The Yachachiqs

The tradition of innovation in Peru can be traced back to the very beginnings of civilization on the continent, (the sacred city of Caral dates back some 5,000 years). Peruvians have since developed forms of large-scale agriculture, water and soil management, building technologies, metallurgy, textile manufacturing, astronomy, medicine and so forth. We see evidence of how those innovations have developed in archaeological sites and museums. What makes that so extraordinary, however, is that system used to create and disseminate knowledge is one that exists today. This is the Yachachiq system. The Yachachiqs have not only managed keep that system intact but have succeeded in incorporating modern technology to solve their problems. There are currently 2,000 Yachachiqs living in the Andes involved in the creation of new technology and business ventures with the potential to reduce poverty.

In traditional Andean culture, arts and (technics) are one in the same — a Yachachiq could be a master artisan just as he could be a local mechanic. The term Yachachiq is not a name but the title a community confers on an individual who possesses extraordinary abilities and leadership skills. They already have such incredible technical abilities and creativity. They can even decide whether some information, knowledge or tools would be useful if they could adapt it to serve their needs. When provided with that they can achieve wonders without any outside interference or advice. Yachachiqs are do-it-yourself people; they don’t buy technology and they make their own things from available local materials.

The Yachachiqs are representative of how innovation can take hold in rural settings, but in Peru, as is the case with other developing countries, innovation is found more often in urban environments.

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