This year (2014) saw the European Commission declare Barcelona as being the “European Metropolis of Innovation” at the closing ceremony of their Innovations Convention that took place in Brussels between the 10th and 11th March.
Along with Barcelona other places that were shortlisted for being named the iCapital of Europe were Spanish Malaga, Paris, Finnish Espoo, Dutch Gronigen and French Grenoble. As a result of their being declared the winner Barcelona won a prize valued at €500,000, which the city can then use to help scale up and expand its efforts to introduce even more innovation to the city.
Throughout the 2 day convention the jury of independent experts spent a considerable amount of time looking to see what these cities had been able to achieve in order to build up an innovation ecosystem. This is a system where people, places and public organisations and policy makers through business could be linked.
The reason that they chose Barcelona over the others shortlisted was because they had been able to introduce new technologies that enabled the city to bring itself closer to the people who have chosen to make it their home.
Although a new award one needs to be aware that since September 2011 Barcelona launched a project that would help to introduce new technologies that in turn would help to foster economic growth and in turn improve the welfare of the people living in the city.
The kinds of new technologies that have been introduced since this time include:
1. Open Data Initiatives where valuable information is offered not only to individuals but also to private companies.
2. Initiatives relating to sustainable growth revolving around smart lighting, mobility (introduction of e-vehicles) and special heating and cooling networks that offer up residual energy.
3. The project helped them to promote alliances between not just research centres and universities but also between these and private and public partners.
4. Finally they provided better “smart services” in a way that wasn’t only flexible and agile but also continuous through ICT. This final part of the project was used to help innovation throughout the city.
For many of those who live in Barcelona today they may not realise just what a difference such changes have made, but of course as a result of this many major companies are now looking to set up business here. This can only mean one thing for Barcelona and Spain as a whole in that it will start to help the economy grow and help to get the country out of its troubles and help them to start building a much better place for the people of this wonderful city and country to live. In fact it could soon see more jobs being created.