Juan Carlos Aguilar Macizo

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2000


This profile was prepared when Juan Carlos Aguilar Macizo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
Juan Carlos, who has invented with found materials since childhood, is leading a movement for social inventing, applying the inventor's imagination to local development needs. He encourages inventors to consider several aspects of their work's social viability: local access to materials, local maintenance and repair, low cost, convenience, and environmental impact.
The great innovation, as Juan Carlos sees it, is not only creating new objects, but also creating a new paradigm in which self-sufficient people generate their own development technology and do not rely on expensive imported solutions. Unique to Juan Carlos' idea is his desire to recover and cultivate an innate creative capacity that goes largely untapped in poor communities. He recognizes poor people's creativity and teaches them to invent for self-reliance. To promote this new profession, he supports aspiring young inventors and encourages accomplished inventors to turn towards social inventing.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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