What I am working on at the moment

I am leading the Public Innovation Team at the National Planning Department in Colombia, striving to catalyze innovation in the Colombian public sector by facilitating human- and community-centered experimentation spaces. Our work currently has three main lines of action:

1.  Pilot projects in which diverse government agencies and citizens work together to create new approaches to tackle particularly “wicked” challenges (such as black fumes emissions or corruption), using tools and insights from design, ethnography and the behavioural sciences. 

2. Contributing to policy efforts to foster social innovation and entrepreneurship for peace-building in a post-conflict scenario. 

3.  Strengthening a culture of innovation within Colombian public agencies.

Why I wanted to join the Participatory City Global Advisory

I am convinced about the great potential of the project -- not just to show how people can act together to create more sustainable, vibrant and exciting places to live and thrive in, but also to generate practical, tangible evidence that can inspire others to experiment in similar directions. I believe Participatory City can contribute decisively to the expansion of a new and much-need understanding of “citizen participation” – one that links participation to simple, day-to-day collective action, rather than to “formal” and largely ineffective feedback mechanisms. That starts by emphasizing inclusion, equality, and the priority of the habitats in which we live. I also believe that Participatory City can benefit from dialoguing with like-minded parties in significantly different contexts (such as Colombia).

A little bit about Javier's background

Javier studied Philosophy at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and holds an MA in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Public Policy (MPP) from the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany. After working as an editorial coordinator at the Alberto Lleras Camargo School of Government of Universidad de los Andes, he engaged as a researcher and social change practitioner with the Colombian NGO Corpovisionarios, focusing on processes of diagnosis and change of social norms.

He has accumulated experiences as consultant with international organizations (UNICEF, World Bank) and has facilitated on-the-ground workshops with grassroots organizations working on gender and child-protection issues in Brazil, Mexico and Uganda. He is also co-founder of OndaPolitica, a start-up that explores the potential of human-centered design for bridging the gap between research and practice in the field of public policy.