Innovación social


UNIMINUTO has been recognized as an international success story in social innovation by Harvard University, the World Bank and the G20.

Since 2011 UNIMINUTO has been recognized as an international success story in social innovation by Harvard University, the World Bank and the G20.

A social innovation is a new solution, product, service, practice or management model to a community problem or need. This solution must have the following characteristics:


  • Be more efficient than the solution existing in that community.


  • To be generated collaboratively between community and researchers, or be proposed by the researchers and adapted to the community context.


  • Be sustainable and become scalable, replicable and able to produce permanent changes in society.


The group of countries with the highest economic development, G20, the World Bank and Harvard University consider UNIMINUTO as a case of social innovation, thanks to our mission and educational model, designed to facilitate access to the university by:


  • Wide national coverage
  • Academic programs relevant to each region
  • Scholarships, subsidies and discounts
  • Funding of enrollment through an proprietary cooperative
  • Social practices of our students
  • Economic self-sustainability


For more than two decades we have strengthened our system of research and social projection strategies, from where we connect with society to generate or support other social innovations.


In addition to access to education, for more than two decades UNIMINUTO has strengthened its system of research and social outreach strategies, from where we connect with society, and other social innovations are generated or supported.


Social innovations in El Minuto de Dios

Since 2012, we have managed social innovation through the Science Park of Social Innovation Minuto de Dios, supported by the public and private sectors. However, our inheritance in this subject dates back to 1955, at the beginnings of the work and later creation of El Minuto de God, to which we belong.

At that time our founder, Eudist Father Rafael García - Herreros, was looking for a new Colombia, where all had access to an integral human development.

The social doctrine of the Church and the philosophy of Saint John Eudes inspired the social innovations of Minuto de Dios, including UNIMINUTO.


What began with a radio program, a television program, the Minuto de Dios neighborhood in Bogotá and several housing solutions in the rest of the country, did not end in just a short-term aid or assistance.

On the contrary, the vision of the Father and those who supported him to empower people and communities for his own progress, materialized in more than thirty social innovations, described by Maria Teresa Gnneco, member of the council of founders of UNIMINUTO, in her book Social innovations for equity and social inclusion, among which we may mention:

  • El Minuto de Dios radio and television program
  • Minuto de Dios neighborhood
  • Housing subsidies for the homes of poor people
  • The Banquete del Millón and donation collection systems.
  • Contemporary Art Museum.
  • Access to education through schools, colleges, work training and higher education (Case of UNIMINUTO).
  • Social inclusion of populations such as indigenous people, peasants and HIV carriers.
  • Evangelization in the media, prayer groups, events and priestly formation.

These and other initiatives did not end when the Father García-Herreros died in 1992, but have been consolidated as social innovations and entities within the El Minuto de Dios organization with increasing impact in Colombia, thanks to the work of those who have supported and continued the work of the founder.


UNIMINUTO began with 240 students in Bogotá and currently has about 130,000 in more than half of Colombia.

What is the reason for success and permanence? In the book Social Innovation in Latin America, the President of UNIMINUTO Bogotá Street 80, Jefferson Arias, explains several reasons:

  • Community participation and empowerment
  • Partnerships with entities
  • Combination of traditional and technical knowledge
  • Leadership

The work of the scientific park of social innovation since 2012, of UNIMINUTO since 1992 and of the Organization El Minuto de Dios for more than sixty years, contribute to continue fulfilling today the task conceived by Father García-Herreros, so valid in the Colombia of the fifties of the twentieth century as now:

"El Minuto de Dios seeks a social change that reach the root of the social problem in the economic, housing, health, education, community, solidarity and improvement in all aspects"

F. Rafael García- Hererros, cjm



To learn more about social innovation, we recommend you:

Download the book Social Innovation in Latin America (in Spanish).

Consult the book social innovations for equity and social inclusion: the case of El Minuto de Dios in our libraries (in Spanish).






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