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#WednesdayWalkabout Series: A Backpacker’s Guide to Digitization


November 4, 2015 - 0 Comments

Co-authored with Dani Schrakamp

Innovation at the Forefront of Everything

As the 2016 Rio Olympics draw nearer, the eyes of the world are turning to Brazil and South America. Latin American economies have historically been increasingly exposed to global uncertainty and economic volatility. However, the region has made significant progress in adopting technology innovations leading to economic development and initiatives to accelerate and stabilize growth. And as host to some of the world’s largest events, Latin America continues to attract industry leaders, economists, financial executives, technologists, and government innovators that are rallying behind the quest for change. Significant drivers of that change will be innovative technology adoption and digital transformation.

Along with the rest of the world, Latin America is witnessing that digital technologies are not only an essential building block of a society, but currently also the driving force behind social, economic, and political development. We are the fortunate ones to live through – and hold the responsibility to shape – an era in which ubiquitously connected information and communications have become the catalyst of human progress. We really have only scratched the surface of what is possible. And as we observe businesses, communities, and countries as they progress in their respective digital revolutions, we will only continue to deepen our understanding on how technology innovations transform our world.

The Latin America Backpacking Experience

This week, our digital citizen is feeling adventurous as ever. In deciding to take a break from the average workweek, our citizen planned a backpacking excursion throughout Latin America. Follow along as we learn and see first-hand how technology is transforming lives in the region, with new job skills, entrepreneurial opportunities, innovative services and stronger, digitally inclusive societies.

First stop on the list will be Cancún, Mexico. More than ever, information technologies driving the transformation of Mexico and Latin America are fundamental for digital transformation and social inclusion. As a Cisco Live Latin America attendee, our citizen will have the opportunity to understand innovative solutions that are revolutionizing the way in which governments can address common challenges, change the way they relate to citizens, and transform the way in which digital inclusion and the adoption of technologies maximize the economic and social impact.

Our citizen will now hop on down to Guayaquil, Ecuador. The city is Ecuador’s largest port and widely known for its delicious seafood dishes. Food is great, everyone loves food, but our citizen wants to dive deeper and experience what the people of Guayaquil experience in their daily lives. And by immersing in the local social landscape, our citizen learns that the city government wants to convert everyone to a ‘digital citizen’ and that the mayor in particular is focused on equipping people with the right instruments to be better prepared for the future. The Guayaquil initiatives towards this effort – which include free Wi-Fi hotspots, connected kiosks to provide Internet access to residents, and telemedicine program that allows patients to receive remote diagnoses and treatment by specialists – are improving the overall community experience and increasing confidence in local government.

Brazil_Inside Innovation

Finally, our digital citizen is ending the journey by volunteering with the Grameen Foundation’s Progress out of Poverty program in Haiti. Our citizen is placed on the business intelligence task force, which supports training and certification programs, an online resource center, and communications to help speed development and delivery to more organizations and serve more people in need. The digital citizen helped expand adoption of its technology-based tools among its organizations to alleviate poverty, improve local financing initiatives, and facilitate mobile health solutions.

These are just a few examples. Digital transformation is really taking shape and changing the way we all work, shop, communicate, learn, get around, and live our lives. It is vitally important that community and country leaders understand how these tools can also potentially change government.

Next Stop

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s post. And be sure to check back each week as we explore new themes, challenges and observations. Additionally, you can click here and register now to get your questions answered on how to become the next digital community.

Finally, we invite you to be a part of the conversation by using the hashtag #WednesdayWalkabout and by following @CiscoGovt on Twitter. For more information and additional examples, visit our Smart+Connected Communities page and our Government page on Cisco.com. Enjoy the Wednesday walkabout!

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