All posts

Published on 14 de June, 2016 at Cities and Regions

Barcelona’s struggle to become an innovation pole

By Pol Solà
4 min read

Barcelona was chosen in 2014 by the European Commission as the first European Capital of Innovation. The award appreciated the fostering of new technologies made by local authorities and its effort to bring them closer to the citizenship, taking into account the main initiatives and policies implemented to create the best “innovation ecosystem”. To the Commission, innovation is essential for economic growth and competitive companies, and constitutes an essential foundation of the Europe 2020 Strategy of the EU.

Perhaps this is why in recent years the events focused on entrepreneurship, creativity  and innovation have multiplied. Under these lines we will review what has been done lately and what will be done in the upcoming months:

  • The course started with the first edition of the IoT Solutions World Congress 2015 between 16 and 18 September 2015. Focused on the internet of things (IoT), its second edition is being prepared. Its aim is to inform the industry and the consumer on the advantages of applying the IOT technology to improve energy efficiency, logistics or production in their companies.
  • Another key event was the Smart City World Congress held in November 2015. Since its first edition in 2011 it became the landmark event for smart cities and urban solutions, with more than 300 speakers from around the world reflecting and sharing views on projects, new solutions or revolutionary theories aimed at transform though Big Data and the internet of things.
  • However, the key event for the city is, by far, the Mobile World Congress. It is a global event focused on mobile technology Barcelona has been holding for the last ten years. The fair combines a large exhibition area where leading companies show their latest innovations, holding more than 2,200 exhibitors, and a series of programs aimed at more specific topics as a congress. The celebration of this event, attended by the largest companies of the sector (Google, Huawei, Sony, Samsung, Intel, …), has promoted the local economy with technological start-ups and thousands of new jobs, generating a strong economic impact in the city during the 2011 – 2016 period, up to 460M€.
  • A smaller event but a must for those interested in innovation was the seminar ‘Radical is normal’, held by Infonomía on 16 March. In the course of this, Mr. Alfons Cornella made an update of 10 radical ideas that would change the upcoming world of business: the revolution of resources, the end of hierarchies (the holacracy as a paradigm), limitations as an alternative, the new role of cities, 3D and other emerging technologies were just some of the covered topics.
  • An example of how to apply technological innovations in a particular subject was the Forum TurisTIC organized by Eurecat on April, where tourist trends such as virtual reality to promote new destinations, challenges 2.0 of gastronomic tourism, innovation in hotels and Big Data applied to tourism were shown and widely discussed.
  • After 64 editions in the city of Brussels, last May came to the exhibition La Farga de L’Hospitalet the Saló Innova, a platform for entrepreneurs, start ups, spin-offs and small businesses to generate synergies, business and opportunities altogether with other companies, institutions and investors.
  • BizBarcelona, a salon venture promoted by the local public enterprise Barcelona Activa, took place in early June. This fair offers all kinds of solutions for enterprises, SMEs and freelancers to grow their business and innovate. This year, the 5th edition has focused on the social economy.
  • But events have not finished yet. On 14 and 15 June the Future Industry Congress will be held. Driven by Eurecat, it aims to replace both the BDigital Global Congress, which held its 17th and final edition last year- and the Forum Ascamm -the 10th in 2015-. It must be a meeting place for companies and professionals who want to develop projects in the field of technology, innovation and industrial research.
  • In the field of marketing, the World Marketing Festival will be held under the title “Reflections of the past, present and future of Marketing”. It will plan activities around the city to share and debate opinions.
  • Related to culture and creativity, it should we mentioned the Barcelona Design Week (BDW) and Sonar.
    • First, for ten years the Barcelona Design Week has become a must for all those who want to deepen in the design, innovation and business appointment. During eleven days, the design opens to the city through all kinds of activities for networking and knowledge exchanging.
    • On the other hand, the Sónar electronic music festival, created in 1994, does not only offer musical performances during the third weekend in June but also organizes conferences and exhibitions of international artists on the latest trends in electronic music and multimedia art.

In short, such a large list of events makes evident how the city of Barcelona is positioning as the Southern Europe reference point, a strategy that will work in the long run within the world map of innovation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

twelve − five =

Keep reading

View all

Programmes of European Territorial Cooperation: an opportunity for development of cross-border territoires

Pol Solà
May 2016 0 min read

University rankings, public policies and proactive attitude

Pol Solà
July 2016 One min read