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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.  



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. 


English | Spanish

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: 




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



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.



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



- “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. 


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) ( 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.