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The third edition of the Latin American Encounter on Social Innovation, known as ELIS in Spanish, took place in Guadalajara from the 31st of October to the 1st of November. Rather than relinquishing over the past, the traditional Mexican Día de Muertos celebration was spent looking to the future. Innovators from across the region came to refuel their energy, share and learn from experiences of disruptive innovation carried out with of from the governments of their neighboring countries.

ELIS begun three years ago in Colombia when the government got bit by the social innovation bug. Not knowing where to start, they decided to launch a yearly encounter where Latin American countries could come together to share best practices and discuss the status and future of social innovation in the region. The next year, in 2016, the encounter took place in Costa Rica and this year Mexico was the lucky host.

After having presented last year in the Costa Rica edition of ELIS, C Minds had the honor of presenting at ELIS 2017 within a panel of highly diverse speakers. Together with the Ministry of External Commerce of Costa Rica, WeGov from Brazil, Innóvate from Perú and the Institute for Statistical and Geographical Information from Mexico, C Minds sought to answer the main question: how can open government promote change?

We presented our Labora initiative, an acceleration hub based on data for startups and SMEs, javing attendants think about how the Data Revolution could be combined with the Startup Boom. How can we ensure the power of the former seeps through to the startup industry, so as to have a real economic impact on the country? We also raised ethical questions behind the Data Revolution, having participants wonder who data should belong to? Should social media companies be using our data, be they search engine entries or spoken words, for marketing purposes?

Beyond simply participating in the event, C Minds is working with a number of other participants to ensure these conversations and knowledge transfer opportunities are not limited to a yearly 2-day event by creating an ELIS network. We are working with Prosperidad Social from Colombia, the RGUA Development and Innovation Corporation from Chile, the Ministry of Modernization from Argentina and the University of Guadalajara (Mexico) to define certain elements of the online platform.

C Minds believes these are the types of events that will help Latin America stand out and be at the forefront of social innovation at a global scale. If you are interested in being a part of this initiative, please get in touch with us and we will be sure to add you to the international team!

More about Labora:

Although opening data sets is a great step forward and has amazing potential for the economy, how can we ensure that data is used and that the potential becomes a concrete reality? How can we work with Mexico’s startup ecosystem, which contributes a large percentage to the national GDP, to help them grasp the power of open data and create feedback networks to the agencies opening these datasets? Together with Dev.f, Latin America’s largest hacking school, the National Digital Office of the Presidency, the Open Data Institute in London and the support of the British Embassy in Mexico, C Minds designed an acceleration hub based on data for startups and SMEs. In addition to promoting technological development within the company, data use and supporting the development of a solid business model, the partners also connected each participating startup with relevant government agencies so they could understand both the supply and demand side of open data. The greatest achievement of Labora, in addition to creating concrete case studies of how open data can be integrated into a business model, was triggering a demand for open data and creating a data-based innovation culture in Mexico.  


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