sostenibilidad.”5 

Esta edición es un claro ejemplo de cómo los latinoamericanos están enfocando las soluciones bajo estas premisas en sectores como la salud, el medio ambiente, el empoderamiento de las mujeres, la inclusión laboral, la educación, la vejez, el emprendimiento de México, Chile y Colombia. 

Finalmente, quisiera hacer un énfasis especial en el elemento común de nuestras publicaciones: Estamos mostrando cómo el potencial de encontrar nuevas formas de concebir el mundo y de encontrar soluciones a los nuevos desafíos está en cada uno de nosotros, sólo necesitamos activarlo y transmitirlo. 

Gracias por su apoyo, 

Maria-Alejandra Navas 
Directora de Ediciones Internacionales  
Social Innovations Journal 

 


 

A continuación, un breve resumen de los artículos de esta edición de América Latina 2019: 

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

César Esquivel y Gisell Silva

Blooders ha desarrollado tecnología para conectar a personas que necesitan sangre con donantes y hospitales para mejorar la experiencia de donación. Cuenta con una aplicación móvil que permite a la comunidad interactuar de manera rápida y sencilla en cualquier situación de riesgo o de forma preventiva así como también han desarrollado una página web, un chatbot así como un sistema de gestión de bancos de sangre

 

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

Jorge Enrique Gallego Vasquez y Ana María Cifuentes Camacho

La Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios - UNIMINUTO, una institución de educación superior con presencia en Colombia desde hace 27 años, se ha enfocado en brindar oportunidades de acceso a la educación superior a la población en la base de la pirámide económica del país. A través de experiencias nacionales, donde UNIMINUTO acompañó durante 10 años dos Instituciones de Educación Superior para su crecimiento y consolidación junto con los reconocimientos internacionales, se preparó la transferencia del modelo a otros países en desarrollo, cuya hoja de ruta inicia con la Sistematización del modelo para convertirlo en un estándar de educación superior que pueda ser replicado en contextos similares, como es el caso de África del Oeste

 

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

Valentina González

Socialab funciona como una empresa con foco de impacto social que investiga y da visibilidad a problemáticas que afectan a una comunidad, a una región o al mundo para luego, de la mano de las organizaciones, convertirlas en desafíos. En términos concretos, se realiza un llamado a las miles de mentes creativas con talentos y conocimientos diversos, que forman parte de la plataforma global de innovación abierta de Socialab, y a la sociedad en general, para que propongan ideas que podrían acabar o mitigar los efectos de dicha problemática, y que, además, tengan el potencial de convertirse en empresas generadoras de nuevas oportunidades, tanto para el mundo, como para las mismas organizaciones que los apoyan. 

 

4. Co-meta: una experiencia de impacto colectivo para impulsar el empoderamiento económico de las mujeres en Jalisco 

Magdalena Rodríguez 

Siguiendo tendencias internacionales, actualmente, en México, de acuerdo con información de la Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE)  del total de mujeres mayores de 15 años, únicamente el 42% estaban ocupadas frente al 75% de los hombres de la misma edad. En 2016, ProSociedad desarrolló una propuesta formativa y de articulación para organizaciones sociales y del sector público que ya estuvieran involucradas de forma directa o indirecta a favor del empoderamiento económico de mujeres: Co-Meta en el marco del macroproyecto denominado Jalisco Sin Hambre que fue financiado por CONACYT y la Secretaría de Innovación Ciencia y Tecnología y que contó con el liderazgo del ITESO, el Tecnológico de Monterrey, entre otras instituciones académicas.

 

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

Pablo Fregoso

El trabajo coordinado para la conservación de la biodiversidad y la sostenibilidad Ambiental del Banco Mundial, el Fondo Global para el Medio Ambiente y el gobierno de México comenzó en 1996, enfocándose especialmente en el Corredor Biológico Mesoamericano. En este contexto, una nueva iniciativa fue desarrollada para promover la integración de la conservación de la biodiversidad con paisajes productivos entre 2012 y 2017. El objetivo específico del Proyecto era conservar y proteger nacional y globalmente la significativa biodiversidad en México a través de una gestión amigable de las prácticas de conservación de la biodiversidad en paisajes productivos especialmente en corredores biológicos. Este Proyecto implicó un cambio de la perspectiva conservadora original sobre el medio ambiente hacia una visión del uso productivo y sostenible de los recursos naturales con énfasis en los corredores biológicos de la región.  

