Medium-sized cities have an opportunity to jump on the innovation bandwagon. Far from the hubs of the large population centers such as Barcelona, Madrid, Málaga or Valencia, there are gaps for the creation of attractive ecosystems associated with an established industry or local tractor company.
We have gone from general accelerators, many of them corporate, to the attempts of different companies leading innovation programs in order to attract talent to their industry (Pascual, Cuatrecasas, SEK, Mahou San Miguel, Seat, Mutua Madrileña…), while there has been enough budget or a management team that has believed in this way of giving back to society. And, what is the next step? We should think about a post-pandemic world and how the acceleration of technological projects in the sectors that are demanding new solutions is going from now on.
The new way of innovating is emerging with a different perspective, from institutions that have access to funds (not only the promised funds that will come from Europe) that they can allocate to the creation of innovation ecosystems around their industry. It arises from technical departments that believe they must let open innovation experts help them solve problems with technology and that professionals with promising startups should be attracted to pilot their solutions in real environments, focused on everyday issues.
It is not only concreted in a program that accelerates projects in a general way, with one or two calls per year, it runs away from the turnkey programs and some money or an award associated with a specific challenge. The value proposal must be completely redefined and attractive so that we are chosen and challenged on the basis of well-defined services.
One of the recent examples that makes the most sense is the one carried out in La Lonja de la Innovación, an initiative that emerged from the public tender launched last year by the Port Authority of Huelva to innovate and be a benchmark in port and logistic innovation. It arises in Huelva, where the creation of an entrepreneurial ecosystem comes from an industry in full economic boom, which wants to be a tractor for the city based in a entrepreneurship program that has:
- The personalized acceleration methodology proposed by a partner such as Telefónica.
- The design of a port-oriented value proposition based on mentors (local and highly committed), services, business contacts and visibility.
- The conceptualization of a workspace in the facilities (above the new fish market) that becomes in the best designed work office for piloting technological solutions
- Access to challenges proposed in the infrastructure of the Port Authority of Huelva
- Networks of specialized investors and a window to expose already operational solutions to the national and international port world thanks to its showroom
- FIWARE technology as an open source platform so the data can be used and shared.
- A wide range of on-site events related to innovation to energize the Port and the city.
With all these ingredients, a verticalized initiative has been launched in a city that aspires to be an international benchmark in the port sector and that creates and attracts talent eager to generate employment and turnover to help Huelva grow and become more attractive.
You can participate by signing up to the acceleration calls, to the FIWARE challenge or to those that the Port Authority of Huelva will start launching.
Follow us and stay tuned to the transformation that La Lonja de la Innovación is leading in the logistic-port sector operation!
Author: Jose Ignacio Morales Conde, Innovation Consultant at Telefónica
Picture: Muelle Sur del Puerto de Huelva. / ALBERTO DOMÍNGUEZ (Huelva) in Huelva Información.