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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,
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
“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.