World Economic Forum on Latin America

  • Old Problems, New Solutions

    By Xavier Castellanos

    Thursday 25th April 2013 - 10:45am - 12:15pm PET

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  • Xavier Castellanos,Director of Americas, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Panama discusses the session Old Problems, New Solutions. 

  • These insights were written by Xavier Castellanos.

    Synopsis

    A fascinating exchange of ideas, expertise and knowledge was concentrated on the topic of Old Problems, New Solutions, and on how solutions in Latin America are resulting from sufficient understanding of the problems and opening space for innovation and learning as mechanisms for change. It was well recognized that platforms for communication and information sharing help to encourage not only participation, but also opportunities to learn from each other. At the same time, it was highlighted that what we all need to strive for is simplicity to ease accessibility to information, understanding of the information and for cross-sharing and learning.

    The work studio allowed participants to discuss topics on critical behaviours in today’s world, as enablers – or blockers – to address solutions and problems. Participants were clustered in six groups and scored their points of view regarding privacy, security, freedom of expression, transparency, access and technology. They discussed how business communities, the public sector, NGOs and old and young generations see the world we live in, and what are the trigger factors to change minds and respond better to the challenges and opportunities of today.

    In a second part of the activity, participants had the opportunity the discuss how to change the current context using digital tools. Three sectors for discussion where contemplated: innovative business, innovative citizenship and innovative government. The task was to discuss how these sectors can contribute to promoting job creation, transforming existing models and enhancing participation in government and civil society. The session opened up an interesting exchange of ideas on how technology can offer the space for growth, but discussions also highlighted the risk of individualization in a culture of urban environments where capacities, skills and opportunities exist.

    It was encouraging listening to the importance of creating a safe space for the incubation of ideas, sponsorships and synergies between the private sector, academia and government; this seems to be an area that clearly is needed. It was also recognized that changing minds with today’s technology means opening better engagement of different sectors of society helping to increase diversity and inclusion, and also the exchange of views of how digital thinking requires acceptance that we live in an era of mobile world, but at the same time, that local solutions are imperative. I will end this report with a message from one of the working groups: “We need to change the vision of success, and accept that we can also celebrate failure. With failure, we can improve things, try new others, make mistakes, learn from them, innovate and change minds”.

    Disclosures

    The views expressed are those of certain participants in the discussion and do not necessarily reflect the views of all participants or of the World Economic Forum.

Session objectives

As Internet penetration and connectivity continue their rapid pace towards ubiquity, a new generation of Latin American change-makers is collaborating to implement digital solutions to some of the region's most long-standing problems.

Dimensions to be addressed:

  • Using digital tools to promote job creation, spawn new industries and transform existing models
  • Developing new means for citizens to engage with government
  • Enabling civil society to organize and engage in non-traditional manners

Rapporteur

  • Xavier Castellanos Xavier Castellanos
    Director, Americas, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Panama City

    Nearly three decades of experience working in humanitarian emergencies and operations. Has worked at...

Speakers

  • Germano Guimarães Germano Guimarães
    Co-Founder and Director, Instituto Tellus, Brazil

    Degree in Public Administration, Fundação Getulio Vargas, São Paulo; graduate, Global Competitive...

  • Luis Diego Oreamuno Luis Diego Oreamuno
    Co-Founder and Director, Grupo Inco, Costa Rica

    Degree in Business Management, Universidad de Costa Rica. Entrepreneur in the data industry. Formerl...

  • Sandra Jovchelovitch Sandra Jovchelovitch
    Professor of Social Psychology and Director, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom

    PhD, FBPsS. Holds a chair in Social Psychology at the LSE; directs the Graduate Programme in Social ...

  • Tom Wirth Tom Wirth
    Regional General Manager, Kudelski Group, USA

    BSc in Electrical Engineering, University of North Carolina, Charlotte; MBA, Virginia Tech Universit...

  • Jonathan Jackson Jonathan Jackson
    Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dimagi, USA

    Bachelor's and Master's in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of T...

  • Xavier Castellanos Xavier Castellanos
    Director, Americas, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Panama City

    Nearly three decades of experience working in humanitarian emergencies and operations. Has worked at...

  • Lourdes Casanova Lourdes Casanova
    Senior Lecturer of Management and Academic Emerging Markets Institute, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, USA

    Master's, Univ. of Southern California; PhD, Univ. of Barcelona. Formerly, taught at INSEAD, resp. f...

Facilitated by

  • Soumitra Dutta Soumitra Dutta
    Anne and Elmer Lindseth Dean and Professor of Management, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, USA

    BTech in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi; MSc...

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