Barbara Silva claims to have gone to the future. It happened in 2009 when I was about 26 years old. He was in Chile, where he is originally from, when he decided to take a flight to the country with the best quality of life in the world to meet him and understand where his high level of development lay. It was about Denmark.
From before he got off the plane the impact was brutal. In the air, while his aircraft landed, he could see a kind of windmills generating electricity. On his first trip in the metro transportation system he observed how people paid their ticket with a cell phone. He went to the supermarket and met robotic cashiers. He took a bicycle to get around and realized that there were three lanes: one for bicycles, another for cars and one more for people with disabilities.
For three months he went promptly at 7:00 in the morning to one of the closest libraries where he was staying to ask, in that ‘futuristic’ context for a person who knew that none of that took place in Latin America, which would be his life purpose, from what he was living. The answer was: innovation.
With a clear answer, he took a plane back ‘to the past’ – she says it was like going back 30 years – and began a master’s degree in innovation in Chile, later moving to Singularity University in the United States in 2010, where they say Prepare the leaders of the future. During his stay in that country, he took the opportunity to interact with the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Silicon Valley.
He still remembers how in his native country nobody believed him when he shared what was being talked about at Singularity University at that time, such as the disappearance of certain types of traditional companies and industries. They were years in which the boom of firms like Amazon, Uber and Airbnb had no place yet.
By 2012 the changes in different sectors were evidenced and Barbara’s ideas were gaining strength. That year he created a company to advise companies on the generation of disruptive business models and, subsequently, an organization that became the first innovation academy that integrates female talent into the digital era in Latin America. He also obtained the representation of Singularity University for Chile and some cities of the world.
It should be noted that the academy for women began as an innovation competition until it derives in what it is today, a space of development and creativity where for 50 hours professionals and startups are trained to develop an idea through different methodologies, some of product , others of attraction of clients, some more of generation of networking and also of prototypes, for example.
The network of women that has been consolidated since then already adds up to more than 800. The age range goes from 25 to 60 years. But they are not any kind of woman; much less the average of those found in a common company. They are women who think “out of the box”, who “do not get in the way of the system”, who see different things and see them differently. Something common among them is that they are very lonely because regularly the intellectual environments in which they live like this are. Therefore, “not necessarily others understand them”.
Another thing: they are not women necessarily linked to engineering. Women from social sciences, design, architecture, arts, economics and other areas that break with the usual behaviors to be linked to digital and technological are also part of this network.
Among the students is a worldwide vice president of Cabify, but also senior executives of Santander, Siemens and other global companies. “We were not managers of the Industrial Revolution, we got on late and that is why we are not part of the business directories, but while we generate a critical mass of women who join the digital transformation, we will undoubtedly drive technological revolutions of the future in Latin America”, says Barbara Silva, who among her last actions is to generate a scholarship so that more Latin American women can go, as she did, to train at Singularity University.
Also published on Medium.