 

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

Myriam Hernández Vázquez

La fundación Escalera desde el año 2013 ha generado evidencia sobre los tipos de incentivos más eficientes para combatir el abandono escolar en la zona más marginada de México, el estado de Chiapas. El programa Alcance ha evaluado a través de pruebas de control aleatorio los efectos de entregar subsidios o subsidios más materiales motivacionales a jóvenes que se encuentran en la transición entre secundaria y bachillerato. Los últimos resultados de este programa señalan que, en general, los subsidios generan un efecto positivo en la continuidad escolar, aún más si se acompañan con contenidos motivacionales (incremento de 6 puntos porcentuales). Junto con esta evidencia, Escalera identifica varios aspectos relevantes para asegurar el éxito en programas que combaten la deserción escolar en contextos rurales e indígenas. 

 

7. “Aprendizajes sobre Empleo Inclusivo en Colombia”  

Daniela Matiz Bahamón y Germán Barragán Agudelo

Fundación Corona es una fundación familiar, de segundo piso, que lleva 56 años trabajando por Colombia. En el 2011 la fundación asumió el rol de fundación de segundo piso y empezó a trabajar bajo una estrategia que permitiera monitorear y aprender de las iniciativas y crear modelos escalables en sus dos líneas de acción actuales: Educación Orientada al Empleo y Educación para la Participación Ciudadana. Luego de casi una década de trabajo en estos temas, se pueden resaltar varios de los aprendizajes consignados en el desarrollo conceptual del Modelo de Empleo Inclusivo. 


1 “La Innovación Social en América Latina” Marco Conceptual, Agentes. Heloise Buckland- David Murillo. Sept.2014 

2 CEPAL: Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe

3 “Innovar para crecer. Desafíos y Oportunidades para el Desarrollo Sostenible e Inclusivo en Iberoamérica”. CEPAL 2010. 

4 “Panorama Social de América Latina.2018” CEPAL 2019. 

5 idem

 

Referencias

- “La Innovación Social en América Latina” Marco Conceptual, Agentes

Heloise Buckland, David Murillo. ESADE. Universidad Ramón Llull - Instituto de Innovación Social – Fondo Multilateral de Inversiones. Miembro del Grupo BID. Sept 2014

- “Innovar para crecer. Desafíos y Oportunidades para el Desarrollo Sostenible e inclusivo en Iberoamérica” CEPAL – 2010- Secretaría General Iberoamericana (SEGIB)- Impreso en Naciones Unidas – Santiago de Chile – Nov. 2009

- “Panorama Social de América Latina. 2018 “CEPAL -Publicado por Naciones Unidas LC/PUB. 2019/ Santiago 2019. 

 

Introduction

POPULATION HEALTH recognizes the challenges of incorporating social and environmental factors into health services. The current and increasing health care workforce gap and population inequities serve as multiple barriers to Universal Access and Equitable Health Care. The urgency to resolve population health issues is not new. However, in recent years there is an increasing awareness that the main stakeholders in the health sector, along with the community, should improve their contributions for greater quality, equity, relevance, and efficiency in health care delivery. To this end, a unity of purpose must link key health actors. To meaningfully mobilize talents and resources, a clear understanding and recognition of the role of all members of the health team and community, along with culturally sound best practices must be established.  

COMMUNITY HEALTH, prioritized by The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH), focuses on effective approaches to serve and engage remote and rural, indigenous, migrants and refugees, women, and elderly populations. 

Remote and Rural Health experts consider that remote populations are smaller, more isolated, and more highly dispersed. Central political power is weaker in remote areas; the nature of economic activity varies between rural and remote areas; and socioeconomic disadvantage is higher. As a result, morbidity and mortality are generally worse in remote areas. There are also workforce supply problems and decreased access to health services in remote areas. Different models of service delivery have developed in response to these conditions. Remote areas rely more heavily on visiting services, with differences in the relative roles of health professionals. In remote areas there is a stronger emphasis on public health approaches. 

