People Want More Innovation in Latin America — Survey

Bogotá, Buenos Aires, México DF, São Paulo, Santiago de Chile — In the largest ever independent survey on the public’s attitude towards innovation in Latin America, new research from Somos Innovación uncovers why innovation plays such an important role in people’s lives, both locally and nationally.

According to a poll of over 5,000 people in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, public opinion is clear: people want more not less innovation in their lives, whether it’s access to a more diverse range of goods and services, or in creating interesting career opportunities and better paying jobs, people enjoy the opportunities that innovation brings to their lives.

Key findings:

  • 87% of people across Latin America believe that encouraging innovation is crucial for the future economic growth and job creation in their country.
  • When developing policies/regulations around a product or service innovation, 82% in all countries believe it is important governments take into account the views of the public.
  • 85% across all countries believe that, in a democracy, governments should encourage innovation as it creates more freedom of choice for people.
  • In all countries, the majority (84%) said they like to use products and services that make use of innovative ideas.

Colombia, the home for on demand food-delivery business unicorn, Rappi, is the LATAM country where desire for innovation is strongest, with 90% of Colombians saying they like to use products and services that make use of innovative ideas. In contrast, Brazil has the lowest agreement, but still with a majority of 66% of its people agreeing.

Our research reveals that this sort of approach runs strongly against the public’s support for these new innovative business models. 86% of those surveyed across LATAM (87% in Mexico) believe that Airbnb should not be restricted or banned as it provides greater convenience, lower cost for users, and boost travel and tourism income. Similarly, 86% of respondents in LATAM thought Uber and Cabify should not be restricted or banned. 80% of respondents thought on demand food-delivery businesses like Rappi should not be restricted or banned as they provide convenience and choice for consumers, as well as new sources of income for restaurants and delivery drivers.

74% of people across LATAM believe it is important that governments do not stop innovation in its early stages by regulating a new product or service before they fully understand it. Not only is an authoritarian, protectionist and haphazard approach to stop innovation at odds with what the people across LATAM and within its countries desire, but the research reveals the current reality of regulation has created a disturbing climate of uncertainty and confusion on what is and isn’t illegal among innovative products and services.

For example, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are legal in all of the LATAM countries surveyed — yet only 45% of people in LATAM believe them to be legal. The sharing economy services are also, in principle, legal in most of LATAM. Indeed, 31% of people across the region believe Uber is illegal, or they weren’t sure. Over one quarter (27%) of all people across LATAM believe letting out a room or property via a sharing website such as Airbnb is illegal or are not sure, and in Chile it is one third (34%).

Perceptions on whether vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes is legal or illegal in LATAM bears little relation to whether vaping is prohibited or allowed in their country. Vaping is legal in Colombia but only 46% of adults in Colombia said it was. Meanwhile in Argentina, vaping is meant to be prohibited, but around one third of all adults surveyed there thought it was legal (33%), while one third thought it was illegal (35%) and the remaining one-third said they didn’t know (32%).

Federico N. Fernández, Executive Director at Somos Innovación and Founder and President of Fundación Internacional Bases (Rosario, Argentina), said:

“These results clearly show that people are crying out for more not less innovation. Innovation is good for governments and good for business. In contrast, poorly designed regulation is viewed as costly and distorts market dynamics, limits innovation and creates undesirable confusion and uncertainty for both consumers and innovative businesses.”

Notes for Editors:

Somos Innovación is the Latin American network for creativity and innovation. It is the voice of a thriving civil society that wants to progress through the adoption of new technologies and human creativity. Somos Innovación is a group of individuals and institutions who are convinced that, through innovative solutions, people can get involved in problem solving.

Methodology statement:

Somos Innovación has commissioned Kampo Brazil as one of Latin America’s leading independent research consultancies to carry out fieldwork for an international survey on attitudes towards innovation and regulation in Latin America.

Kampo Brazil interviewed 5,000 adults (18+) across Latin America, 1,000 in each of the following countries — Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico — using a mixed methodology approach. Fieldwork was conducted between 13 November and 3 December 2019.

50% of interviews in each country surveyed were conducted using CATI methodology and 50% using an online survey. The survey was demographically representative of each country’s population.




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