The Minister of Enterprise and Knowledge, Àngels Chacón, said: “We need to rethink innovation to survive in the 21st century. The Catalan business fabric must embrace disruptive innovation to take a leading position in Industry 4.0.” Chacón was speaking at the opening of the first edition of Exponential Day. The event brought together over 400 companies today at Barcelona’s World Trade Center to learn how to go a step beyond traditional innovation and start growing their business exponentially.
Exponential Day is part of the Catalonia Exponential initiative, launched by the Agency for Business Competitiveness (ACCIÓ), which reports to the Ministry of Business and Knowledge. The event, being held for the first time in Catalonia, aims to transform the Catalan business ecosystem so that it can take a leading position in the fourth industrial revolution. Previous editions have been held at ACCIÓ offices in Silicon Valley and Seoul.
“Today, the life cycle of companies can sometimes be measured in months rather than years. That’s why we need to accelerate the transformation of companies into exponential organisations,” the minister said. “Innovation is the only way to create value and stand out from the crowd so that we can build a competitive country with plenty of opportunities now and in the future.” Chacón said the ministry would focus on “providing support to companies and society in a collective way so that they can compete in the environment of digital platforms”.
Over 400 participating companies
The first edition of Exponential Day brought together over 400 companies. One of the featured speakers was Salim Ismail, the founding executive director of Singularity University in Silicon Valley and chairman of OpenExO, a platform for accelerating company transformation. Ismail talked about the main technology trends linked to the fourth industrial revolution. Francisco Palao, vice chairman of OpenExO, also gave a talk on the practical application of their approach to transformation, with the participation of Hewlett-Packard to discuss its experience using the method.
Exponential Day also featured a roundtable discussion between executives from Social Car, Vilynx, Innomads-Forcadell and Girbau, and a practical workshop for companies and professionals undertaking disruptive innovation projects.
ACCIÓ’s Catalonia Exponential initiative was launched in January with the aim of fostering Silicon Valley–style innovation in Catalan companies. ACCIÓ’s Silicon Valley office acts as a hub, bringing technology trends and changes taking place in the region to Catalonia to accelerate the transformation of Catalan start-ups, SMEs and large companies. In March, Catalonia Exponential was also launched at ACCIÓ’s Seoul office.
The initiative aims to foster disruptive innovation and transformation through a range of actions. For example, Catalan companies and organisations with high growth potential can request a diagnosis of their level of exponentiality. Other actions include workshops on disruptive innovation; preparation of customised reports on the latest trends, exponential technologies, new start-ups and new business models, which enables enterprises to identify risks and opportunities that could affect their sector and current business model; and the organisation of short stays in the world’s most innovative ecosystems so that Catalan companies and clusters can validate their approaches to disruptive innovation and find new opportunities for cooperation in innovation and technology at the international level.