Indigenous populations, according to WHO, are communities that live within, or are attached to, geographically distinct traditional habitats or ancestral territories, and who identify themselves as being part of a distinct cultural group, descended from groups present in the area before modern states were created and current borders defined. They generally maintain cultural and social identities, and social, economic, cultural, and political institutions, separate from the mainstream or dominant society or culture.

Migrant and Refugee Health experts (WHO) indicate that more people are on the move now than ever before. There are an estimated one billion migrants in the world today of whom 258 million are international migrants and 763 million internal migrants -- one in seven of the world’s population. This rapid increase of population movement has important public health implications, and therefore requires an adequate response from the health sector. Ratified international human rights standards and conventions exist to protect the rights of migrants and refugees, including their right to health. Nevertheless, many refugees and migrants often lack access to health services and financial protection for health. The WHO Promoting the Health of Refugees and Migrants Draft Global Action Plan, 2019–20231 identifies six priorities:

  • Priority 1. Promote the health of refugees and migrants through a mix of short-term and long-term public health interventions;
  • Priority 2. Promote continuity and quality of essential health care, while developing, reinforcing, and implementing occupational health and safety measures;
  • Priority 3. Advocate the mainstreaming of refugee and migrant health into global, regional, and country agendas and the promotion of: refugee-sensitive and migrant-sensitive health policies and legal and social protection; the health and well-being of refugee and migrant women, children and adolescents; gender equality and empowerment of refugee and migrant women and girls; and partnerships and inter-sectoral, inter-country and interagency coordination and collaboration mechanisms;
  • Priority 4. Enhance capacity to tackle the social determinants of health and to accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including Universal Health Coverage;
  • Priority 5. Strengthen health monitoring and health information systems; and
  • Priority 6. Support measures to improve evidence-based health communication and to counter misperceptions about migrant and refugee health.

Women Health experts (WHO) indicates that being a man or a woman has a significant impact on health, as a result of both biological and gender-related differences. The health of women and girls is of particular concern because, in many societies, they are disadvantaged by discrimination rooted in sociocultural factors. Some of the sociocultural factors that prevent women and girls from benefitting from quality health services and attaining the best possible level of health include: 

  • unequal power relationships between men and women;
  • social norms that decrease education and paid employment opportunities;
  • an exclusive focus on women’s reproductive roles; and
  • potential or actual experience of physical, sexual and emotional violence.

While poverty is an important barrier to positive health outcomes for both men and women, poverty tends to yield a higher burden on women and girls’ health due to, for example, feeding practices (malnutrition) and the use of unsafe cooking fuels (COPD).

Elderly Experts Health experts (WHO) indicate that populations around the world are rapidly aging. Aging presents both challenges and opportunities. It will increase demand for primary health care and long-term care, require a larger and better-trained workforce, and intensify the need for environments to be made more age-friendly. Yet, these investments can enable the many contributions of older people -- whether it be within their family, to their local community (e.g. as volunteers or within the formal or informal workforce), or to society more broadly. Societies that adapt to this changing demographic and invest in Healthy Aging can enable individuals to live both longer and healthier lives and for societies to reap the dividends. 

To ensure adults live not only longer but healthier lives, a Global Strategy and Action Plan2 on Aging and Health was adopted in May 2016 by the World Health Assembly. This Strategy focuses on five strategic objectives and is a significant step forward in establishing a framework to achieve Healthy Aging for all. It includes a call for countries to commit to action, and develop age-friendly environments. It also outlines the need to align health systems to the needs of older people, and the development of sustainable and equitable systems of long-term care. It emphasizes the importance of improved data, measurement, and research, and involving older people in all decisions that concern them.

