In June 2012, Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia, appeared at the inauguration of the Center for Social Innovation (CSI), the first government-supported center of its kind in Latin America. At the event, he said, “Social innovation can help us be more effective, efficient, and sustainable in our goal of reducing poverty. Social innovation has to do with the rethinking of our policies and programs, with the help of private companies and citizens.”

When Santos took office in 2010,...

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