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Brazilians might be creative, but can they innovate?

. May 10, 2018
Innovation People are starting to look at Brazil Innovation: People are starting to look at Brazil

Brazilians are proud to talk about their creativity. Brazilian art – from music, to architecture, to advertising – is a testament to the country’s ability to come up with successful concepts. Resourcefulness is another undeniable trait common to Brazilians, to the point that the country was considered the G20’s top-ranked nation in the 2010 Global Entrepreneurship Rankings. But when it comes to advancing new ideas, the picture appears far less rosy. The Global Innovation Index (GII) – an annual report undertaken by Cornell, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – ranks countries in terms of their capacity to innovate. In 2017, Brazil came in 69th out of 127, trailing not only behind other developed nations but also four Latin American countries: Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Uruguay.

</p> <p>The report, which was supervised by Brazil’s National Industrial Confederation (CNI) and SEBRAE, highlights Brazil’s heavy bureaucracy and excessive taxation. It also addresses the country’s educational problems, which impact productivity and limit the possibilities for innovation. But there are some silver linings in the GII report. One of Brazil’s strengths is its knowledge absorption potential, with the country figuring among the top 10 nations in terms of intellectual property payments.</p> <div class="infogram-embed" data-id="edb9e8ed-c701-412d-bc30-7a26f68a3dc2" data-type="interactive"></div><script>!function(e,t,s,i){var n="InfogramEmbeds",o=e.getElementsByTagName("script"),d=o[0],r=/^http:/.test(e.location)?"http:":"https:";if(/^\/{2}/.test(i)&&(i=r+i),window[n]&&window[n].initialized)window[n].process&&window[n].process();else if(!e.getElementById(s)){var a=e.createElement("script");a.async=1,a.id=s,a.src=i,d.parentNode.insertBefore(a,d)}}(document,0,"infogram-async","//e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js");</script> <p>Despite all problems, Brazil remains one of the most promising markets for innovation. Emerging from one of its worst-ever recessions, the country is experiencing a startup boom. The amount of money invested into startup companies has increased since 2011, and now amounts to over USD 1.3 billion per year.</p> <p>“People are starting to look at Brazil. Sometimes that doesn’t happen because many local startups focus on the internal market. In a country of 200 million people, being a local leader is already something big,” says Xavier Leclerc, a former Google and Facebook executive who now promotes innovation in Rio de Janeiro.</p> <p>There’s also another facet to that idea. “Sometimes, what is very innovative at a local level might not necessary be applicable to other countries. Take Brazilian <a href="https://brazilian.report/2018/01/17/fintech-bank-concentration/">fintechs</a>, for instance. They are highly innovative, but were created to answer to specific needs by Brazilians to escape a very concentrated banking system,” explains Leclerc.</p> <p>He points to a change of culture in Brazil’s entrepreneurship. “Some 10 years ago, people would become entrepreneurs only if circumstances forced them to. Now, we see many innovation centers blossoming,” he says.</p> <p>São Paulo, Brazil&#8217;s largest city, is considered to be the world’s 12<sup>th</sup> best for startups. The city has attracted tech giants such as Google, which recently opened a campus for entrepreneurs. It is the sixth Google Campus in the world – and it demonstrates that Silicon Valley giants view Brazil as an emerging market for startups. São Paulo was also chosen to host the world’s first Facebook <a href="https://www.neowin.net/news/facebook-has-launched-in-brazil-its-first-innovation-center-in-the-world">innovation center</a>.</p> <p>And while one-quarter of startups are operating in São Paulo, there are other centers growing across the country, including Uberlândia (Minas Gerais), Florianópolis (Santa Catarina), and São José dos Campos (next to São Paulo).</p> <p>Brazilians are also more present than ever at international events. The country, for example, took a record 77 companies to the 2018 edition of the South by Southwest Conference &amp; Festivals (SXSW), one of the world’s most influential music, film, and interactive media events. Moreover, Brazilians represent the second-largest nationality of attendants at Singularity University, a Silicon Valley-based think tank and incubator.</p> <p>More significant than that, however, is the fact that Brazil is increasingly hosting events centered on innovation. One of them is Futuro I Rio, a two-day conference held this month between May 17 and 18 that will unite entrepreneurs, tech companies, academics, and professionals to debate the impacts of technology on business and society.</p> <p>Over two days, 60 speakers will share their perspectives on digital transformation – people from backgrounds as varied as executives from Brazil’s National Development Bank to startup incubators and lifestyle bloggers. To fit 60 speakers into a two-day conference, <a href="http://futuro-rio.com/en/#about">.Futuro I Rio</a> – staying true to innovation – has itself developed an unconventional format: short talks, lasting no more than 20 minutes each. “If it becomes too long, we’ll lose people’s attention to their phones,” says Leclerc, one of the event’s organizers.</p> <p>“We’re in the early stages of developing a real startup ecosystem,” says Leclerc.</p> <h4>For more information on innovation in Brazil, listen to our <em>Explaining Brazil </em>podcast:</h4> <p><iframe src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/441589098&amp;color=%23272725&amp;auto_play=true&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="166" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <p>

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