Problem 

POPULATION HEALTH: The UN High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on Universal Health Coverage : “Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World” seeks to integrate the “the entire health agenda under the umbrella of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and sustain health investments in a harmonized manner.” The objective is to raise awareness of the importance of investing in health workforce education that is oriented towards meeting the needs, as well as in tracking and assessing, the impact of education to ensure policies, strategies, and approaches are aligned and optimized to improving quality, relevance, equity, and cost effectiveness of health service delivery. Addressing the health workforce shortage, maldistribution, and performance challenges is essential for progress towards all health-related goals, including Universal Health Coverage. Furthermore, the health sector has the potential to be a driver of economic growth through the creation of qualified employment opportunities, in particular for women. There is growing recognition that CHWs and other types of community-based health workers are effective in the delivery of a range of preventive, promotive, and curative health services, and that they can contribute to reducing inequities in access to care.  

COMMUNITY HEALTH recognizes that effective approaches to serve and engage remote and rural, indigenous, migrants and refugees, women, and elderly populations, are often contrary to mainstream health policy, are often ignored, and not included, or recognized in global, national, regional policies and practices that inform mainstream practices.  

Solution

The beginning of moving global systems and policy change to local action starts with inspiring individuals and/or institutions through the sharing of ideas and success of others. Below outlines a three-step model, using network relationships as a strategy, to move global systems and policy recommendations toward local action. 

Step 1: Knowledge Sharing

The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH) is serving as a platform to share and distribute best practices and success from countries around the world that have made progress in tackling and implementing ideas regarding Social Accountability and Population Health. The Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH), a non-state actor in official relations with WHO believes that relationships are not only between organizations, but between people based around common interests. These relationships are not static, but rather grow and develop from new members and future generations. A key element of The Network: TUFH is that it is not an insular organization. It is an ever evolving and inclusive network that embraces other organizations that are striving to create educational best practices, share community health approaches, and partner on research to develop the evidence for what works.


The articles on Population and Community Health contained in this edition represent case studies and success stories. Through the sharing of ideas and stories we inspire others to consider adoption and adaptation of the ideas and model for local change. 

Step 2: Building Local Capacity 

The road to global adoption and implementation is long and arduous. TUFH believes that the sharing of knowledge in the form of research and implementation best practices leads to inspiring local change agents to take action. Once inspired, local change agents can be supported by international and peer-to-peer policy and system change leaders and institutions whose primary role is to build their capacity and provide continual support and adaptation. 

Building the capacity of local change agents takes the form of introducing a systems and policy change framework, providing formal opportunities to adapt the framework for a local context strategy, and providing continual support and adaption by and with other change agents across the globe. Networks, such as TUFH, being independent of local actors serve in the capacity of a convener and filling any knowledge gaps that might exist to create a culture that is supportive and learning based.  

Step 3: Replication

The third step of moving global systems and policy change toward Universal Health and Equitable Health Care is to ensure there are community-to-community sharing platforms. As one community innovates and/or experiences success, networks such as TUFH, must ensure this knowledge is communicated and shared to other communities who have similar goals. Related to Population and Community Health, below outlines two examples for local replication via model adoption. S i

  1. Local actors adopt, adapt, and implement the successful integration of Community Health Workers into the Health Care Team. 
  2. Local actors inspired by successes in serving and engaging remote and rural, indigenous, migrants and refugees, women, and elderly populations in other countries adopt, adapt, and integrated them into their own systems. 

Conclusion

To bridge the gap between good intentions and government or institutional transformations, organizations such as TUFH must continue to serve as the link and connector between global policy organizations and local change agents such as policymakers, institutions, and associations who are doing the work on the ground. The work of TUFH and similar organizations continues to foster dialogue, build global consensus, grow the capacity of local change agents, and create platforms for knowledge to be shared and distributed. Collectively, we can change healthcare, but we first have to change the conversation.

Footnotes

1 https://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA72/A72_25-en.pdf?ua=1

2 https://www.who.int/ageing/en/

Endnotes

i apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/


 

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Summary 

The World finds itself ad portas of a new era. The massive diffusion of digital technologies and complex systems combining hardware, sensors, data storage, microprocessors, and software are changing the nature of products, altering value chains, transforming political, economic, and social structures at a global scale, more quickly than in other periods of history. These changes have been causing a breakdown within the actual life model, leading to the current digital era.  

