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Social Innovation in Latin America: The Chilean Case

Dmitri Domanski, Jürgen Howaldt, Pablo Villalobos & Carlos Huenchuleo

Latin America is a very dynamic region. In recent decades, it could be seen as the world’s most dynamic region in terms of democratization and social development. In recent years, economic growth has also been significant in a number of region’s countries. Regarding all these factors, Chile is frequently mentioned as Latin America’s most prominent example. According to the UNDP’s Human Development Index, Chile is Latin America’s most developed country.

At the same time, the Chilean case shows that all those positive trends do not save a country from being socially and economically unequal. One of the world’s most growing economies is characterized by huge income inequality (OECD 2013) as well as a tremendous gap in such fundamental areas as education (including all phases of education) and health care.

It has therefore become obvious that the usual solutions have not been sufficient to meet the major challenges of the Chilean society. Against this background, the question is how and to what extent social innovation can contribute to meeting those challenges.

This article seeks to figure out what has been the meaning of social innovation in Chile in order to meet major societal challenges. It looks at the role of different sectors (government, business, universities, civil society) and protagonists in the process of introduction and diffusion of social innovations.

The central questions are: Which are the most important characteristics of the national innovation system (NIS) and the innovation policy in Chile? Is there a governmental social innovation strategy and which are the support instruments? Which is the role of business, academia and civil society in social innovation processes? Are there new methods and approaches that can be identified? Which have been the outcomes? What kind of drivers on the one hand and barriers on the other hand can be detected?

 

See attachment for full article in Spanish.