Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal

Social Innovations & Technology in Latin America

Posted on February 5, 2019

From the Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal

In the words of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of 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.” [i]

Our questions, the catalyst for this edition, are how does technology give sound to voices in the social sector and does the advancement of technology accelerate the sharing of good ideas? These questions are personal to the Social Innovation Journal as we are driven by the belief that “the potential for good ideas to inspire more good ideas cannot be underestimated” and we work to capitalize on technology tools to share these ideas globally.

To provide some context, digital technology continues to drive social innovation across the world through connectivity, new production systems, and new forms of employment. At the same time, digital technology also has rendered certain forms of labor expendable and has ushered in an era of uncertainty and volatility. This contrast has driven the debate around the benefits and harms of technological advancement over the past decade and will only grow louder in the coming decade.

The Social Innovations Journal shines a spotlight on Latin America to explore this contrast. Latin America, a region of many contrasts itself, simultaneously deals with the negative impacts of a digitalized world, while innovating with digital technology to drive economic growth and greater connectivity. Latin America has seen a proliferation of technology labs, incubators, and university programs to meet the growing demand for digital products and the skilled workforce needed to deliver them. As this issue demonstrates, the region moves to keep pace with technological advancement and integrate into the global digital ecosystem. The social sector in Latin America, including universities and philanthropies, has produced models for the region to bring institutions into this new digital economy.

To close the productivity gap between Latin America’s countries and the developed countries, it is required 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 it is by creating more fair and inclusive societies. For that, two essential aspect should be considered:

On one hand, a cultural change through which the innovative way of thinking is promoted. And, on the other hand, collaboration between all sectors of society.

We encourage you first to read the introductory and framing article titled Social Innovation and Technology in Latin America” by Maria Alejandra Navas, Latin America Director that provides a deep dive into Latin American’s Technology ecosystem.

At the Social Innovations Journal, we constantly have our eye on how the social sector will evolve and advance in the coming decade. Latin America serves as a window into the forces shaping our global economy and how our institutions are managing this change. We are excited to present this edition, in collaboration and coordination with our colleague, María Alejandra Navas, the Latin America Director of the Social Innovations Journal.

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