According to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean CEPAL, it is expected that for 2020, the broadband speed will be doubled, the number of devices connected to the IP network will be three times bigger than the world’s population, and the total number of smart phones will represent about the 50 percent of global connections and devices.1

This context presents new scenarios: Robots and automatized learning and the substitution of job positions with repetitive tasks; new ways of production requiring digital skills, and the development of specialists to create and manage new production systems, on one side. On the other side, new scenarios of competition for companies with the imperative necessity to increase productivity through innovation.  

The immediate circulation of information has led to the emergence of social media that connects people and communities that could not otherwise connect, and with that, they produce a flow of information that is becoming a fertile ground for social changes.  

In the words of Sheryl Sandberg, COO de Facebook: “Technology puts a name and a face -- a true identity -- to those that were invisible before and gives sound to voices that otherwise could not be heard.” 2 

This situation has caused technology hubs, incubators, and laboratories working all around the world to enable knowledge and adaptation to situations that should be considered opportunities to think out of the box, outside of comfort zones where the same solutions are being used to solve social and economic problems that require different solutions.  

It is precisely at this point that the mission of the Social Innovations Journal acquires special importance, by giving visibility to these new ideas that will resonate and become examples that will generate new ideas that will solve social problems on a global sclae. Collaboration is key, and technology causing this change, will also be the instrument to face these challenges and enable all of us to adapt to this new era.  

In this edition, we will focus on the articulation of Technology and Social Innovations in Latin America.  

 TEPSIE, the acronym of Theoric, Empiric, and from Policies Foundations for the Social Innovation Construction in Europe, provides a definition of Digital Technology in social innovation as the “use of Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) such as online network and other digital tools to support and/or allow the social innovation.” 3 

According to this definition, social innovation is being improved by the use of ICT. This does not mean that in all the social innovations the final user and the beneficiaries are going to use digital tools to meet their needs and solve their problems, but to perceive technology as a tool that, used in a certain way by one of the actors or in a particular moment of the development process of the social innovation, will support, improve, and/or allow the searched social change.  

This means that digital technology: 

  • is an important support for existing social innovations because it allows them to have better results in terms of performance and efficiency; 
  • allows the emergence of new types of social innovation producing new impacts and opportunities through having access to the required information to develop and facilitate new forms of collaboration seen as a dynamism in communications between the stakeholders; and  
  • can modify in a significant manner the structures and type of governance in a society and set new social and business models that were not possible before, since it fosters new different production process, value chains and organization models. 

Thus, it can be said that digital technology is producing a change of culture that modifies the relationships between people and changes the approach of problems and their solutions. Understanding the cultural context, is then fundamental to designing social innovation projects and to adapting them to the present reality.  

The challenge lies in answering the question of how science, technology, and innovation can contribute to development and how to achieve participation in global growth from the perspective of sustainability and social, environmental, and economical inclusion. 

Latin American Summary 

Latin America is a continent of contrasts. According to a report made by the CEPAL during the Open Forum of Latin American and the Caribbean Sciences held on September 20164 it is a region that on one side, is focused on the production and exportation of products from natural resources with low added value, and, on the other side, there continues to be a low level of investment in science and technology. In addition, while industrialized countries have preeminence of private financing for research and development issues, in Latin America, this financing is essentially from public institutions. Companies in the region are deficient in supporting research and development and most of them prefer to import technologies and adapt them to their needs.  

The New Objectives of Sustainable Development and the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development presents additional challenges for the region given the necessity to reach a certain level of economic growth, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. 

In fact, according with the CEPAL’s report, the indicators of efforts in innovation and access to technology are not positive:  

  • The capacity for the region to absorb the new technological paradigms and participate on their creation is still weak. 
  • The implementation of policies and agendas on research are timid.  
  • There is a lack of articulation of capacities and opportunities in science, technology, and innovation to optimize a sustainable development. 
  • There is an important need for public policies that will generate inclusive and sustainable development processes based on science, technology, and innovation.  
  • Micro and small companies represent the biggest percentage of participation in the region’s production and nonetheless have several problems in accessing appropriate credit, they do not have capacity to support innovation, and absorption of new knowledge due to low contact with other companies. There are a lot of start-up projects that, for different reasons, cannot succeed and scale for lack of financing and dependency on ever demanding philanthropic sources. 

