Latin America can become more innovative if people in the region regard their technology innovators as highly as soccer stars, Luis Alberto Moreno, the chief of the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), said this week. Youths, he said, can be inspired to excel in technology if they see innovators get a treatment similar to that of football players.
His suggestion came during an interview with Spanish news agency Efe. “In Latin America we lack the Neymar of technology,” he stated, referring to the Brazilian soccer star.
The majority of Latin Americans are deprived of an opportunity to demonstrate their innovative ideas and even if some of them did get the chance they could not take their ideas to the wider world due to a variety of factors, including finance and support.
“The great paradox we have in Latin America is that we lack the Neymar of technology and the James Rodriguez (another Colombian soccer star) of IT, and precisely what we fail to do is spotlight the star quality of our innovators,” Moreno said.
Moreno added that in the same way that “as countries we idolize and publicize our soccer idols, we ought to do the same with our entrepreneurs, because on that depends them making radical changes to our technology and social values.”
To illustrate the need for a greater emphasis on innovation, he noted that Latin America’s achievement in the technology world pales in comparison with tiny Asian nations like South Korea, which has less than 10% of Latin America’s population but 20 times more patents.
Last month, the IDB released a book titled ‘Innovate or Die’, authored by journalist Andrés Oppenheimer. The book, according to the bank, describes how Latin America can become a knowledge society by being innovative.