What makes Bogotá one of the most innovative cities in Latin America?

I’m writing this post as I fly back to Chicago from Quito, the capital of Ecuador. I spent the past few days with the city’s Mayor and some of his leaders and teams. They are participating in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University to provide executive education for mayors and senior city leaders, through work on impactful projects.


Bringing Christmas to the FARC: The communications campaign that helped end 50 years of conflict

MullenLoweSSP3 is not your traditional communications agency. Launched in Bogota in 1996 under the name Sokoloff Samper Polar Mora, their goal was to become one of the most innovative agencies in the world. That goal became a reality in 2012, when they received a Titanium Lions awards in Cannes for their “Ríos de luz” campaign.


Founding father of design strategy Patrick Whitney on the value of immersive learning experiences

We recently had the opportunity to talk with Patrick Whitney, the former dean of the IIT Institute of Design in Chicago and a founding father of the field of design strategy, about what he calls our current “Reflection Deficit Disorder” and the value of immersive learning experiences. Here is a transcription of our conversation with him…


Insights from a Colombian public innovator

From the moment we met Javier Guillot it was clear he’s the kind of person who can’t tolerate watching life from the sidelines. As an innovation leader for Colombia’s National Planning Department, he immerses himself as readily in the rural communities impacted by policy and economic partnerships as he does influencing policy from inside the agency. Our first conversation over dinner in Bogotá included a riveting analysis of Facebook’s entry into rural Colombian communities…


Are survivors of Colombian conflict the future of a resilient and innovative economy?

Born in Colombia but having spent half her life in Europe, Laura Adiwasito Senior’s perspective on her hometown is—to put it mildly—multi-layered. She is devoted to impactful storytelling for public and private organizations all over Colombia. Here, Laura cautions about avoiding a false innovation trend that can’t be sustained…


Changing a century-old culture one cup of coffee at a time

Elisa and Felipe are not your typical coffee farmers. Young, educated, and with a business acumen for the global value chain of the crop, they are the champions of a movement called “Nueva Colombia” (New Colombia), which aims at revitalizing coffee production in the country.

At first glance, one would think that our increasing fascination with fancy and costly coffee drinks should have resulted in an economic boom for coffee growers in Colombia. But when you visit small coffee farmers, such perceptions couldn’t be farther from truth…

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Three reasons why you should not attend trans:form:ed

One of the hardest questions we are asked about trans:form:ed is “Who should attend?” The short answer is this: trans:form:ed is for senior leaders who are expected to lead teams and organizations in times of ambiguity, unpredictability and constant change…


trans:form:ed: the value of immersion in the face of complexity

Emerging technology, new consumer behavior, unanticipated competition, worldwide political and social upheaval, information overload, climate crises. The conditions of today are more than complicated—they form a web. Each tangle we begin to unravel is anchored on a new knot. How can we create opportunities for global leaders and thinkers to isolate factors and identify potential solutions within the macro context?


How Colombian startups are leapfrogging traditional banking to reach the unbanked

For the uninformed, Colombia may not be the first place that comes to mind when they hear the term ‘FinTech.’ But for the past few years the conflation of different conditions has pushed the country’s growth in this space a great deal…


Rappi: How is a bicycle courier service out of Bogotá becoming the face of the global economy?

In the age of digital, who would have guessed that the fastest growing company in Latin America is a courier service delivering goods via bicycle and motorbike? Since its 2015 founding in Bogotá, Rappi has attracted over $300 million in investment funding and expanded to six countries and twenty-seven cities…


Unexpected lessons on legacy, justice and empowerment from Bogota's graffiti artists

During a recent scouting trip for trans:form:ed to Bogota, I joined a graffiti tour with the intention of learning about an art form that historically has had a love-hate relationship with local authorities and residents. What I wasn’t expecting was an in-depth analysis of the current socio-political situation in Colombia through the eyes of very talented artists…


Turning conflict and violence into hope and empowerment. A trans:form:ed conversation with Dr. Molly Melin

We recently had a chance to interview Dr. Molly Melin, who is Associate Professor of International Relations at Loyola University Chicago. The focus of Dr. Melin’s research is conflict resolution, and she is particularly interested in the role that businesses play in contributing to the creation of peaceful societies. After having traveled to Colombia on a family vacation a few years ago, last Summer she, her husband and their two children decided to pick a place they had already visited, and that they would all want to go back to. They unanimously chose Colombia…


Farming in post-conflict Colombia: a trans:form:ed conversation with Adri Senior

We recently had the opportunity to interview Adri Senior, the President of CCI (Corporación Colombia Internacional). This an organization that works to strengthen production and sustainability of small farmers in Colombia. During our conversation, we touched on the peace deal with FARC, sustainable agriculture, and the role that CCI plays to empower small farmers in Colombia…


Introducing trans:form:ed, a way of re-imagining leadership development

Some of the most profound lessons I have learned in life have happened in the least expected times and places. Ironically, those learning experiences that promise to be transformative, rarely deliver on this promise. Take study-abroad courses as an example…