According to recent predictions, it is expected that, in the developed countries, the technological change will produce more than 5.1 million losses of positions between 2015-2020. This scenario is tough for countries experiencing bigger population growth without the needed skills for the new challenges, as well as inappropriate and lacking institutional framework to respond to these changes.  

The global technological dynamics show that competitivity and growth of countries will depend increasingly on their capacity to integrate the global digital ecosystem. This ecosystem will push them to improve their infrastructure, the human capital, and the entrepreneurial environment, define the world’s standards, regulate the data flow, protect intellectual property rights, and defend the safety and privacy of users.  

In a study of about 100 initiatives of digital social innovations that are transforming Latin America conducted by the ESADE ( Upper School of Administration and Management of Enterprises), University Ramon Llul and the Institute of Social Innovation, consider the subject of digital social innovation  regionally is starting to have an important impact especially in the sectors of education, health, and financial inclusion, allowing, in general, measurement of social impact; a better understanding of people’s behaviors through tools like big data analysis; connection between actors that usually would not be connected; and the scalability and replicability of social innovations. The study also shows that some countries in the region are perceived as having more advances, such as Chili who is having a more consolidated innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem, Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia with dynamic ecosystems and intermediaries that are supporting social innovations, and Argentina with a promising future thanks to the high number of B certified companies.  

Final Considerations 

In general, it can be affirmed that technology is pushing the region to adopt, own, and implement social impact as a necessary tool to support and improve innovation projects promoting  sustainable social impact, not only to position itself in the international economy but, also, to face new problems arising in the present digital world. 

It is essential for the region to analyze opportunities and challenges arising because of the digital economy. It requires the development of new skills to work with technology to solve problems rather than seeing it as a threat that would replace humans.  

To close the productivity gap between Latin America’s countries and developed countries, it is necessary to incorporate technology in the productive process and articulate it with the development objectives of the countries. Inasmuch as there has been progress in this matter, the only way to accomplish this is by creating more fair and inclusive societies. For that, two essential aspects should be considered:  

On one hand, a change of perception is needed. A cultural change through which the innovative way of thinking is promoted in order to encourage people to think “out of the box,” look for new solutions and new ways of approaching problems, and to use technology as a tool at service of their creativity. In other words, being aware of the necessity to promote research, and the development of new skills, required not only to adapt technologies coming from abroad to the regional context, but specially to create it locally.  

On the other hand, collaboration. It is clear that the articulation of private sector, public sector, civil society, and academia is essential to support, develop, and scale social innovations in a framework of relevant public policies that are consistent with the population’s needs. 

Finally, I would like to highlight a proposal made by the CEPAL concerning the necessity to enhance actions of regional cooperation. The region faces similar challenges and problems and a joint effort to boost a digital economy only represents benefits for all. 

In this sense, I would like to introduce the subjects developed in this edition:  

 

INTERPRETA Foundation: The Use of Technology in Humanitarian Work

Bastián Díaz

The Foundation was born in 2016 in Santiago, Chili, as an answer to problems of the migrant communities in Chili, a growing issue in recent years. Moving away from assisting solutions such as delivering breakfasts or giving Spanish courses to Haitians, the Foundation prefers to position itself as an example of innovation by using tools of the corporate world and technology to solve problems related to immigration issues. 

 

Local Innovation Ecosystems to Strengthen Agroecology in Colombia: The Preliminary Case of LabCampesino of Tierra Libre's Organization

Juan David Reina and Julián Ortiz

The use of digital technologies based on free hardware to contribute to the promotion of groecology isa in itself an innovative idea. However, it is the process of social owning of science, technology, and innovation in the rural sector and specially from the rural population, which creates disruptive conditions facing the traditional practices of technological transfer. In this sense, the article presents the progress and opportunities that are creating the Tierra Libre Project and, in particular, its initiative of LabCampesino that aims to strengthen a social innovation’s ecosystem and to promote agroecological practices in the rural population of the province of Sumapaz, Colombia. 

