Report: A reflection on Strengthening Social Innovation in Colombia

In 2013, The Young Foundation and the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) were commissioned by the national Colombian Centre for Social Innovation of ANSPE (National Agency to Overcome Extreme Poverty) to design and run a series of events on Social Innovation with a range of stakeholders. This project was supported by Compartamos con Colombia and the Inter-American Development Bank.

Through this collaboration, the Centre aimed to gain insight into the social innovation capability in Colombia, help build a community around social innovation and promote it as a key issue in the country’s public agenda.

We held a series of events including workshops on Social Innovation in Practice in Bogotá and in Medellín with over 150 participants which were high-energy, practical sessions focused on understanding, embedding and promoting social innovation methods and tools. Participants included policy makers, academics, community-based practitioners, social entrepreneurs, journalists and relevant representatives from the private sector.

We also held a public event on building momentum for social innovation in Colombia hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá with over 400 people in attendance. The event aimed to raise the visibility of social innovation and the work that the government and private sector is undertaking in this realm. Geoff Mulgan, CEO of Nesta and Board member of SIX, spoke on how social innovation can be used to tackle extreme poverty in Colombia; Louise Pulford, Director of SIX, spoke on how to build community for social innovation; and Patricia Gonzalez, from the Chamber of Commerce, spoke on Shared Value. A panel, moderated by Vicky Colbert of Escuela Nueva, provided a lively forum for debate on these topics.

Through project visits and meetings we met a range of stakeholders across all sectors who are working in, thinking about and driving forward social innovation practice around the country. These conversations influenced our thinking on our emerging recommendations for the field of social innovation in Colombia which are detailed in our report.