Inspiring lecture: “How to create innovative ecosystems capable of attracting talent” by Iolanda Triviño collaborating with Miquel Barceló

Following the calendar of activities scheduled in the Cycle of Open Innovation 2021 of Som-Inn Port, Innovation Ecosystem of the Port of Tarragona, we have carried out online the inspiring talk: “How to create innovative ecosystems capable of attracting talent” by IolandaTriviño: Founder of the international community of Valkiria Institute for Futures and President of the 22@ Talent Committee in Barcelona. Also participating in the talk was Miquel Barceló, author of the book innocities, who, as former general director of 22@, presented the case of this innovative district.

In relation to innovative communities, Iolanda Triviño began by giving the example of the Valkiria group. Valkiria is a multifunctional space with three main lines of action: Coworking, mentoring, and organization of events that aims to create a community full of synergies and innovative talent.

Iolanda wanted to highlight three levers that contribute to creating innovation ecosystems based on talent:

  1. Lever 1: Understand what is happening in the world and prepare for the future of work that will take place in new environments and will be aligned with new business strategies.
  2. Lever 2: Attraction of knowledge. Create systems that centralize knowledge and interaction between all members of the ecosystem, which is called the Quadruple Helix: academic (universities, technology centres, training centres), public administration, companies and society/people.
  3. Lever 3: Evolution of physical spaces or platforms in Living Labs, living innovation laboratories, where innovation and interaction between all the actors are real and constant.

She also made reference to the change that innovation has had. Until now, innovation was understood as an improvement in efficiency, but disruptive innovation actually has a multiplier effect that has allowed many companies to experience exponential growth.

Regarding the future of work, Iolanda Triviño raised the evident change of vision of the new generations who are less and less committed to organizations and need their values to be aligned with those of the entities where they work. The old work models are no longer useful. Technology, life and work are now a single unit. Careers are being reinvented. Until now, the lifestyle we had was “Learn, work, and retire”.  Now there is a continuous process of: Work, learn, unlearn and re-enter this cycle. This is called “Multiple Stage Career”, which is part of the new talent trends.

Skills used to last 50 years, now last 5 years. There is a revolution in how we acquire knowledge and how we put it into practice.

The second part of the talk came marked by the intervention of Miquel Barceló, former general director of 22@ Barcelona. He participated in its conceptualization as an innovative district and currently leads research groups in different areas such as Urban Innovation Districts, Experiences of Innovation and Technology Transfer, and Attraction of Foreign Investment. Based on his extensive experience in this field, Miquel Barceló referred to 4 essential axes to create an innovation ecosystem capable of attracting talent: 

  1. Urban modification: It is necessary to create an attractive urban environment for international talent, where they can develop their professional and personal projects, such as 22@ Barcelona, which initiated the model, and other examples found in the most important cities in the world. Urban planning must be at the service of economic strategy and knowledge.
  2. Economic strategy: To specialize in what we are good at and what we are capable of, and to commit to all of this by putting the spaces at their service, with a technological base that does not go on its own, negotiating with the universities which teaching, research and transfer capacities they have with the sector that is the object of the innovation ecosystem, offering spaces to transfer it.
  3. Social innovation: Involvement of citizens and connection with the educational system of the territory.
  4. Attract specialized knowledge in what we want to highlight.

Miquel Barceló defined an innovation ecosystem as a complex system that integrates an urban strategy, a knowledge strategy specialized in what we are good at, a technological strategy and a social integration process. He also stressed that an innovative ecosystem must have a systemic vision and focus on the implementation of integrative policies. In addition, it must be accompanied by a strategy of image, communication, branding, and above all governance.

He also explained the example of the New Innovation District of Levante – Fachada Marítima, in Palma de Mallorca, a project to turn the area of Nou Llevant and Soledad del Sur into a new economic hub in Palma based on the knowledge economy, digitalization and innovation.

The project aims to create an innovative urban ecosystem that affects the ecological and digital transformation of the economic model of the Balearic Islands, that balances seasonality and generates a new stable business and employment activity. The Balearic Islands Port Authority is actively involved in this project.

Miquel Barceló wanted to end the session by launching some provocative topics for reflection for the Port of Tarragona. Firstly, to think about what model of port we want, moving from a logic of trade to a logic of knowledge. Caching a trend of being able to make it compatible to continue doing what is being done but progressively transforming spaces of the Port into an ecosystem of innovation. Secondly, he asked what role the Port plays in Tarragona’s innovation ecosystem, thinking of a territorial system (connection and interrelation).   What innovation strategy in the field of Tarragona can be promoted from the Ports leadership.

In the sense of territorial integration, the Collaboratory Cat Sud works to promote innovation within the Tarragona region.  Its objective is to prototype and validate a model of promotion, design and implementation of social and digital structures to promote the deployment of the digital society and knowledge in the territory. Initiatives like this reflect what Miquel Barceló said about the importance of implementing integrative policies within the same territory.

Many thanks to Iolanda Triviño and Miquel Barceló for sharing with Som-Inn Port their experience in creating innovative ecosystems and to all the people who have joined us today in this inspiring session.

We’ll meet again next time!


30th September, 2021

Research and Innovation Department


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