 

The Social Innovations Scientific Park

Paula Estefanía Castaño

The Minuto de Dios Organization (MDO), created by Father Rafael García-Herreros in the second half of the 20th century, has focused its efforts on service to society as the driving force of each of its entities; these, always seeking to respond to social problems in Colombia in various aspects such as health, housing, education, and others. And it is thanks to this approach, that in 2012 the work of the Social Innovation Science Park (SISP) begins as a commitment to social innovation responding to social needs. In this, we will take a closer look at how the SISP came about, what it is, how it works, and its impact.

 

MPZero: Sustainable, Affordable, and Clean Heating Available for Everyone

Ricardo Soto

Every winter, the air pollution caused by the combustion of biomass for residential heating is one of the biggest environmental problems suffered by the cities of South-Central Chile. Because the use of wood-burning stoves is the most affordable heating method, it remains today, despite its negative environmental implications, the most used tool by the population of Chile, despite causing serious health problems in the community, especially for children and the elderly. MPzero is a device for reducing emissions of fine particulate material, developed in Chile, which captures up to 97 percent of the emissions produced by this heating equipment, helping to keep the air clean and heating costs low for families who do not have access to heating methods that produce less pollutions.

 

Leadership Profile: Martha Leticia Silva

María Alejandra Navas 

The leader of tomorrow is humble and authentic, curious and sensitive, flexible to learn new things and adapt easily to changes. It is someone who does not give up and versatile enough to consider differences as opportunities for growth,  

I met Martha Leticia Silva Flores during a social innovation event organized by the CISAI, Center of High Impact Social Innovation, in Jalisco, Mexico last June. She is its director and the impression that she made when we met, and what I was able to learn about her in just a few days’ time, convinced me to write about her as a leader of tomorrow.     

 

Connecting Points: Intelligence on Field to Solve Social Problems

Iván Yza

Facing the search for the democratization of the media and the need to access new technological tools to allow for the solution of problems related to transparency and accountability, most of which we know little to nothing about their functioning or how to put them in operation, Virk came into existence in 2014. Virk had a clear objective: to create tools that will allow organizations to innovate in issues like the systematization and documentation of information in low-cost and user-friendly, simple ways. This enabled Virk to become a channel for innovations and avoid restrictions that most users have facing new technologies, and to develop the first tools for reports and documentations in Mexico and Latin America.

 

1 CEPAL-NACIONES UNIDAS. Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación en la Economía Digital. Septiembre 2016. 

2 Patricia Morizio. Huffington Post. Febrero 2013. 

3 Jeremy Millard, Gwendolyn Carpenter. Digital Technology in Social Innovation. 

4 CEPAL SEPT 2016

 

Works Cited

“How Tech Can Maximize Social Impact.” Kevin Barenblat July 6, 2017. Stanford Social Innovation Review ssir.org/articles/entry/

“Two of a Kind: Where Technology Meets Social Innovation.” Patricia Morizio. Feb 11, 2013. Huffington Post. www.huffingtonpost.com/patriciamorizio/

Digital Technology in Social Innovation, A Synopsis. November 2014. www.transitsocialinnovation.eu/content/

TEPSIE: Acronym of The Theoretical, Empirical and Policy Foundations for Building Social Innovation in Europe. Research project founded under de European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme 2012-2014. Authors: Jeremy Millard, Gwendolyn Carpenter.

Esade Universidad Ramon LLUL. Instituto de Innovacion Social. “La Revolución Digital ante los Grandes Retos del Mundo” 100 Iniciativas de Innovación Social Digital que están transformando América Latina. Autores Heloise Buckland, Alejandra Garmilla, David Murillo. Martha Leticia Silva Flores. Junio 2018. 

“Ciencia, Tecnolofia e Innovacion en la Economia Digial: La Situacion de America Latina y El Caribe.” Sept. 2016 -- CEPAL .“Políticas de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación Sustentable e Inclusiva en América Latina. Isabel Bortagaray. Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, Ciencia y la Cultura UNESCO. 2016. Cilac -- Foro abierto de ciencias latinoamericanas y Caribe. 

“Ciencia, Tecnologia e Innovacion en la Economia Digital La Situacion de America Latina y El Caribe.” Cepal – Naciones Unidas. Segunda Reunion de la Conferencia de Ciencia, Innocacion y Tic de la Cepal. Sept. 2016. 

 

 

 

 

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