Joanna Gocłowska-Bolek is a Professor and former Director of the Centre for Latin American Studies (CESLA) at the University of Warsaw, official representative of the President of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (CRASP) for Latin America and a member of the internationalisation group of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy.
For an astute European observer fascinated by Latin America, by its cultural richness and political, economic and social diversity, the attempt to interpret the phenomena occurring there will always be an attractive, albeit ambitious, challenge. For two decades now, Latin America has been perceived as a platform for social innovation, because of its increasingly effective struggle against perennial problems such as social stratification, social exclusion and common poverty. Latin American experiences have often inspired other regions of the world; social innovation is one of these experiences.
It seems that what makes social innovation an attractive proposition for contemporary societies is the goal that can be achieved with its help. During a recent conference on the role of science and technology parks and research and development activity in contemporary economies, I had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by the Indian doctor Ramesh Mashelkar1, who defined this goal as: getting more from less for more. This can be translated as “getting much better results with fewer resources for the benefit of many more people”. This concept has become a key element for a more effective use of innovative solutions. Its implementation counterbalances the traditional investment in research and development, characterised by large expenditures aimed at producing better or new products that are only accessible to a dwindling number of wealthy consumers. For Dr. Mashelkar, contemporary social innovation does not consist of large investments of money and other resources for the production of, for example, a very expensive vaccine that would only be accessible to a narrow circle of consumers. According to his vision, today’s social innovation should stimulate, on the one hand, a moderate use of resources and, on the other hand, the production of a wide variety of products that can be accessible to a large number of consumers. Social innovation should also foster social inclusion and the building of human capital and reduce social inequalities and common poverty.
Desarrollo para la Ciencia y la Tecnología, C. A.
Apartado Postal 2005