The imperative of innovation 2.0: An interview with IDB’s Jose Miguel Benavente
Benavente during his participation at the Latin Trade BRAVO Symposium in October last year.

Benavente during his participation at the Latin Trade BRAVO Symposium in October last year.

16th March 2016

What’s new about entrepreneurial innovation in Latin America in this Interview with José Miguel Benavente.
BY SANTIAGO GUTIÉRREZ
Have you heard about Crystal Lagoons? asks José Benavente, chief of the Competitiveness and Innovation division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and co-author of the book, “The New Imperative of Innovation: Policy Perspectives for Latin America and the Caribbean,” which was published in February.
What’s certain is that for whoever is interested in corporate innovation, this real estate company of Chilean Fernando Fischmann, who in just seven years has placed his projects in 60 countries, is a must-see reference.
Imagine: a biochemist who bought 60 hectares in Algarrobo, Chile to develop a vacation home project. The main attraction on the site, now known as San Alfonso del Mar, was an enormous artificial lake one kilometer long and 3 meters deep on average. At the time it was thought of as the largest swimming pool in the world. At the start of construction, however, it had an unexpected and catastrophic problem for real estate development: “the pool went green,” says Benavente.
Their work, “innovation motivated by desperation,” enabled them to find the way to keep the water clear with neither filters nor chlorine, instead using pulses and ultrasonic filtration. Today San Alfonso del Mar has 1,300 apartments in 11 buildings alongside a gigantic saltwater swimming pool, and Crystal Lagoons Corp., a company founded in 2007, has …

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