Delfina started her work with municipalities in Argentina in 2012. Her work was devoted to public policies research and development. She shaped the idea of applying the CREA methodology (developed in France by a group of agrarian producers, after World War II) to the Public sector, at a municipal level. She started with the offices of two mayors and noticed her ideas had potential for great social impact. After this experience, Delfina decided to create an organization and expand the range of activities in order to transform the local development and design of public policies at that level. This led to the 2014 launch of the Red de Innovación Local (RIL), or Local Innovation Network, which is currently going through the legal process of becoming a civil association. The approach Delfina proposes has two focusses. First, RIL aims to be an advice platform among peers (mayors and municipal agents) to enhance local policies through transferring methodologies from the CREA groups. Second, it offers guidance to government groups on
how to implement “public innovation tools” in order to solve current issues as well as create
development opportunities. Both parts of the project complement each other: one serves as an exchange between municipalities and the other gives municipalities one-on-one attention. Monthly meetings with mayors and team groups from the same areas (production secretaries, for example) form a part of the consulting between peers in the network. A host agent invites a team from the network to his/her municipality. He/she then states the main management challenges, everyone in the group visits the concerned area together. At the end of the day, the guests provide the host with proposals and solutions. This process is moderated by an specialist advisor provided by RIL. Currently there are two Mayors’ groups and a Production Secretaries group, consisting of 8 Municipalities each. These activities include the participation of 15 districts from the interior of the country.
Shortly after the groups began, the initial impact was already apparent. For example, the Rivadavia Municipality (Buenos Aires province) gave the challenge of finding jobs for youth. After the RIL workshops, the mayor convened local companies – those that had already initiated systematic meetings -- and focused on analyzing new investment lines that would open new options for local employment. In RIL’s guidance to the Government teams, Delfina proposes training workshops on 5 subjects she identifies as a priority to a municipality: innovation, entrepreneurship, public-private partnership, environmental sustainability and cultural management. The workshops include content, public innovation tools and the actual work the government teams initiate to tackle their main challenges, applying the provided tools. The trainings end with action plans with which RIL reviews in their implementation follow-up. In 2014, RIL held innovation and entrepreneurship workshops in 10 country districts and public-private collaboration workshops in 2 districts. In Dolores City, Buenos Aires province, Delfina worked in the development of an innovation that is already in its implementation stage. Delfina recently contacted the nation’s Secretary of Municipal Issues with the idea of developing an innovation incentive for local governments. The proposal was approved and she started working in the design and technical assistance to the first “Innovation for Local Governments” contest. The contest objective is to generate, among the local government teams, ideas to improve public management. The contest will have three stages: one of virtual training, a stage for presentation of ideas and the awards phase, which provides resources for the implementation of the winning ideas. The focus is in four themed areas, in which challenges at a municipal level usually converge: management and internal procedures, solid urban waste management, territorial urban development and production and economic development promotion. For the training stage, Delfina is working together with Acámica, a virtual educational virtual platform, that will be used as a base for the design of other virtual training spots for local governments. Joint ventures at a local level is one of the core principles for RIL’s work to be
successful. An example of this is linkage between two municipalities through local companies is in Sunchales, Santa Fe and Catrilo, La Pampa. Delfina got the support of
companies outside the local territories to support RIL’s proposal for local development,
including Banco Hipotecario, La Anònima, Nidera, Grupo Román and Minicuotas Ribeiro. Delfina envisions inner cities across the country that would be able to offer their citizens opportunities for development, thereby preventing migration to big cities and reframing capacity for value creation in the local sphere.