The seventh World Economic Forum on Latin America took place in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on 16-18 April 2012. The meeting, held under the theme “Regional Transformation in a New Global Context”, convened a record number of participants for this regional gathering, with close to 900 top regional and global leaders from 70 nations. One of three key issues that the meeting agenda integrated was “Creating Innovative Models for a Sustainable Future”.
Assuming that Innovation is creating “something different that has impact” (Scott D. Anthony, author of The Little Black Book of Innovation), I have identified for this article some Innovation Insights discussed in Puerto Vallarta at the WEF-Latam. These are classified in the following areas:
1. Agriculture and Food: Latin America should look more strongly to define new models of innovation and collaboration for the production and distribution of food. Support and investment in agriculture for food production will generate an economic growth and poverty reduction. Innovative public-private partnerships, such as one being implemented in Mexico, will be key to ensuring sustainable food supplies for a growing global population.
2. SME’s and Entrepreneurship: Latam needs more Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) and entrepreneurship for growth and inclusion. The regulations should facilitate to start a business. SME’s need greater access to financing. In Mexico, 20% of SME’s have access to financing, while 80% in Chile. Continue support and reward to the Social Entrepreneurship needed.
3. Energy and Green Growth: R&D and Innovation in biofuels in 2nd and 3rd generation developing specific strategies in every country. Create and finance technologies for a green growth to long term. Harnessing low-carbon technologies and renewable energies, and decarbonizing the transportation sector holds opportunity for job creation and growth.
4. Global Trade and Investment: The route of growth in Latam is in Trade and Investment. For this is necessary to open the world, not close the economies for conveniences politics or business pressures. Reduce tariffs and make a successful negotiation or refine the free trade agreements. Take advantage of trade opportunities to high speed combined with productivity to be highly competitive. G20 Leadership is very important in this issue.
5. Financing and Development: In this area the focus was building infrastructure for sustained business growth and create jobs in the long term. Had the following Innovation Insights: 1) Financial Inclusion: a) Banking services to help people, that more people have access to mobile banking, b) Education Finance for avoid over-indebtedness of people and families, c) Financing for SME’s. 2) External trade financing. Focus in Service Innovation, when a product is sold the most important is the service, the time to reach its destination. The infrastructure in ports, transports and customs procedures should improve. Is very important to standardize the certifications of products that are sold in different countries.
6. Leadership and Education: The future of leadership and education on Latam is focused on creating spaces and environments to innovate in companies and universities. Call for collaboration and interaction between businesses and industries. Create better programs in universities according to business needs. Investment in R&D in Universities. There should be an ongoing evaluation of education to achieve its transformation. Increase opportunities for apprentices and students internships. Governments should support border internships. The world changed! New leaders know that listening is as important as talking. The Next Generation of Latin American Leaders need a sustainable vision and commitment, and must participate in social media in a responsible manner.
7. IT and Social Network: Social Inclusion is required on the agenda for Information Technology. It must move towards a digital education, telemedicine and remote consultation, finances online (mobile banking). The Internet, social media and other communications technology have become essential means for stakeholder engagement and for creating conversations between people when, before, communications were only from the top down. Designing identities of online interaction and new technologies for people participation. Moving from binary decision to democracy “megabit”, a participation online using Crowdsourcing, that support not only technology but to discuss proposal of laws. For example the senador virtual in Chile participates in discussions. The “people feel more accountable for their decisions than for the decisions of those they elected” said Cesar A Hidalgo.
8. Public Politics: Change and modernize the laws which are lagging in their design according to the reality experienced by Latam.
9. Metrics and Follow: Metrics and KPI’s was defined to monitor the implementation of actions identified in the forum. B20 Innovation: Matriz of KPI’s (dashboard) designed for follow the actions by country.
Latin America is stronger but still faces risks!
If you want to know more about the 7th World Economic Forum on Latin America 2012, visit: WEF Latam 2012.