In the Mouth of Innovation

Much of our time in Argentina has been spent studying the history and cultural significance of the buildings, art, music, and dance. Yet, instead of looking at the past, this morning we focussed on what the future holds from the Austral classroom. We were visited by the co-founder of Codika, a small startup software development firm from the area. Exequiel gave us an interactive presentation as we unpacked the potential of innovation and how it takes a method to bring an idea to the market and give it value. His company is designed to invent ideas and develop them in a sustainable way, learning from failures to strategize success. Last summer, I spent several weeks studying innovation in Ireland, which included touring large corporations known for their innovation such as Google and Microsoft and appreciated a smaller startup discussing the same concepts and the importance of constant innovation in order to stay competitive and relevant.

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Interestingly, while the city is working hard to engage with new technologies and solve many of their problems, specifically as it relates to the healthcare industry we are studying, there is still great preservation of its rich history. One example is of the tango. We learned about many different forms of the dance and music as it has modernized over the years for younger generations to be more actively involved, and yet still remains true to its values and remains popular. Also, Buenos Aires acts as a great port city, and over time, has expanded its ports for further trade, as we saw the old port compared to Madero with all the skyscrapers and the Nuevo port. They continue to develop without forgetting the past because of its importance in forming the country it is today.

The neighborhood of La Boca, or the mouth in English, was a place we explored this afternoon to get an even greater sense of this appreciation for the country’s foundations. Historically, many immigrants needed to reside in convents with families sharing single rooms in small apartments. Now, they are painted brightly with colors on El Caminito street and aligned with local artisans selling their trades, such as jewelry or art. The location, although very simple, is also very beautiful as many tourists seem to notice. Tourism is an innovation that the city is able to benefit from and showcase their unique culture. Preservation can only be maintained through the funds received by the tourism industry, however, on the other hand, this may also prevent the true value from emerging.

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