Uruguay a Good Country for Social Entrepreneurs and Sustainable Development? Interview with Giselle Della Mea

Uruguay's sustainability innovation potential is the main focus of our conversation with Giselle Della Mea. It is the last of our series of interviews with some of the country's leading brand managers, film producers, policy makers, investors and entrepreneurs.

A country's sustainability - the extent to which it manages its resources well for the benefit of current and future generations - is a meta topic now, which affects every place in the world. Extreme weather events caused by changing climate patterns further add to the urgency of putting sustainable development criteria high up on government agenda.

As Giselle tells us in the interview, Uruguay is well positioned within the region, as a proactive nation when it comes to climate friendliness and generation of renewable energy. But she also points out that much still needs to be done and improved.

Giselle, The Economist recently referred to you as a “Changemaker” – someone who will likely become influential over the coming decades. How does it feel to receive such a recognition?

It was all a surprise. Two people from The Economist wrote to me from England and still I don’t know how they came to me. It struck me that very mainstream and traditional media are observing who is behind the new economies in the global sphere.

You are among the leading “design thinkers” in Uruguay. Briefly, can you tell us what this is about, and how design thinking can help to solve complex problems – economic, environmental or social?

Design Thinkers Group is a network of professionals around the world that facilitate processes in businesses and the public sector. Belonging to that community is a source of inspiration, success stories, and exchange of the latest trends and tools in methodology.

Design is not an exact science. It has a systematic approach based on experimentation, trial and error. It is guided by patterns and connects elements that were disconnected before.

Design thinking is the methodology behind the design process, and it focuses on the solution of problems, partly from the origin of problems, and promotes simplification and efficiency.

Empathy is the key to being a good designer and for that, we need to know the true problems to solve, such as poverty, social inequalities, scarcity of resources, climate change, etc. But if we go to what lies underneath it all, it can be simplified to two types of problems: social and environmental, and the rest are subcategories of these two.


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Florian Kaefer

Founder and editor of The Place Brand Observer. Loves Nature and discovering the world - one place at a time. Believes in the power of storytelling to connect people, to spread ideas and to make this world a better place for all. Founder of the Sustainability Leaders Project.